Jeanne Charlotte Vogt – arts & technology, digital culture and performing arts

Jeanne Charlotte Vogt
The Informed Body – NODE15 Exhibition in Frankfurt


April 27th – May 3rd // Künstlerhaus Mousonturm & Naxoshalle, Frankfurt

The Informed Body covered a series of 21 works that were shown in Mousonturm and Naxoshalle in Frankfurt Main, Germany. The exhibition brought together works of art and design that were exploring the past and the present of the complex interdependence between the human body and technology.
A line up of international artists created utopian and dystopian body images, gave insight into recent technical potentialities and offered tactics for critical and playful uses of ubiquitous technologies.


Exhibiting Artists
Amir Bastan, Aram Bartholl, Antoni Rayzhekov & Katharina Köller, BeAnotherLab, Carolin Liebl & Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler, Chris Sugrue, Depart, Georg Scherlin, Golan Levin, Gregor Woschitz, Herwig Turk, IOCOSE, Jeremy Bailey, Jörg Brinkmann, Lauren McCarthy & Kyle McDonald, Lisa Bergmann, panGenerator, Quayola, schnellebuntebilder & kling klang klong, Simon Renaud & Véronique Pêcheux, Stefan Tiefengraber, Susanna Hertrich, Woeishi Lean & Quadrature


The Informed Body

The body is our device for communication and interaction with the world. We use complex sign language and emit information to other bodies by the means of movements, posture, gestures, sweat and tears – intentionally or not. It’s been a while now that weʻve replaced our ideas assuming the superiority of the human mind with a growing appreciation of its intrinsic connection with the body.
The informed body is both a receptor for external information such as continuous streams of stimuli from the outside world, and a repository of knowledge. It functions as a ganglion, a knot that receives impulses, transforming, storing and redistributing them within the net of things it is entangled in.

But what does this mean for our everyday life? First of all, we watch our life being increasingly permeated by smart technology, which intends to make our daily routines more comfortable. Intelligent environments surround us and we can influence them by means of remote control or mere gesture: smart homes for smart bodies!
We are engaged in libidinal relationships with these omnipresent machines and technological cohabitants. Our beloved devices form intelligent entities and moderate our contact with fellow human beings. They are connected to us through wires or sensors, feeding us and feeding on us, while gradually becoming part of our own system.
We call them Siri or Evi as we trust them with our personal contacts, activities and intimate chats. They seem to know everything and outsmart us on a daily basis. In this vein it has become impossible to draw explicit lines and to invent tests to defend the superior status of the human through sheer rationality. The imitation game is over. The Turing test is outdated.

So what is it then, that separates us from the machine? Or rather, what does the machine still lack to resemble us perfectly? It might be awareness of the essential role of the body. When robotics research is proclaiming the need for embodied cognition for the machine, the body is conceived a fundamental precondition to grasp, to understand, and to develop intelligence.
And the same need for embodied cognition is the reason also interface design returns to the haptics. Although typing has turned into a mere symbolic gesture of interaction, the illusion of the keystroke is upheld. And while Google is fathoming the threshold of acceptable disembodiment for steering a car, our iPhone asks us to gently caress its smooth surface in order to browse through the content. We actually start to identify technology as part of ourselves, as extensions and implants, as organs, friends and lovers.

We realize that technology has become flesh, with the clone as the ultimate cyborg. It’s the man-machine fusion brought to perfection. It has lost its mechanical, uncanny appeal and literally crawled under our skin. How, under these circumstances, can we still distinguish biology from technology, when not even our genetic constitution is “natural” anymore? Unless we don’t want to hold on to outdated dualisms, such as body-mind or man-machine, we must realize the ambiguous status of the informed body as a node. It is central to our self-identification, a vehicle for expressing ourselves, yet permeable, extendable and connected.
The informed body is equipped for a journey into digitally enhanced worlds. Interfaces undergo a progressive embodiment that extends to a state of corporeal immersion in virtual or augmented realities. Designed as borderless versions of the so-called real, such worlds allow for flying, magic or drowning infinitely into the deep sea. With science (and) fiction we immerse into a state of uncertain physical borders.
When we adorn ourselves with the essential accessories of the 21st century, using iPods, Google Glass or Oculus Rift, we enter a state of techno-sensuality. We do not simply perceive the world through technology but our whole sensorium is shifting and adjusting to these new circumstances. We change our bodies or motor control vocabulary and thus we change the way we perceive the world in general until these transformations become evolution.
As a society we recognize these changes, adapt our routines, and exploit every opportunity for greater efficiency: when we hand over decision making processes to algorithms, when we outsource production to digitally-mediated, anonymous crowds or disembody tasks such as warfare or health care, or when we create fully automated industries. All of them are tasks that formerly demanded physical strength and empathy.

In each of the industrial revolutions, physical activities have been replaced or partly taken over by machines: the industry 4.0 organizes work intangibly through cloud services. And the more unstable our concept of the unitary, serving body becomes, the more determined we are to understand what defines us as embodied beings. With strategies of measuring and quantification – in the sphere of work as well as leisure – we attempt to draw its outline and tame its wild fantasies about infinitely changing shape. The optimization of technological solutions turns into the optimization of the self with the body as one of it’s main battlegrounds.
Technology has nurtured our dream to live up to the potentialities of our body and now, scared of the impacts, we use it to put the djinn back into its bottle. It is not easy though, given the fact that the world is full of artists, designers, thinkers, and enthusiasts – all creative minds who are willing to accept this challenge and to push the boundaries of our imagination further. With their critical inquiries into the interdependence of technology and the human body they sensitize us to areas of conflict as well as the playgrounds that form the topology of this discourse. We are grateful for their questions, their answers and suggestions which make „The Informed Body“ what it is: a forum for dialogue.


Selected Press

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Schirn Magazin
Frankfurter Neue Presse

3sat Kulturzeit


Naxoshalle – Exhibition & Workshop Venue

NODE15 exhibition The Informed Body (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević nemore by Woeishi Lean & Quadrature (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević nemore (c) NODE : Jessica Schäfer The Eidolon Splits 4 by Depart (c)NODE-Nemanja Knežević The Eidolon Splits by Depart (c)NODE-Nemanja Knežević The Eidolon Splits 3 by Depart (c)NODE-Nemanja Knežević Captives by Quayola NODE15 (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević The Eidolon Splits 2 by Depart (c)NODE-Nemanja Knežević The Informed Body NODE15 exhibition Naxoshalle (c) NODE

Mousonturm – Exhibition & Performance Venue

The Informed Body - Mousonturm (c) NODE : Jessica Schäfer

The Informed Body NODE15 Exhibition (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer schnellebuntebilder & kling klang klong - NODE15 (c) NODE Nemanja Knežević mirror 0.1 by Gregor Woschitz (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević The Informed Body - NODE15 Exhibition (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer pplkpr by Lauren McCarthy & Kyle McDonald (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević Deepshirt_Jörg Brinkmann_The Informed Body_NODE15 (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević The Informed Body (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević Jacobsens Fabulous Olfactometer (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević Jacobsens Fabulous Olfactometer 2 (c) NODE-Nemanja Knežević NODE15 Exhitbition The Informed Body (c) NODE / Nemanja Knežević NODE15 Exhitbition The Informed Body (c) NODE / Nemanja Knežević NODE15 Exhitbition The Informed Body (c) NODE / Nemanja Knežević 10VE Installation and Performance NODE15 (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer The Informed Body NODE15 Exhibition 2 (c) NODE - Jessica Schäfer hands on by Herwig Turk (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer Augmented Hand Series Levin Sugrue McDonald (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer Augmented Hand Series 2 Levin Sugrue McDonald (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer Vincent & Emily by Liebl and Schmid-Pfähler (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer


Susanna Hertrich - NODE15 Exhibition (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer NECLUMI by panGenerator (c) NODE-Jessica Schäfer



Curators Jeanne Charlotte Vogt & Alexandra Waligorski
Production Christian Hergarten
Architecture Hellen Kleine & Marc-Samuel Ulm

Exhibition Team
Antonina Mackova, Anna Mackova, Begüm Inal, Catharina Szonn, Emeline Van Houtte, Hanna Sauer, Isabelle Stamm, Liliane Werner, Linda Traut, Ronja Trischler, Sabine Funk, Sonja Lesniak, Theresa Fuchs


Thanks to Jessica Schäfer, Nemanja KneževićLaura Nickel, Susanna Hertrich for the beautiful images!

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