Dossier

Ausgabe 5

Von Matrix zu eXistenZ

Der Cyborg wird biologisch

Seite 87
Beat Funk

The convergence of computer science and biotechnology has led to a parallel convergence around questions of human identity and the human body. This nourishes fantasies about threatened body boundaries and about playful multiplications of identity. Science fiction movies make these fantasies explicit and thus mirror our collective concerns and fears about technological developments. In Matrix, peoples' minds live in a computer simulation of the world at the end of the 20th century. But their bodies are kept in tanks and reduced to a state of utter instrumentalized passivity. Prisoners of a simulated world created by machines, they are not even aware of their physical existence.
In David Cronenberg's eXistenZ, a new kind of computer game achieves an existential reality for its players. The game's driver, a «pod», is like an organic tool and plugs directly into its player's nervous system. It accesses the memories, anxieties and preoccupations of its players, so that the direction each game takes depends entirely on who is playing. The skin ceases to be the experienced boundary between inside and outside, as the pod extends the body organically and enables it to live other identities.

Beat Funk (1957), Filmtheoretiker. Bis 1994 Assistent am Seminar für Filmwissenschaft der Universität Zürich. Seither nebst publizistischer Tätigkeit an verschiedenen Projekten der neuen Medien beteiligt (u.a. für VIPER Luzern, für das Museum für Gestaltung Zürich und Gottlieb Duttweiler Institut in Rüschlikon). Seit 1998 Inhaber einer Computerund Internet-Firma in Zürich.
beat@fuco.ch
Funk communications, Uetlibergstrasse 84, Zürich; http: / /www.fuco.ch/texte