Week 5

A cyborg is defined by its parts: something human mixed with something machine. The modern day applications and examples for Haraway’s definition of cyborg then includes people with prosthetic limbs, people with coclear implants, people who use glasses, etc. Rarely do people think of their interconnectedness with the virtual world as something that makes them “cyborg,” but I would argue that by making a Facebook or Twitter account or living a portion of life via emails and phone calls is also a way in which humans have become cyborgs. What is autotune after all but an amalgamation of human voice and technological interference? Wouldn’t the product touched by these two worlds by definition fit under the category of “cyborg”?

Slobin touches on in his talk the tendency for small music systems to thrive in the context of larger ones. For example concentrated regional music in Detroit, a hub for many micro- and sub-cultures, wouldn’t be so possible today with the ease of dissemination in the face of an accessible digital platform. I would agree that this process even applies to the idea of “cyborg,” with the creation and transformation of music dually and uniquely a product of both human creativity and mechanical utility.

But what does this mean of our agency? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t say our growing fusion with technology affects our agency per se; rather, it affects the way it manifests. I wouldn’t say we’re “smarter” scholars in the digital era. Maybe more efficient, maybe more accessible, maybe more collaborative, but not innately smarter.

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