Future Nets

Many of you surely know the risen Christ by Matthias Grünewald, which belongs to the Isenheim Altarpiece. This being floats, so illuminated in the vault of wholeness that the Roman soldiers turn away, blinded.

I used to wonder if you could still be physically intimate with such a being. Actually, this Risen One is antiphysical. And yet he looks very direct, very specific. He means me – immediately, at this moment. And I mean him. What kind of encounter is possible with such a being? What would the consciousness that is experienced here look like? What intimacies would appear in it? Where within me is he looking?

In the context of transhumanist issues, I often lack a picture of how to imagine the consciousness we should develop as a counterpart to binary impoverishment. Body-free connected, i.e., networked, and yet not only in bits, bytes, and terabytes stored information of the past, from which artificial intelligence generates dead answers.

I had a conversation with a person in which we dived deep into our skies. It was unintentional, almost a coincidence. You probably all know that. Something incorporeal touches there and testifies to each other. In a sphere of light, that is life. In a heated shell that creates life. For the first time, I felt that Grünewald’s Christ is an image of our future togetherness: We touch each other without bodies, and our Is connect without desire. Something new to me sounds that I could not have produced on my own. And that was very specific, not made up.

Translation Monika Werner
Image Fabian Roschka, Handbewegungen auf Scanner [Hand movements on Scanner], 2022

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