I am convinced that we will blend with machines; yes, the singularity is right around the corner. But here’s the thing: I love my body, my animal self, and that self will one day die, rot, disappear. Not the machine: it can endlessly be fixed – it grants us immortality, irresistible immortality!

 

I am repelled, instantly – this is my gut reacting, I can't even explain it.  Then curiosity kicks in: who among us will be the first immortal?  Who?!  

Repulsion, fascination - an ongoing oscillation, strangely familiar and always anxiety-inducing.  But this is nothing new, because major technological innovations go hand in hand with profound cultural shifts, and those always induce anxiety.  In Western culture, think of the printing press, and before that, the occurrence of writing itself. And even before that, phylogenetic research tells us the oldest fairy tale, dating back 6,000 years, is The Smith and the Devil, literally forged during the Bronze Age. We are at a similar juncture, a Faustian bargain already in process.

 

Is it a Promethean dream? It is unstoppable; it is inevitable.

So I want to love being human, right here, right now. I want to dance without thinking, to dance with abandon, knowing it might be the last dance… But this has also always been true.

Francesca Talenti

This production was funded by an Innovations Grant from the Institute of the Arts and Humanities at UNC-Chapel Hill