Art + Thought / AF 2010 - Josh Harris

AF 2010 - Josh Harris

The Human Chicken Factory

Josh Harris
New York City
September 7, 2010

Imagine being a Mayan Indian ages ago declaring that 2012 is the year the world as we know it will end. The problem for the Mayans back then was that they couldn’t conceive of “how” a technological revolution would connect people and information independent of space and time. 

The Mayans simply accepted that the human condition born from millions of years of evolution would end and evolve into another form of consciousness. We now know that they are talking about The Singularity (billions of human brains weaved together in a vast data net that form a new higher level intelligence). 

For us modern humans, now living at the cusp of the 2012 dividing line, the issue at hand is perspective. To the extent possible we need to understand that the next evolutionary force is building, at a rapidly accelerated pace, better and more efficient human chicken factories.  We need to understand that these factories are cages of the mind and that we are becoming the factory chickens that we eat.  With the Quiet installation (year 2000 Christian millennium) we asked artists to build a prototype human chicken factory designed for groups of people.  With the We Live in Public installation we wired for individual caging. 

The Quiet and We Live In Public installations are acknowledgements of our world’s latest evolution.  We are not concerned with right or wrong or better or worse but rather are interested in engaging this next evolutionary force before it completely absorbs us. So we build these working human chicken factories of the future, in advance, in order to understand how it all works before the final locks are snapped on our collective cages.

Twenty years ago as if in a dream born from countless hours watching television -- The Singularities spoke to me on the mount (actually in my offices at Jupiter Communications in New York City).  They told me who they are and what they do.  I accept them as real - and if you dare watch the Launder My Head animation - you might as well.

Text originally published in ArtFutura's 2010 catalog.

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