Cybernetic Creativity
: Exploring a New Wave of Posthuman Art in the Age of Covid-19

  • Katherine Rose Petersen

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis provides a narrative of evidence for a new wave of creative process and practice through the lens of Posthumanist philosophies with a particular focus on the emerging circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Firstly, this thesis aims to establish Posthumanism as an art movement in its own right that crosses the boundaries of academic, theoretical/ philosophical scholarship and, through the adoption of interdisciplinary practice, demonstrates the convergence of the arts with science and technology. Secondly, this study endeavours to build upon this context of Posthumanism as an art movement and examine the characteristics of a proposed emerging new wave within the movement. Whether or not the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020 has had any impact on the trajectory of Posthumanist creative output is explored in detail to the ultimate end of offering a novel contribution to knowledge within the field of Posthumanist scholarship by providing a contextually-situated map of the themes, forms, mediums, political ideologies and theoretical underpinnings of this proposed new wave.
This novel contribution is achieved through the thematic analysis of qualitative data collected from interviews conducted with self-identified Posthumanist artists Marco Donnarumma, Hallidonto, Mafe Izaguirre and Tara Mukund. These practitioners were selected not for any particularity of their views, but based on a criteria of actively producing work between the years 2016 and 2022 and utilising emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality at some stage in their creative practice and/or process. This study focuses on generating a depth rather than breadth of knowledge, and posits the findings of the study as representative of an emerging new wave of the Posthumanist art movement, shaped by the Covid-19 crisis, with particular attention paid to the ways in which the selected practitioners overcame the challenges posited by the pandemic.
The findings of this thesis establish that these artists exemplify a sense of a new and emerging wave within the Posthumanist movement not only through their adaptation of creative practice and process to the realities of a Pandemic era, but also through offering an exploratory reaction to the increasing entanglement of technology and human ontology. This is achieved in a way that, through interdisciplinary application of emerging technologies and philosophical/scholarly underpinnings (both Posthumanist and otherwise), challenges normative societal narratives surrounding bodies, identities and lifeforms who have been
historically omitted from consideration within the human-centric ideology of Western Humanism.
Date of Award20 Jun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorTrudy Barber (Supervisor), Rebecca Janicker (Supervisor) & Lincoln Geraghty (Supervisor)

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