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Description:

Quertek is a decentralized autonomous organization working at the forefront of the global pleasure-imagination industry. Quertek develops products and services based on KODE®, an open-source biogenetic design program. Its mission statement is, “we invest in the future of the species”. In 2016, Quertek will unveil its 5-year corporate strategy and the multiple applications of its KODE® software package, including the KODE® Upgrade v.1.1, intended for human incorporation in a planned leisure community known as MountGrove, currently under development in Amerika.1 Due to the technical particularities for administering and maintaining the MountGrove community's operations, all residents will be required to train as KODE® operators and must sign the Terms of Use Agreement for the KODE® Upgrade v.1.1 bio-installation, transforming them into Intermorphs. The Terms of Use Agreement draws future Intermorphs' attention to the various design components of MountGrove (Amerika), a unique social experiment on the cutting edge TOTALFrontier of high-function lifestyle-development. Central to this Agreement is accepting the bio-installation of the KODE® Upgrade v.1.1 within the consciousness-apparatus of every resident-user, the first full-scale biogenetic introduction of KODE® in a human being. The stated goals of the KODE® Upgrade v.1.1 by Quertek include “a techno-biotic modification of the evolutionary trajectory of the species homo, a textured enhancement of anthropic nature towards optimized potentiality, and a virtual supplementation of the organism's essential capacities for happiness; in short, the transition of the user into an Intermorph.”

Argumentation:

A reading of this fictional Terms of Use Agreement aims to present a speculative consideration on the seemingly abstract, yet technically concrete possibilities of modifying “human nature”. Though the political-jurisprudential framework of law allows for debate around real-life applications of “against nature” arguments, the uncanny de-politicization resulting from corporate activities and the neoliberal market's greater role in organizing social life leads one to entertain the thought that perhaps, one day soon, a product may be developed that proposes a systematic re-configuration of the individual's “being” - his or her “nature” - down to the level of the neural mechanism or even, to a re-codification of DNA, resulting in a new creature: the Intermorph. Is evolution inseparable from natural timespans, or does technology allow for an acceleration of bio-developmental processes towards specific “naturalized” goals? In this case, the goals are determined by a specific corporate vision that combines service, product, and life-form, necessitating a critical engagement with hyper-capitalist processes of standardization and homogeneity vis-à-vis the “natural”. Is it natural to be happy? Is it against nature to be depressed? What is the nature of humanity? What may humans become in the (near) future? These are some of the questions put forth by contemporary diagnoses of advanced capitalism's full-scale transformation of subjectivity, perception, and the environment. They are equally to be found within literary visions of future dystopias populated by cyborg-like beings whose very essences are regulated by the powers in place. This presentation relies on the ambivalent language of contract legalese to leave room for imagining the ways in which “human nature” may be utilized in the future for ambiguous purposes.

text

  • Ashkan Sepahvand

date

  • 2016 - 2017

location

  • MountGrove (Amerika)

Ashkan Sepahvand is a writer, translator, and researcher. His interests trace associations from within the histories of somatics, the sensory, transformation, pedagogy, utopia, queerness, collectivity, ritual, performance, and the self. From 2012-2014, he was a research fellow for "The Anthropocene Project" at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. His work and writings have been presented at dOCUMENTA (13), Former West, Tanz im August, Sharjah Biennial X, Home Works 5, Jerusalem Show V, Qalandiya International, and Kunsthaus Bregenz. He lives and works in Berlin, where he co-organizes the technosexual reading circle.

— ARTICLE : Resonances et affects
— ARTICLE : Case #11: The Intermorphs
— ENQUÊTE : Devenir terriens
— PRODUCTION : Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18
— ÉVÉNEMENT : Devenir terriens : dialogues et exercices pour rétrécir et étendre l’humain — ÉVÉNEMENT : The Manufacturing of Rights
Plus d'informations : …ment journal and Manifesta journal.

video

  • Louisa Minkin
    YES TO LIFE, 2013
    Video, 6min

    Part of Ashkan Sepahvand's presentation at "The Manufacturing of Rights," Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, May 14 - 16, 2015

Ashkan Sepahvand is a writer, translator, and researcher. His interests trace associations from within the histories of somatics, the sensory, transformation, pedagogy, utopia, queerness, collectivity, ritual, performance, and the self. From 2012-2014, he was a research fellow for "The Anthropocene Project" at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. His work and writings have been presented at dOCUMENTA (13), Former West, Tanz im August, Sharjah Biennial X, Home Works 5, Jerusalem Show V, Qalandiya International, and Kunsthaus Bregenz. He lives and works in Berlin, where he co-organizes the technosexual reading circle.

— ARTICLE : Resonances et affects
— ARTICLE : Case #11: The Intermorphs
— ENQUÊTE : Devenir terriens
— PRODUCTION : Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18
— ÉVÉNEMENT : Devenir terriens : dialogues et exercices pour rétrécir et étendre l’humain — ÉVÉNEMENT : The Manufacturing of Rights
Plus d'informations : …ment journal and Manifesta journal.

1. Ashkan Sepahvand reads "Quertek KODE®Upgrade v.1.1 Terms of Service Agreement" at "The Manufacturing of Rights" conference
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