Lynn Hershman Leeson
"Logic Paralyzes the Heart"
"Logic Paralyzes the Heart"
Featuring Joan Chen, digital video
13 min. 53 sec.
In 1960, N.A.S.A. scientists Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline coined the term “cyborg” to describe the technological apparatus a human would require in order to record information at supersonic speeds. Both the revolutionary potential of this technology and the ways in which it can be abused are examined by Lynn Hershman Leeson in her film Logic Paralyzes the Heart.
It presents the story of the first cyborg, Cyborg #1, portrayed by actress Joan Chen. Now 61 years old, the actress details the history of cyborgian technology, from its early intention as a tool for human liberation to the ways in which this technology has produced a break between ethical human advancement and exploitation.
The very nature of the cyborg – bodiless code that can be reshaped to take the appearance of humans – means that this technology can be utilized covertly to undermine conventional logic. Cyborg #1 ties the history of the cyborg to developments that occurred during World War II that created the basis for artificial intelligence. From the use of cyborgian technology in explosives, to the creation of PREDPOL, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s use of A.I., the cyborg is becoming increasingly entangled with a desire to uphold the military state.
Aside from the pressing sociopolitical concerns that arise from this, what can one say of the cyborg’s own questions of being. Hershman Leeson considers its claims to existence and, as humans become cyborgs through their dependence on novel technologies, seeks to map out a way forward. How can we transform weapons into tools of survival?
Lives and works in San Francisco, California and New York, New York.
Over the last five decades, artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941) has been internationally acclaimed for her art and films. One of the most influential media artists, Hershman Leeson is widely recognized for her innovative work investigating issues that are now recognized as key to the workings of society: the relationship between humans and technology, identity, surveillance, and the use of media as a tool of empowerment against censorship and political repression. Over the last forty years she has made pioneering contributions to the fields of photography, video, film, performance, installation and interactive as well as net- based media art.
Lynn Hershman Leeson’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the New Museum, New York, NY; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany [Civic Radar retrospective]; House of Electronic Arts, Basel, Switzerland; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany; Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; bürobasel, Basel, Switzerland; Thoma Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; and Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK. Group exhibitions include the 59th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy; Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland; 13th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Serpentine Galleries, London, UK; UK; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France; Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; Tate Modern, London, UK; and MoMA PS1, New York, NY.