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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies II

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existence.» In this case, in the categories «sex assignment» and «sexual preference» there may be a whole variety of alternatives that approximately correspond to the range of offers in MUDs and MOOs. However, as soon as it comes to designing the body image, we are confronted with the familiar tight restrictions: The variety of the deductive possibilities that arise by our being allowed to assemble the substitute body piece-by-piece and equip it with all sorts of textures and sounds cannot obscure the fact that the contours themselves practically remain typically restricted: A part of the body may be male, female or child-like—if we do not want to entirely do without it. Whether we regard the ‹avatars› we have created as «significant others» or as «alter egos» or even as «sexual playmates»: what we create are ‹freaks›—projection surfaces endowed with life that despite the apparent variety of the monstrous turn out to be as repulsive and restricted as the stereotypes out of which they are put together.

In this respect it is not surprising that many of the «substitute bodies» neglected, forgotten or discarded by their creators ultimately end up in the necropolis of


«Bodies INCorporated.» This circumstance adverts to a question that already plays a central role in the majority of literary and cinematic stories of the creation of artificial humans and at the same time is its absurdity. Borrowing from the title of an essay by Margaret Morse, «What Do Cyborgs Eat?», [58] the question could read: How Do Cyborgs Die? While the creatures were created to beguile human mortality, the central plot of the narrations—from the «golem» legend and «Frankenstein» to the «Blade Runner» and the «Terminator»—soon focuses on how the ‹monstrous promises,› which have become reality, can be put an end to. If this fails, then—as in «Terminator III»—the definitive end of humanity is at stake. It appears, however, that a ‹happy ending› can only be achieved under the premise of a return to the ‹conditio humana›. At least if one believes in the doctrine of the primacy of the ‹whole human.›

The doctrine of the monsters

In contrast, from the direct dealings with ‹artificial bodies,› not just as permitted by computer games but also by artistic works that enable us to explore our

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