Jon Bailey / Chad Porter / Julia Hager / Matt Noe
On a tangent bifurcation of future possibilities resources of not oil or money is sequestered but that of human flesh and brain power. As prosthetics and technological enhancements propel us into a new reality we speculate on a future instance where we choose not to pull our nervous systems out of the digital and the digital into the physical, but instead we delve ever deeper into the virtual, plugging our flesh and neural circuitry into microchip and processor, negating the optical need for a screen into the virtual, but rather bypass our optic systems with brain implants that hijack the visual cortex allowing the human brain to see the digital construction rather than the physical world of matter and substance.
A new standard of humanity is set in the post-human metropolis. Those who do not willfully subjugate themselves to this new world order are deemed disabled as they lack both the physical and mental strength of their cyborgian counterparts. Controlled by human nervous systems plugged into the network, brain power traverses the grid as the hottest traded commodity. Those who cannot afford to plug into the system wonder aimlessly homeless amongst an orgy of physical materiality and digital projection. Digital projections into the realm of the physical create landscapes of a digital utopia melded over physical ruin and decay. Counter-cultures hijack the network, invading the system to expose the ruin and decay of the physical environment as the vast majority of the human collective has long since left physical matter for virtual substance. Towers of pods, aggregations of bodies sharing information and interacting in an augmented reality, rise above the skyline. Digital-selves, neural-electrical devices, and projected atmospheres traverse the grim streets below like ephemeral ghosts in a once populated metropolis.
As human beings drew further away from the physical they dropped out for a digitally enhanced existence. Bodies become not bred but built. Organs, limbs, and memories all replaced, manipulated and hijacked as they faded. A post-human existence was created as body and culture no longer were recognizable from their ancestor counterparts. As human life was prolonged through the replacement of failing body parts, death was no longer a possibility. People began living above the once vibrant cities in pods that grew like viruses across the city to keep up with the demand of those willingly plugging into a network where they could feel a greater connection with the masses plugged in.
But the system began to collapse against the pressures to sustain a stagnant population. Large swaths of the infrastructure began to decay and corrode. Human beings who had never seen the light of day or the physical world were forced back into a life they had little recollection of, save the digital memories they once skimmed through while in the pod. Now we roam the landscape amongst the ruined shells of once vast cities and networks of body-extension pods and the infrastructure necessitating the system. A once utopian dream, like so many of the architectural promises made in the early twenty-first century, now leaves us in a state of dystopian ruin; wandering a landscape long forgotten—forever searching for digital sustenance—a way to plug back into the network.