themes / The Cyberiad

The Cyberiad new culture, new media, new aesthetics

moderator: Rindert de Groot
participants: Alina Şerban / Pekka Himanen / Ryszard W. Kluszczyński / Richard Barbrook

New media are a catalyst for changes in global aesthetic norms: they enable not only the presentation and playback of content (images, 3D animation), but also enable to create entire alternative worlds. Changes in the imaging of reality can easily influence human identity, increasingly binding it to the possibilities offered by technology. The user is constantly surrendering new areas of his life to technology: creativity, thought processes, and the user’s relationships with other people and the world.

“The cyberiad” refers to a collection of short stories (published in English under the title Mortal Engines) written by the esteemed Polish science-fiction author Stanisław Lem over 40 years ago. Our modern cultural reality and the reality of a world inhabited by robots can be seen as increasingly analogous.

In which of the three castes described by Umberto Eco – cognitariat, digitariat, lumpenariat – does modern man belong?

We would like to examine how technological development affects our perception and descriptions of the world, how it influences our relationships with our surroundings, and how it has changed our autonomy vis-à-vis the tools provided by the creators of new technological breakthroughs.