For Li Jin, it’s either food or woman, and such devotion to sensual pleasure makes him a devout epicurean. His love for good food is well documented in his often diaristic works, depicting again and again all sorts of gastronomic delight: enticing seafood, fat-reeking meat, sashimi platter, grill on sticks, plump peaches, grapes on vines or big round turnips. When he doesn’t paint food, he paints himself and other people, mostly women, and all manner of them: naked, scantily clad, fully dressed, posing like Olympia, dancing Matissesque, picnicking sur l’herbe, fornicating or simply being. Continue reading →
In my last post on big data, I lamented the looming threat big data is posing on our dominion over the world, and suggested that something be done to reassured our mastery position.
The trouble is, in a post-humanistic world, it is absurdly out of fashion to think that we are the only intelligent species on the planet that can single-handedly shape its future. The celebration of technology also ushers us into an era of post-human ideas, threatening our long-held beliefs of human nature – autonomous, rational, capable of free will – which unified in our being as the apex of existence. Post-human requires fluidity not only in human identity but physicality, turning the ultimate fantasies of sci-fi fictions into reality: artificial intelligence, bionic replacement, uploaded consciousness, cyborgs and all their cousins. But a closer look will reveal that by assuming a ‘shared sovereignty’ between human and technology, we are assuming a concession of power to our products. Continue reading →
There is a zombie email address that I use for nonessential site registrations to avoid aggressive marketing strategies. But a few months into using this email address I noticed that they began ‘customising’ my login page with inane fashion news of Kate and Gaga. No doubt this was the work of an algorithm programme gone wasted on an individual. But there are millions of other active users out there whose every Google search, every click on a link, and every private communication or transaction is recorded and fed into all sorts of algorithms, which in turn generate information to dictate the behaviours of the real owner behind them. >
Being in the unfortunate majority of the population that has not been graced by nature with flawless skins or barbiesque features, the natural thing to do is to elicit help from the artificial. But this age that we live in, this age that is so technologically advanced where titanium-built spaceships shuttle between Mars and Earth like we shuttle between home and work, is also curiously anti-artificial.
No, I don’t mean plastic surgery. The plastic age is pathetically last-century.
We are talking about advanced cosmetic technologies that can pass off as ‘natural’. Organic this and organic that, and more to the bafflement of most consumers, inorganic minerals. Continue reading →