• Posthuman Art Network

Goutam Manna

Goutam Manna: I completed Masters Degree in English in 2018 from Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, West Bengal, India. Currently, I do some research on my own outside any formal registration, and on my way to find some new found land in the field of literature, Culture and Philosophy .


If Art is the imitation of Nature or Life, this post-anthropocene era has problematized the very notion of ‘Art’. The poststructuralist rejection of ‘logocentrism’ removes the centrality of language. In the same light, human is no longer at the centre of the universe as it was thought in Western Humanism which strictly shaped the Renaissance Art and Culture. Since, the emergence of Posthumanism has changed the position of human, art should be modulated in that way. Putting Hegelian concept which never believe in “Art for Art’s Sake”, I would like to say that the duty of art today has also been obfuscated.

Quite importantly, the contemporary art and theory should strive to find the problem of the strands regarding Posthumanism. It concerns on the aftermath of the philosophy of humanism and removes the bar between human and nonhuman. Now, through an postcolonial glance, this ‘human’ is the western male only; and the rests were treated as nonhuman that covers the arena of female, colonized ‘other’, plants, animals so on and so forth. Posthumanism as a theory subverts this monism into a pluralistic view. German philosopher, whose theory have much shaped the primal strands of ‘posthumanism’, in his doctrine of Transcendental Idealism showed that transcendentalism is mere an idealism. Philosophical approach to knowledge transcends as much as the human sensory permits, and also that sensory faculty needs an innate schema of knowledge again. Thus Kant perpetuated the limitation of human knowledge. Later, Giles Deleuze developed the idea of ‘plane of immanence’ which also reflects the limited corpus of human. So, this shift is important to understand, so far as the relation between art and posthumanism as a philosophical stance is concerned. It needs a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approach. Because, the growing advancement of Science and Technology has vastly changed and is changing (and perhaps will have been changing) the very notion of ‘Human’.

Now, from a psychoanalytic approach, as Freud argued that artists often portrayed their repressed desire through art, it will be no exaggeration to say that the realm of posthumanism also has changed the unconscious of the artists, like sculptors, painters and so on. In this posthuman period, human who has created potentiality and power within nonhuman, are always a victim of an inferiority complex. Because, machine, tools have been gifted with far more potentiality than a human. Freud believed that the suppression of unsatisfied libido is responsible for producing all art and literature. Art or Literature, for Freud, is like dream that acts as a way out of repressions. Freud’s essay on Leonardo da Vinci, “Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of a Childhood” illustrates both the insights and the limitations of this approach. It is known from historical sources that Leonardo was homosexually inclined and also that he was an illegitimate child. Freud analyses a childhood recollection recorded by Leonardo in which he claimed that, while in his cradle, a large bird opened his mouth with its tail and struck him many times with its tail against his lips. Freud reasonably supposes that this is so unlikely to have happened in reality that it is probably a later phantasy of Leonardo’s, which he transposed to early childhood. As might be expected, Freud interprets the phantasy as being an expression of passive homosexuality; the bird’s tail substituting for the penis, and the wish to take the penis in the mouth being ultimately derived from the experience of suckling, which Freud calls ‘the first source of pleasure in our life’.

I heard about a fact that ‘human’ are making female robots and turns them into a prey of lustful molestation. Through a posthumanistic lens, such societal vulgarity should also be scrutinized strictly with the help of psychoanalytic discourse. Thus, through various approach, this is helpful to understand the philosophical, psychological and postcolonial stance of the term posthumanism.


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