METABODY is a European project, Forum and Institute coordinated by Jaime del Val the non-profit organization Reverso, that since 2013 questions the homogenisation of expressions induced by current information and control technologies, which place unprecedented threats to plurality and to fundamental rights and freedoms by reducing our actions to predictable behaviours, and proposes to reinvent them highlighting the role and diversity of embodied expression through a new concept of interactive architecture that transforms in all its physical and digital aspects, constituting dynamic, participatory and performative environments for outdoors and indoors, an emergent and indeterminate space, a METATOPIA.[Read +]
METABODY addresses the importance of non verbal communication and embodied expressions for cultural diversity as a fundamental form of cultural heritage that is not adecuately taken into consideration, and which is being undermined by current information technologies, which induce unprecedented forms of homogenisation of non verbal expressions while subjecting people to an increasing control, thus undermining fundamental freedoms.
93% of our expressions are in the form of non verbal communication, yet current media reduce non verbal interactions to a highly reduced set of standardized and traceable gestures of interaction through interfaces. This is inducing an unprecedented empoverishment of cultural expressions at global scale and undermining diversity and civil rights while expanding the possibilities for ubiquitous and invisible surveillance worldwide.
The project seeks to address this problem, elaborate a critique and propose alternatives through the production of new kind of media that highlight the diversity of embodied expressions, bodies and contexts, foregrounding cultural diversity. New multidisciplinary or transdiciplinary communication platforms are developed in the convergence of the arts (dance, music, architecture and visual arts), and social minorities with the mediation of technosciences and humanities.
METABODY develops radically embodied technologies that take into account irreducible and changing differences of embodiments, bodies and contexts, for new expressive, kinetic, relational, comunicational and socio-cultural paradigms, while addressing the problems inherent to contemporary disembodiment culture of prediction and control.
METABODY counterposes the technologies of control and quantification (quantified self/smart self technologies) by claiming a qualitatively changing, unquantifiable body whose potentials cannot be predicted, pointing to an ecology of indeterminacy where creativity opens up a differential field of plurality.
METABODY is an unprecedented convergence of architecture and spatial arts, performance, dance and body arts, sound arts, visual and media arts, kinetics, philosophy, cognitive sciences, theories and histories of affects and emotions, alternative mathematics, (post-)queer, postcolonial and disability theories, embodiment theories and social activism; generating a new metadiscisciplinary field and network of nomadic modules of practice-theory: MetamediaLab & Metahuman Metaformance Studies.
Meta-: in-between / through / accross / becoming / with / emerging / incipient / embracing / exceeding…
Metabody: field of affective and kinetic relations in any mode or scale
Media – mediations, inbetweens, intra-actions, intra-faces
Embodiment – the world as bodily process of movent relations – bodily, procedural character of all reality
Tékhne – inseparable bond of art and technology
And – conjuntion, togetherness, multiplicty
Bridges – inbetweens, crossovers, tranvsersalitiees, relationalities
Of – situatedness, situation, context
Diversity – difference, plurality, multiplicity
Y – “ípsilon”, undefined openness, indeterminacy, movement, becoming, emergence, (…)
Metabody will build:
- the first fully autonomous, mobile, fully intra-active architecture
- the first fully selftsustained, ecological and selfconstructed intra-active architecture
- the first kinetic architecture thought from/as movement
- the first indeterminate architecture, conceived as machine for social ecology, that intervenes in bodies-contexts to disalign them from homogenising trajectories
- the first mobile laboratory of perception
- the first mobile observatory of diversity
- the first network of indeterminate embodied communication
METABODY has a multiplier effect
The project works in network not only among organizations but also among professionals and their communities in different countries. It promotes the production of synergies for future projects in those fields.
The project itself hosts a highly unusually broad network of connections between disciplines, including all the arts, social actors as well as technosciences and humanities. This implies an equally unsual multiplication effect whereby the creative work developed in the Forum, which focuses on the culture sector, has an implicit, potential and foreseeable multiplication factor both in culture and in many other fields.
METABODY aims to promote forms of expression that are underrepresented and therefore deserve to be promoted
The project addresses as its core issue all the forms of embodied communication that are underrepresented, and are being erased by the impact of new technologies, in all the countries and regions involved, as a novel concept of cultural heritage, which is not generally taken into account and which however constitutes the very substrate of cultural expressions and of the social. This includes the minoritarian expressions of disabled people, of sexual minorities and other cultural minorities that are highlighted in the project, as well as other less minoritarian expressions which are also being affected by the homogenisation of communications at a global scale.
The project promotes peace, social stability and cultural diversity
The project specifically targets how information technologies can induce a drastic reduction of cultural diversity through the worlwide homogenisation of expressions. This homogenisation process is eventually the greatest threat to cultural diversity that is raising at the moment at a global scale, while it is strikingly ignored and not properly dealt with, constituting a phenomenal problem that demands urgent responses. The onset of homogenising technologies is often seen as a necessary and inevitable evil. This is however wrong since many other technological paradigms have existed and are possible and fundamental research needs to be undertaken in this direction.
The project promotes the idea that cultural diversity is the necessary ground for social stability and peace: a plural society, that is able to hold together its own multiplicities is unlikely to enter into wars and instability, while a culture that is unable to hold together diversity is highly likely not going to have stability and peace, since the very nature of humanity and the world is plural, not homogeneous.
Researching creatively into new accounts of diversity in culture is thus an essential constitutive component of a stable and peaceful society: one that can account of its multiplicities, one that can embrace its diversities. Understanding the role of embodiment, embodied expressions and non verbal communication as diversity factor is thus to be understood as fundamental research for peace.
METABODY promotes the importance of cultures as sources of knowledge, meanings, values and ecology
The project poses the urgent questions about embodied expressions and embodied experiences as fundamental forms of knowledge that are often undermined and underestimated by a rationalistic culture that favoures the knowledge of the “mind” while despising bodies and specific contexts. New accounts have to be made of the contextual and embodied charachter of all knowledge, meaning, value and identity, as processes that have to do with a cultural heritage that is both material and immaterial: non verbal expressions and their irreducible relation to bodies and territories. This however demands a novel approach that is not about preservation of solidified patterns of expression, but rather about taking into account the dynamic and fragile charachter of non verbal expressions, allowing them to emerge and change from instrisic dynamics of the bodies and territories and not through economic criteria imposed from above.
METABODY promotes the role of culture for sustainable development
The project proposes a new role for culture as fundamental constituent of sustainable development. The understanding of diversity of expressions, bodies, and contexts of interaction is now undermined by a dominant paradigm that favours rationalistic, and disembodied criteria in which Culture often becomes a means of colonisation, or in the best of cases an ornament and accessory of other kinds of politics. This project however places culture and creativity at the very forefront of any form development, since it is that which allows to generate an embodied, creative and contextualised understanding of diversity, that will be the substrate of a peaceful and sustainable development.
METABODY promotes artistic creativity in all its forms, while respecting freedom of expresión
The project not only covers all artistic disciplines intertwined in new musltidisciplinary frameworks (dance, music, architecture, visual arts, performance art, etc.) but expands these creative domains into creative dialogues with the sciences, technologies and humanities.
Furthermore the broad spectrum of disciplines involved appears inseperable from social groups and minorities, thus ensuring a lively connection with subjects whose freedom of expression is implicitly or explicitly undermined, from disabled people who often don’t have proper means to express themselves, to gender or sexual minorities whoce voices are censored or who don’t have a vocabulary at hand that is adecuate to the diversity of their stories and emotions, because mainstream culture has avoided such a richness of vocabulary, and because homogenisation is increasing in the current hype of emoticon culture.
METABODY promotes international and regional cultural cooperation
The project counts with some of the world’s leading artists, researchers and specialists in dance/performance and technology; interaction design; motion and emotion analysis; electroinstrumental music; experimental architecture; studies on embodiment, emotion, affects and perception; history of cybernetics and media ethics; disabilities and queer theories.
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