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The life sciences frequently borrow from the language of digital information in order to present a normative vision of the healthy body. Interestingly, this transfer of metaphors from one discipline to another is reciprocal. Just as genetics tends to explain itself through digital metaphors, so too have biological images become widely deployed in digital culture. In particular the early 1990s saw the emergence of a digital arts culture – including practices ranging from interactivity to artificial life – that relied heavily on this rhetorical strategy in order to argue a platform for infinite growth and potential. The interactive CD-ROM Præternatural by Michele Barker offers an alternative interactive art practice to that dominated by the rhetoric of growth and choice. Through a critical genealogy of monstrosity, the work explores the complex and often contradictory metaphor of code, both in relation to the corporeal and the digital, all the while appearing to offer the interacting user choice. In developing a framework that highlights the limits to choice and to control that exist in both the life sciences and the domain of digital technologies it has opened up debate around the problems of metaphors across these disciplines. Præternatural was funded by the Australian Film Commission. The significance of the work is attested to by its inclusion in the international exhibition Aller Anfang at the Austrian Museum of Ethnography, Austria. The work has additionally been written about in Artlink and shown in D>Art.01: Australia's premier inter/national showcase of experimental film, video, animation, cd-rom, sound and internet art.
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Barker, Michele Frances
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Kutner, L.
E., Louis
Rub, D.
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Creative Work (non-textual)
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