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Insight: ‘Posthuman Pornography’ at Chronic Illness XX

Text by Piotr Bockowski

The next Chronic Illness event relapses into symptoms of posthuman pornography of Kenji Siratori. The notorious performance art night at an obscure sewage in North London will be orchestrated next month (November 2023) through indulgence in the erotic allure of digital rot, biotech cannibalism, vegetative penetration tissues or multi-tubular xeno-genitals rendered into exclusive video installation from Hokkaido, Japan, by cyber-haunted Siratori AI cutup technique. 

Siratori’s bodies are algorithmically assaulted in visual conjunction with gestural prosthetics, video images of other body parts and the digital tools for image manipulation. They put on a spectacle of human deformations, an approach which, according to artist Hans Bellmer, demonstrates the primal fascination with chance and playfulness involved in taking apart and re-configuring the body as the ultimate confirmation of life’s vitalism. In Bellmer’s words, the body resembles a sentence that invites us to dismantle it into its component letters so that its true meanings may be revealed ever anew through an endless stream of anagrams.

Following Bellmer, Siratori describes the resemblance of body parts in their underdeveloped possibilities: mouth, anus, foot, hair, eye, vagina, legs, penis, breast, and backbone. Dissected details are multiplying and dividing or replacing each other. Those correspondences of body parts invite mutations. Siratori employs a similar method of generating the multitude of bodies from AI generative corporeality through video-theatrical and digital manipulation techniques, which assist him in interrogating human subjectivity as composed of hybrid multiplicities of life.

AI mutations are born of division, subtraction and multiplication, but also of that interchangeability that mathematicians call ‘permutation’ and philologists’ anagrams – what Siratori concludes with an aphoristic remark: the complexity of sales methods in organ trafficking leads to pleasant confusion.

In his Manifesto of Futurist Demonology, published this summer, Siratori ponders the kinship of posthuman (artificial) intelligence and vegetative life, which also entails fungoid decomposition. Rot, as a dark and unintelligible underbelly of human life, is brought to light, especially by the post-CCRU theory of the nonhuman vitality of matter. Still, some thinkers like Reza Negarestani have even proposed that human civilisations’ most complex symbolic structures indirectly express the deeper intelligence of the dispersed tangles of biological particles that perform hypercomplex mediations of their bodies into forms we recognise as ‘human’. The primordial microbes remain incomprehensible to the human mind and constantly transform. 

Negarestani & Siratori’s speculations tap into the discussion about the intelligence of vegetative life organisations, outlined in Plant Behaviour and Intelligence by Anthony Trewavas. In his comprehensive study, Trewavas analyses various aspects of the behaviour of vegetative organisms, building a theory of vegetative intelligence based on his detailed observations.

Applicable also to AI vegetations, Trewavas’ theory, alongside Negarestani’s theoretic-fictional speculations, offers several conceptual tools which challenge the assumption of exceptionality about human intelligence in the biosphere and extend the category of intelligent behaviour onto fungoid environments of Chronic Illness events.

By exploring the concept of fungoid intelligence, Posthuman Pornography further embeds humans in nonhuman life. It positions humans as a momentum within the broader processes of life’s generativity. With Kenji Siratori’s video installation Posthuman Pornography, Chronic Illness returns to its leitmotiv of rot fetishism and mutant performance art, although this time addressed via AI-generated video installation. 

The event space of the Dungeons of Polymorphous Pan has been penetrated by the philosophical idea of performative mutations with projects such as research on Fungosexuality, Synthetic Organs body art, Holobiont biomedia, 3Decay simulation, Theater of Plague as well as propaganda around Politics of Human Waste. Exhibiting its perverse take on dark vitality, Posthuman Pornography at Chronic Illness XX will introduce acts from Adabteeth, Hardly Human, Competence Movement, the Seer, Xquisite korpse, Strategy of Tension and Craft Ebbing alongside Chronic Illness residents Trojanovskx, Sin of the Father, Laboranta & Fung Neo.

(Media courtesy of Chronic Illness)
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