ftp_formless_anatomy (2001)

ftp_formless_anatomy is a web-based research project whose primary intention is to construct a critical, counter-discursive database of the digital-anatomical body.

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This project is an epistemological response to the Visible Human Project, an endeavor, begun in the early 1990s, to create an online, digital database of cross-sectional anatomical slices of a human male and female cadaver. Using material from this database, ftp_formless_anatomy constructs a counter-database, a teratology (the study of monsters) of the digital-anatomical body.

A theme running through most of my theoretical and net.art work is the relation between the body and technology. Specifically, two questions are of interest here: Firstly, how do normative, dominant notions of what a body is get constructed in a given context? And secondly, within those normative models, where are the possible points of slippage, formlessness, hybridity? Recently, much of my attention has been focused on how the body-technology relationship is articulated in the contemporary lifesciences (molecular biotechnology, genomics, tissue engineering, digital anatomy, tele-medicine, bioinformatics). These fields provide one example of a set of discourses and practices that are, as we speak, in the process of articulating what will come to be recognized (and thus legitimized) as body & technology, as nature & culture, and as information & materiality.

-Eugene Thacker

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