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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies II
Phantom Limb Photographs (Hershman, Lynn), 1980Lorna (Hershman, Lynn), 1979

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Lynn Hershman is one of the artists in whose work we encounter cyborg configurations long before the hype surrounding the new technologies in art and science—and this in a variety of media: from performance to photography, film and video, to multi-media installations and interactive works. For the «Phantom Limb Photographs» (1980–1990), a series of classic black- and-white photographs, Hershman mounted cameras and other equipment onto female bodies—mostly in place of the head. By explicitly calling these works cyborgs, Hershman not only quashes the concordance of classic notions of cyborg configurations as technologically upgraded humans with Marshal McLuhan's thesis that media represent extensions of the human body, [28] she also states this more precisely with regard to the ‹interface gender›.

Ten years prior to this, in her real time/real space performance «Roberta Breitmore» (1971–1978) she had created an ‹avatar,› an artificial figure which she herself embodied. Considering that the contours of «Roberta Breitmore's» identity were produced from various media and social technologies of communication and recording such as newspaper


advertisements, photographs and video recordings, but also psychiatric reports and human witnesses, one can easily detect a link to the artist's later work, which logically thinks these parameters ahead under the signs of new media. Unlike «Roberta Breitmore,» while «Lorna» (1973–1989), the main character in a video disc installation of the same name, embodies herself exclusively in the ‹virtual space› of the medium, the two «Telerobotic Dolls,» «Tillie» (1995–1998) and «CybeRoberta» (1970–1998) are ‹animated› dolls who serve as interfaces to the ‹virtual space› of the medium in real space. By on the one hand being able to see with their eyes, and on the other hand their further processing and communicating the information they retrieve from us, the gradation of the boundary between human bodies or sensory systems and their technical simulation or extension by the dolls is questioned and eroded. Hershman's more recent films go a step further: In «Conceiving Ada» (1996/1997), the computer expert Emmy, who wants to explore the memory of DNA, advances further and further into the story of Ada Lovelace, a mathematician, who together with Charles Babbage for her part is not only working

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