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Transhumanist art is a term used for the art movement which reflects the time frame of transhumanity, the transitional stage from human to transhuman to posthuman. Transhumanist Art questions the role of the artist over the late 20th century, the era of modern art and conventional aesthetics. First applied in 1983, Transhumanist Art established a role for artists as purveyors of futuristic aspiration and visionary thinking in an era of scientific and technological challenge. This approach is marked by future-oriented aesthetics descriptive of an "extropic" view of humanity and transhumanity.[1] Transhumanist Art broadly reflects the transdisciplinary works in art, science and technology.


Transhumanist Art is immersed in the visionary potential of the works rather than the particular medium in which the works are developed. Essential to Transhumanist Art is the proactive undertaking by which artists to remove conceptual restraints in order to expand the scope of human creativity. In light of this characteristic, Transhumanist Art expresses a strong need to address both the positive and negative impact of emerging technologies on all of society.

Transhumanist Arts specifically places emphasis on the message of the art works rather than an array of mediums used by artists in producing their works. In this regard, Transhumanist Arts reflects the ideas of Marshall McLuhan that humans are extending themselves and their bodies through technology.

Artists and the arts, throughout history, have been a voice and a vision of civilization. Artists, as communicators, reach out to others and introduce insight and vision about society and culture. Artists and the arts bring together the passions, the dreams and the hopes of humanity and transhumanity and express these emotions in ways that touch us deeply.

Natasha Vita-More

The art works of Transhumanist Art reflect a proactive vision of the future, stemming from both science fiction and serious fiction.

[Transhumanist Arts] is in general optimistic, creative, combining intelligence and emotion in unexpected ways and is future-directed instead of backward-looking. Especially important is the automorphism sub-movement, which seeks to make self-transformation and living itself into art. On the other hand it should not be confused with techno and futurist art, which it overlaps with.

Anders Sandberg

Characteristics and stylesEdit

Characteristics of Transhumanist Art include applications of traditional art practices found in fine art through painting, printmaking, and sculpture; in multi-media, digital, virtual reality simulations, Internet art, electronic art and robotics; in moving images of videography and filmmaking; in literature through poetry and fiction; in music through real-time compositions and digitized electronic or synthesized compositions; and in conceptual art and exploratory practices coalescing artificial intelligence (AI), artificial general intelligence (AGI), and nanotechnology. Other elements found in Transhumanist Art are tongue-in-cheek humor often found in science fiction, animation and cartoons.

Transhumanist Art encompasses creative expression outside the definitive art world and its practices. Examples are found in product design, industrial design and the discipline of architecture. The creative expression of Transhumanist Arts is not restricted to artists, per se; but can be generated through the works of scientists, engineers and innovators whose purpose is transhumanist in scope rather than being exclusive to the art world domain.


Transhumanist Art was first recognized in 1979 when the 8mm short independent film (indie film) Breaking Away was exhibited at the University of Colorado's Film Studies Program. Stan Brackage, noted independent filmmaker of the 1970-1980s, was an influence on the cinematographic style of Breaking Away. The storyline of Breaking Away themes human evolution as breaking away from biological restraints and the earth's gravity as humanity moves into space. The performance art piece was written and performed by Natasha Vita-More at Red Rocks Amphitheater.[2] Don Yannacito, Director of Film Studies Program for independent filmmakers, filmed the performance.[3]

In 1983 the Transhuman Manifesto, a manifesto of arts for the future by Vita-More and FM-2030, established a poetic doctrine of transhumanist expression.[4]

In 1985 EZTV [5] Los Angeles, featured the video 2 Women in B&W at Women In Video.[6] In 1992, the video T - and Counting was produced featuring worlds of FM-2030, Marvin Minsky, Carl Sagan, Harold Cohen, Anaïs Nin, Susan Sontag and other transhumanists, futurists and exemplary thinkers, was exhibited at the United States Film Festival in 1992.[7]

By the late 1990s, Transhumanist Arts was seen as a new era in which the innovative, futurist ideas expressed by transhumanists and other forward-thinkers were brought together. In 1995, 301 artists and scientists signed the manifesto and Transhumanist Arts & Culture became a nexus for artistic and innovative thinkers.

Transhumanist Art has been covered by numerous periodicals such as Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Village Voice, LA Weekly, the Swedish Zon Magazine, Teleopolis, [8] and on the net at R. U. Sirius at MondoGlobo.

Transhumanist arts trends: From 20th century art to 21st century artEdit

Transhumanist Arts of the 21st Century did not appear out of the blue. Much of its content has evolved from art movements and art forms of artists who preceded it. The historical continuity of this art can be illustrated through the early 20th century and even farther back in time though ancient myths and perceptive visionaries. Today, the Transhumanist Arts culture is still forming.

—Natasha Vita-More

The beginnings of artists engaging in either science or technology and individualism was evidenced in Futurism (Italy 1908) and Dadaism (France 1915). Futurism rejected traditions while glorifying contemporary life by emphasizing two dominant themes, the machine and motion and advocated the fusion of art and science. Dadaism was more a world-view rather than a style. The Dadaist manifestos were often aimed at startling the public into reconsidering accepted aesthetic values. This type of rethinking—employment of technology, science, individualism and the revoking of traditional standards—is transhumanist in scope. Although Dadaists tended to be irrational and negative and Futurism was short-lived, Transhumanist artists are rational and dynamic optimists and intend to live indefinitely.

Abstract expressionism (1940-1950s) kicked-off the contemporary art movement with predominant concern of self-expression. While the trends were approaching a cybernetic concepts in art with lasers, holography, and neon art, conceptual art (1960s-1970s) had enormous influence on artists merely by reflected the artistic mind. The act of thinking became the art form. By offering models for problem solving and engagement in non-art systems (meaning not producing an object of art such as a painting or sculpture or poem); interests in science and technology was at a peak. Soon after, performance art (1970s to present) presented an extraordinary open-ended art form where artists’ desire to communicate more directly with viewers than through an "object".

Simultaneously, high-tech art (a contemporary art) (1970s) utilized diverse technologies with the sentiment that the more effective the high-tech art, the more it transcends its hardware. However, most tech art remains an exploration in technological art rather than a world-view. It is a part of the art and technology movement, but its more recent art expresses ambivalence of postmodernism towards technology. It is important to keep in mind that not all tech art is transhumanist in scope. The use of high-end technology or great aesthetic value in subtranshuman concept or storyline does not equal transhumanist magnitude. Elaborate special effects fall short of content when the use of great technology is used to repeat antiquated myths.

Contemporary surrealism, when approached as a style and not a means and method of thought dictated by rationality and morality, seems to integrate with Transhumanism through anti-binary loopholes in the visual arts. Biomechanics (H.R. Giger, Demetrios Vakras), Mutation or 'the mutable' (Matthew Barney,J. & D. Chapman etc.), and issues relating to the loss of identity through physical or psychological transformation (Ras Steyn, Minnette Vári) make it possible for the 'surreal' to merge with the transhumanist subject. When one realizes that the post-industrial subject is as steeped in the organic as it is in the mechanical or technological, it becomes lucid that Surrealism prevails as a style (or method of thinking) that functions as an incessant amorphous generator of the irrational, improbable and contradictory. It ignores all parameters dictated by reason and attaches itself to anything that also ignores and unsettles logic.

—Ras Steyn

Museum and gallery exhibitionsEdit

Artists and works of artEdit

The following is a list of persons who self-identify or have been identified by others as transhumanist artists [9]


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External links Edit