Prototyping the Posthuman Self
Exploring the confluence of the human body, science and technology
Anatol Bologan

My most recent series of artwork is called “The Human Specimen.” The series is intended to continue my theoretical, conceptual and artistic research on the subject of posthumanism and the influence of technology on our contemporary culture. The focus of my art-based research is to develop a series of interactive sculptures, prints, paintings and digital works that engage the viewer with the discourses of humanism versus technicism by immersing him or her into a multisensory interactive space. Interdisciplinary at its core, the project engages scientific, medical and technology-based research and imaging in the fields of human anatomy, perception, neurology and computer science. It uses concepts of artificial intelligence and medical imaging as source material for artwork that consists of digital images, sculptures and interactive installations. The digital paintings, interactive sculptures as well as the interactive installations explore the confluence of human body, science and technology to attempt to answer the question: “What is the Human?”

Current Project description
The images included in this document represent prior artwork for this ongoing art project and demonstrate my approach to developing a sophisticated visual style and method that is focused on incorporating multidisciplinary imagery into comprehensive artwork. For the project “Prototyping the Posthuman Self” I am developing an artistic interpretation of the Posthuman based on existing scientific imagery and data intertwined with philosophical and theoretical concepts on the subject of posthumanism and technological singularity. The project is pursuing the immersive technology as a medium of artistic expression. The artwork consists of digital paintings that present a deconstructed human form, overlapped by technical drawings of computer components and medical scans of the human body, in order to demonstrate the contrast between humanist versus technicist approaches to viewing a human body. The contrast is highlighted by creating a drawing style that resembles the Renaissance explorations into anatomy and the attempts to understand the human body from within. The majority of the images are created in a digital format, where custom brushes and brushstrokes used are intended to mimic the physical medium. This intentional use of contradicting visual methods is used to highlight our cultural predisposition to “virtual media” and our trust in technological platforms as origins of informational and cultural “truth.”

The next step of “Imagining the Posthuman Self” is to draw upon a data archive of biometric scans and images of my own body in artworks. I serve as the “human element” in this art-based case study, engaging the audience with the scientific as well as artistic representation of the human body in and interactive and immersive way. I will draw upon digital medical scans and images that show my own brain activity in response to visual stimuli, music or text in order to capture the representation of what we would consider abstract thought. This additional brain “mapping” allows me to project the intended reaction of the viewer to the artwork with my own neurological activity during the creative process. The project, consists of digital paintings, interactive installations and media sculptures, is intended to capture the imagination of the audience and evoke a multisensory response to the artwork as they seek the answer to the question “What is the human?”

My project is intended to raise awareness and question the impact of technology on medicine, by treating the human body as more than a “carrier”, “case-study”, “medical anomaly” or a “statistic”. I draw on previous theoretical work such as The Birth of the Clinic by Michael Foucault, which illustrates the developing ethics and focus of the medical field due to advancements in technology. To make my work relevant and well-informed, I am collaborating with faculty from the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, the College of Medicine and the College of Engineering to further develop the contextual visual representations used in my artwork. The artwork for the project is grounded in STEAM-based, interdisciplinary research, which explores how technology and science continue to pursue the deeper understanding of the human body and mind.