The Human Electric portrays identity in the digital age. My goal is not limited to representational images of modern people and their electronic devices. I aspire to visualize consciousness shaped by digital experience, to convey the new architecture and archetypes of psychology under the influence of computers. As stated by Katina Michael, “(W)e are on the brink of building a new sentient being, a bearer of electricity, a modern man belonging to a new race, beyond that which can be considered merely part man part machine.” Sherry Turkle’s research confirms that the cognitive development of computer-savvy children is fundamentally different than previous generations*. Wired humans are bifurcating from nature and withdrawing from physical engagement in general. Digital citizens spend signifiant time and energy in virtual realities that have profound perceptional influence but limited material correlation with the unwired world. Not only identity, but survivability of Digital Man is dependent on electronic infrastructure. People have long used tools to control our environment, but we have remained subservient to Nature’s presentation of reality. Now, artificial entities are equally real in the mind of a person who is dependent upon manmade electricity and electronic devices. Who are we, where are we, and what is the meaning of life in symbiosis with machines?
* Ref: Turkle, Sherry. The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (MIT Press). 1st ed. 1984