North Carolina State University
United States of America

Fernanda Duarte is originally from Brazil and is a Ph.D. student in Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at North Carolina State University. Her research interests include media arts, mobile technologies, critical and post humanist theory. She is a CAPES Brazil/Fulbright Scholar.

Fractal Flesh: Politics of Mobilities in Pervasive Biotechnologies

This paper aims to discuss how pervasive computing renders specific politics of mobility when biotechnological applications are embedded in biological bodies. It is observed by scholarship in the field of mobilities that the rise of digital technologies along with the implementation of pervasive information networks has enhanced the mobility of some people, places and things while stressing the immobile condition and unequal accessibility of others. Issues about forms of surveillance, their pervasiveness, and the institutions to whom they are available arise as the possibilities to identify individual’s current location, monitor traveling routes and create databases about individuals and places. Once the depth of pervasiveness reaches the biological body, it is required that specific discussions about surveillance, safety and privacy are developed to deal with ethical issues of biological disclosure. In order to discuss possible implications, two case studies are presented: Steve Mann’s “WearCam” and Stelarc’s “Ping Body.” By looking at these examples, I propose that the concept of politics of mobility is expanded to look at mobility also at a molecular level of the biotechnological arrangement and the sensorial experience. I conclude by pointing directions for future research that investigate different levels of topographies for hybrid spaces, in a conformation that includes the body as a site of networked computation.