The aesthetics of the human future

The new essay “Transhumanism and Aesthetics” points to the ways in which the visual aesthetics of transhumanists need a much bigger infusion of imagination, and also a stripping-out of the naff and tired…

“The recent push by a circle of my friends to produce more anarcho-transhumanist imagery has gotten me thinking about the paucity of aesthetics in the broader transhumanist movement.”

I’m not a transhumanist, but as a casual occasional observer I do find this niche movement interesting for its stimulating mix of optimistic ideas about the future, the body and human potential. Less so for its aesthetics and imagery, which veers strongly toward tired visual clichés drawn from a nauseating New Age pseudo-religiosity and tired old politics (having an official-looking flag and a political party is, by definition, very naff these days). If a movement is so tiny that it doesn’t have the internal talent to make its own visuals, then it should hire them in as paid freelancers. Transhumanists seem to be rich enough to do that, after all.

My first thought, if I was hired for such a re-branding job, would be to design a compelling vision — in the form of a bank of Creative Commons imagery — that allowed the press and bloggers to illustrate stories about transhumanism with something other than images of scary cyborgs…