Posterchild for the Future: Living with Michael Jackson

Throughout February 2003, the tabloids dug even deeper into their font suitcases to extra extra bold the recurring headline “Wacko Jacko.” After a global screening of the doubly famous and infamous documentary Living with Michael Jackson, which was put together by the Brit Martin Bashir, the unanimous media verdict could not possibly be snappier than the larger-than-life Jacko being cut down to size with the rhyming echo of Wacko. Upright commentators and moral agents of all denominations joined the wailing chorus to secure the King of Pop’s self-inflicted fall from grace, while devoted fans and sympathetic supporters lashed out at the prejudices and lies allegedly edited in and out by the royal dramatist Bashir, who once had a sniveling tête-à-tête with Princess Diana. Some voices even went as far as classifying the 90-minute kitsch fest, done with the full and knowing collaboration of Jackson, an elaborate suicide note from an unaware victim. Perhaps it was only appropriate, then, that legions of experts, in the form of psychologists and voice analysts, were unleashed upon the footage to extract an opinion on the truth. Quite predictably the mental trade labeled him a casebook case for arrested development, and an Australian outfit, using a method akin to a lie detector, revealed the recorded speech patterns to show stress levels indicative of deception in his voice; the meaning of pivotal words was “scientifically” turned around to nail high-pitched frequencies already subject to suspicion. [1] While cable and network programming was humming with that unmistakable freak show buzz, pressure was put on the proper authorities in Santa Barbara County, where Jackson lives, to take penal action against him for televised breaches of propriety. Doubting the criminality of his admissions, however, officials declined the public demand to make a case out of an example, due to a lack of evidence. Meanwhile in Britain, the frothing frenzy made it into the House of Commons, where Labor MP Helen Clark and Tory David Amess made a strong bipartisan stand on what they saw as unsuitable for broadcasting. Airing such views and practices as those of Mr. Jackson was, in their allotted stance of the most honorable proclamation, a dangerous endorsement that certainly merited condemnation from the highest body of public policy. [2] The King of Pop was by now a moral pauper, his rule a disgraced ruin of dubious glory. That Wacko Jacko decided to strike back and turn the postmodern tables with his own documentary on Bashir, flogged to the networks by a gay porn pundit to maintain the tabloid-friendly tenor of terror, will not concern us here. Nor will we dwell on the astounding figures that initially glued 15 million Brits (more than half the entire TV audience) and 27 million Americans to the screens for the first airing, saw millions of dollars change hands in return for rights, and subsequently demanded more than 20 hours of primetimeover a period of two weeks following February 6. [3] This postscript must rather address what exactly prompted this outrage and suspension of belief that preoccupied the global attention and exponentially multiplied search strings in Google almost instantly. Something fundamentally disturbing and collectively stirring was no doubt filtered through the airwaves to reverberate in the public domain.

Those not privy to the broadcasts may benefit from a brief TV guide to some of the most scandalous highlights: First of all, there was the wide-eyed admission that Jackson “slept” with children that were not biologically his own. Following the 1993 charge of sexual misconduct by J. Chandler, a case Jackson settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, the criminal investigation into the matter has remained open and, as the permanent-probation saying conjured by the media suggests, subject to new evidence. Hand in hand with one of his child protégés, 12-year-old Gavin, Jackson innocently confessed to sharing his bedroom with guests and tucking sleepovers in with hot milk and cookies. The slumber parties were described as very sweet and not sexual, with the millionaire idol, at age 44, dutifully taking up residence in a sleeping bag on the floor — after reading bedtime stories. Bashir was quite incredulous in his insinuating innuendos.

The interview segments concerning Jackson’s rather striking appearance superficially corroborated such skeptical charges coming from the edited voiceover. When confronted with questions about plastic surgery, he admitted some minor work on the nose (references to reconstructive surgery from an accident were edited out), while changes to the overall bone structure were explained as time taking its toll; the racial shift from black to white, the result of a medical affliction. Again, the words slipping through those finely sculpted lips seemed to insist on a different creation story, which did not quite match the tale put forward. Bashir sought the full disclosure of a middle-aged black man in the face that resembled, if anything, a white, slightly effeminate adolescent.

But instead of getting revelations and bravely halting, single-handedly, the invasion of the body snatchers, Bashir simply sunk further and further into a, for him, alarming fantasy that required a suspension of conviction and a confrontation of prejudice to make much sense. Next up was an explosion of the nuclear family, which at first had little coherence and disintegrated further into that genealogical tumbleweed of contractual marriages and surrogate mothers. After the two-year marriage to Lisa-Marie Presley was dissolved in 1996, Jackson married his nurse Deborah Rowe and had two children with her, both of which he helped deliver and the second of which he apparently rushed from the hospital upon exit from the womb — placenta dripping in his trail. (A beautiful image of nativity to rival any Christmas display.) The marriage ended in 1999, when Jackson assumed sole custody of Prince and Paris, a boy and a girl. Both appear, although masked in public, to be distinctly white in terms of features and pigmentation. During the filming of the documentary another infant, nicknamed “Blanket,” entered the dysfunctional family picture and this offspring was born by a surrogate mother, ostensibly black although the baby appears once more to be white, through artificial insemination of Jackson’s sperm. Bashir now incredulously wonders if his world of black and white has been turned completely upside down into some sort of colorblind meta-matter.

With the navigational bearings thus staked in a very circumspective fashion, the pairing of reason versus imagination set off to enjoy Las Vegas. Although one would think that this change of backdrop befits the Jackson narrative, the repartee takes another surreal turn on a multi-million dollar shopping spree in the Treasure Chamber, a prime piece of super-indulgent consumerism in the Egyptian-themed Luxor Hotel. Specializing in antiquities proper, genuinely not faux, the iconoclastic sales display of the ancient proved an irresistible trove for Jackson, who is seen pacing around and pointing to the shopping list without ever stopping to ponder the zeros ticking over on the tab. Finally at rest before a particularly fetching sarcophagus, filmed in a second segment the day after, he seems utterly perplexed and somewhat embarrassed by the inquiry into his own preferred burial rites, as the King of Pop. Anything like this golden coffin already proven fit for royalty? Further prodding breaks the pregnant pause of time and Jackson proclaims in a pre-pubescent voice that he wants to live forever, presumably in the vessel he is already molding. Bashir responds with the only subversion that may somehow coach Jackson back into the mortal coil — really?

Thus the prolonged interview is persistently like two vectors of time and space passing in the twilight. Bashir never recognizes the self-proclaimed Peter Pan, and Jackson never faces the middle aged black man he mirrors by birth. It is a dialectical battle between the virtual and the real where both quite successfully hold their own ground. Back home on the 2800-acre Neverland Ranch, where an entire amusement park is built in the backyard, the childhood fantasy literally comes alive to invigorate and reincarnate the aging child. These fun-filled acres are, of course and in effect, an enclave molded to the troubled psyche that happily rejoices in merry-go-rounds to orbit its own world and pays very handsomely for development and maintenance costs. There can be no psychological crime of arrested development here, only comparative spending to keep pace with a progress toward eternal immaturity. Neverland is like Jackson himself regressing toward this naive forever, a secret chamber of retreat spread across the fenced grounds. Visitors are therefore mischievously asked to individually sign a contract where they pledge to never ever tell a living soul what they are about to see and hear there. But this silencing, signed for on the dotted line, is of course mute in the exited eyes and ears of those embarking on this thrill ride, ready to scream. Even the most austere legal jargon of the outside world becomes the whispering of adolescent pacts inside the gates of Neverland; I’ll let you see if you promise not to tell. No wonder Jackson went into a tantrum of betrayal when Bashir knocked down the door to his juvenile paradise and let everyone in, with real-world preconceptions: he simply broke the naïve trust children live by. This bittersweet antagonism effectively built, and inexplicably balanced itself, over eight months of one childish star exposing an innocent world of beauty and one seasoned journalist revealing an undercover world of scandal. The outcry that followed those initial 90 minutes of Living with Michael Jackson essentially drove the virtual and real apart into an open conflict. But what was it, really, as Bashir always muttered with a question mark attached through intonation, that we saw and heard from the deepest secrets of Neverland (buried beyond the realm of show and tell) that prompted such an emotional turmoil of everything from sympathetic pity to righteous shock around the globe?

Let us examine the offending creature before us. He is a man that claims to be a child and subsequently adores children, as playmate equals and not subjects of authority. He is a gendered being that denies the sex of his organs and, seemingly, prefers an androgynous innocence to sexual difference — suggestively grabbing his groin only after doing some moon walking to fluently make it part of the same surreal act. He is racially ambiguous after switching from black to white, although there is apparently an uneven skin tone underneath the makeup covering the condition. He effectively denies having altered his appearance and argumentatively returns crude surgical biotech to the time-honored changes of evolution, resisting the visible entropy of both processes. He strongly aspires to be a father, but denies romanticized reproduction its innate role in the formation of the nuclear family and disciplining of the body, preferring instead the copulation of the test tube and the marriage of the legally binding contract. He confuses the idol with the icon and religiously grants himself eternal life, augmenting the argument with a mutant look (a soul searching for a body) and a voice straining terribly with the low vocal chords. He even releases a sycophantic album called HIStory, which breaks apart grand narratives in favor of personal idiosyncrasies, but does not, if truth be told, sell and badly flops into the bargain bin. Such a mantra of characteristics for the King of Pop could easily read like a Top 100. The extended point of its charting is to recognize the pattern developing: the quest for eternal immaturity; the absolutions found in technology; the science of biology as profoundly logical and desirable; the plasticity of identity; the eradication of sexual and racial difference; the flirtation with and seduction of the Other; and the apotheosis of one in many and many in one. This refrain is like a formulaic hit song for the future, with that catchy chorus of cyberspace. We have repeatedly heard it before yet long to hit repeat it again. But when faced with an actual documentary instead of an overproduced and slick music video, usually ahead of its time (Jackson’s trademark), we balk at the sights and sounds and go into global convulsions of outrage and disbelief, as if the world is suddenly poisoned by the grotesquely otherworldly without proper warning. What lie behind the gates of Neverland, however, is our contemporary dreams of the future; Jackson being nothing more or less, on that wobbly vector of infinity, than a cartoon version of cyberpunk, science his pixie dust.

In his book The Information Bomb, Paul Virilio describes modernity as the enamoring of immaturity. The process does ultimately not strive toward human progress. Instead it convincingly animates narratives like Alice in Wonderland, with her telescopic looking glass, and Peter Pan, a child vehemently trying to escape his future in the refuge of Neverland, as lifelike and vibrant, at an intimate remove, in cybernetic networks and technologies. Arrested development, Jackson’s alleged affliction, can thus not really be considered an irrational trespass, but rather the logical law of modern advancement. Drawing on the temporal compressions of speed, Virilio argues that the split-second relay flattens experience to the extent that technology awards instantly what time can only grant gradually, thereby refusing to wake up to the unfolding of life. Modernity is thus purposefully stuck in a refusal to grow up, preferring the illusions of the virtual to the reality of adulthood and death. According to Virilio’s parallel analysis of The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig, the generational gap results in a conflict that fears the process of becoming inhabited by children, bringing discipline and security to the table in order to control and curtail it. While children are, as we have heard so often as a moral prelude, the future, they are also part and parcel of the potential dangers it harbors. They must consequently be properly educated and forced into a state of dependency throughout their adult years. Through the constant rehashing of knowledge in learning institutions, we also have another intersecting layer of potential conflict in the substitution of old values as new values, effectively facilitating a reversal of the historical process. This brings Virilio to proclaim that: “Nietzsche was not a philosopher, nor Hitler a statesman. Both were, rather, the paranoid interpreters of the apocalyptic ultimatum of youth battling with the irreversibility of time…” [4] Nihilism, with its violent tendencies, is thus the infantile voice of youth casting off the ominous shadow of perpetual old age, already prehistoric at birth. To subdue and overturn this forceful urge, it is channeled into the hybridization and leveling of the ages, where every TV dinner, suitable for those unable to feed themselves, has the sugary and fatty flavor of a Happy Meal, and the techno hub of a SONY Playstation posits all players as equal partners. Through such cycles, reproduction inevitably also turns toward pedophilia in erasure of the same limits (with a constantly lowered age of sexual consent and stories of 9-year-old girls getting pregnant), and a multi-billion-dollar pleasure industry arises to assure us that sex is the greatest game of all, our body just another toy. It is in this juvenile ecstasy of the modern that we must locate the progeny of the future and initially ponder why a man, who just wants to be a boy, is apparently powerless to profess his innocence and relinquish his sexuality, despite assurances everywhere that he can and must.

Jackson, in what has become an overstated fact, never had a childhood. He was the shooting star of an entertainment industry that sparkled with every growth burst — and faded into the startling King of Pop to make every parental wish initially poured upon this starstruck trajectory come true. Except, as every celebrity psychologist has insipidly argued, his instinctive desire for infancy, which turned into the adulterated nightmare now playing. Following those beaten clinical paths toward maturity, the standard diagnosis sees Jackson filling in the gaps of development that he has, through the coercion of his homegrown talent, been denied with abhorrently abnormal results: childhood can never seem natural for those that have physically outgrown it. But this astute assessment, with its pathological insights, rather seeks to once more deny the full-grown child its will to inhabit the future, shape its own destiny and break away from the zombie surrogates of the virtual and real that are playfully staging the permanently immature by mirroring the old rules in a new game. Maybe Jackson is simply the prototype of a new juvenile delinquent — unabashedly and irresponsibly laughing in the face of a patent violence — for the prenatal posthuman age? At the close documentary quarters of Neverland, the modern craving for immaturity in the virtual womb is conceivably translated into a clandestine look at things to come, an ultrasonic peek-a-boo at the highly mutable self and its unsettled relations with Others.

Since Stelarc got hooked on the biomech that developed into biotech and morphed into another bio-logic, now with a genetic suffix, we have heard and rather crudely seen, with futuristically glazed eyes, that the body is inadequate and obsolete. It is merely a defunct prosthetic of a superior mind. But the metal arm that wrote EVOLUTION after dictation from its organic counterpart (a defining Stelarc moment) never really made much of an appearance beyond the many theoretical amalgams with a bright alloy shine. Sure, there were goggles and gloves to equip the budding cybernetic organism, but all that waving inside the pixel parade did not quite display the super powers strutted in sexy mixes like those of the comic heroes X-Men. Strapping the game console to the senses never quite made the first cut as far as metal and flesh goes. But then, adversely of course, there were those that immediately broke the test tube and called us cyborgs from the outset, due to our overt reliance on tools and aides made of matter other than tissue. Bad eyesight plus glasses equals a cyborg they argued. This split personality of the cyborg has continued to pivot around the same mortal coils and data stacks.

N. Katherine Hayles, for example, makes a compelling case in How We became Posthuman for how traditional Western notions of human identity have gone from incorporating views of disembodied information, the uploaded brain syndrome, toward reconciling this vision with material embodiments in what then qualifies as human and information symbionts. [5] Recognizing that all information must indeed have a presence to exist, which on second thought (not confused with the heady spinning of a hyperspace hard drive) seems quite logical, she foresees a growing symbiosis between the forms of information and the shape of the body. The futuristic point, in her view, is to argue for the best size and fit.

Someone like Ollivier Dyens, on the other hand (if we are indeed still left with two), appears more inclined to give information the upper hand in a scenario where culture and technology dominate biology with an iron fist to perform a transformation of the body. It leads him to exclaim rather apocalyptically, with inverse positive terms if one so prefers, that: “The cyborg is nothing but a fusion between biology and culture, and, as such, it marks the end of living beings as defined by our current conceptions. The cyborg is a semantic transformation of the body; it is a living being whose identity, history, and presence are formulated by technology and defined by culture. It is a body free of dualities, guilt, sexual repression, and frustration…The cyborg is a sexless living being, man, woman, and machine all at once. The cyborg is the obliteration of the biological.” [6] This legendary being, which is optimistically given the adjective living, breeds an implosion of opposites into a powerful — textual and tactile — nucleus of culture and technology, which bears more than a passing resemblance, in the evolutionary sense of a strictly logical time, to the constantly decomposing yet perennially youthful Jackson countenance. Out of synch with time and dualistic nature, it is a composite that revels in reversals and suppresses the trace of any transformation to erase its haunting twin.

Without embarking on the entire anthropological journey of body modifications, it should be clear that the cyborg is not exactly a new ticket to how cultures and beliefs interact with the bodily subject closest at hand and to heart. The plasticity of surgery has been around for decades, and Tinseltown, from which Jackson hails, has been obsessed with keeping up timeless photogenic appearances to booster a sanctified image well into the shrunken golden years. It is equally clear that the practice appeals to the identity politics of an image culture that applauds the flawless and airbrushes away specks and blemishes. One is defined by this projected image of oneself, and through an identification with the body, which perpetually revolves around the divisive symbiosis of the index (the Cartesian split resolved through revolution), the plastic aspects of its appearance become subject to surgery; the incestuous drive to modify and repair takes hold. The goal is to reconcile the informational model and mould with the body and thereby erect the proverbial temple adhered to by those aspiring to be the most healthy and fit, whatever the procedure and cost. [7]

The latest trend here is the less intrusive Botox (a trade name for Botulinum Toxin Type A) treatment. By locally injecting a neurotoxin directly into muscle fibers with a syringe, the nerves are temporarily weakened for a period of up to six months. The result is a mask of deadened tissue that is unable to move, and therefore wrinkle; suspended death has effectively become the chic of a society rejuvenated by toxins. But this evolution of the facial expressions, which would have prompted Charles Darwin to ponder his 1872 treatise Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals with a less happy and sad postscript, is already rather trivially transformed from plastic surgery to cosmetic surgery, poison being just another accessory in the make-up kit. The blurring plasticity of the body is thus furthered and simultaneously halted in an induced state of controlled rigor mortis, installing a matter of fact. This accurately recalls, once more, the semantic transformation of the body in the hands on technology and culture. However, the instrumental desire of plastic surgery has already sought to escape its synthetic, and by inference false, roots in the works of Professor G¸nter von Hagens. Most famed for his Body Worlds exhibit touring the scientific sideshow circuit for the last few years, he uses a process aptly named plastination to drain the body of fluids and fill its porous cavities with polymer resin. [8] Through this robust overkill by compounds, the body literally hardens to plastic and smothers both wrinkles and death in one bloated appearance filled with the tantalizingly lifelike forever.

We are starting to fully see the contours of Jackson’s persona here in light of constructive surgery and his expressed modernistic will to beat the inertia wheel with immature carousels. But he appears to have crossed that fateful border beyond upgrading and fallen into horrifying decline instead. Hence the shock and horror does not address his process but the product, installing a fear that the body will in the end betray the many incisions of the cultural. As is the case with Jackson’s delicate nose, it will cut off the blood supply and cause permanent mortifying damage to the crafted tissue. What we identify in this face is a vanishing threshold of technological progress, where the quest for improvement has turned around and started to falter. Not that his expression, per se, is other than benign, or that it truly resembles a fictional monster of extremes — all his doctors are probably found in the Yellow Pages, not in some Transylvanian castle. His transformative pursuit is rather so close to upper class Botox parties and grimy high street body sculpting cum tattoo parlors that only a price tag sets them apart. Unlike the wealthy New York socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein, for example, who has undergone extensive work (which she, incidentally, denies) to put some feline into the female, Jackson has stayed within the sheltering shadow of the human. Wildenstein has tried to jump columns in the Linnean taxonomy by surgically emulating a cat, both with apparent success and not without a hint of mockery for the upgrade curve of the cyborg. Only inspiration from an ape might possibly have been less flattering for the evolution applied to this look. Someone much closer to Jackson in spiritually, and hence in flesh, would be the French artist Orlan. During the 1990s she underwent several plastic surgeries, billed and choreographed as performances that aimed to profile her face into ideal shapes lifted from cultural norms on beauty. Today she has the forehead of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the chin of Botticelli’s Venus, or rather the flesh painting of these pictorial icons. To finance this costly endeavor, everything from her surplus body parts to less controversial merchandise was made available for sale, turning Orlan into a commodity whose name will, once the process is complete, be substituted with another brand by an advertising agency. Citing and in the same instance offending conservative religious and psychoanalytical views that the body be left alone and the spirit elevated, she does a fine cut and paste job that fuses ideals with technology and embarks on a journey that she herself intends to be nothing but shocking, the goal ultimately unattainable. Two paths obviously collide here with the same iconic objective: Orlan picking features to assemble the ultimate mosaic of beauty, Jackson rearranging his assets to complete the psychic puzzle of identity. Both are equally the celebrated products of the popular imagination and they are both peaking at the demographic pinnacle of the average, as uniquely different in their top-of-the-class, head-of-the-curve pursuits. The horror, the horror that is mirrored, however, reflects the avowed path of progress getting off track and out of control, perhaps speeding too fast, too soon.

The convulsions of this momentum are rekindled in the many other dichotomies taking a fall, in that very biblical sense, with Jackson. Links and boundaries between race and age and sexuality are mingled and mangled beyond puritan recognition, devoid of all common decency according to the righteous gasp of the public. Once we thought eugenics had vanished on the progressive horizon, James Watson, Nobel Laureate and co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, publicly made speculative conjunctures between melanin and sexuality. Melanin is responsible for skin pigmentation, and it was in one study conducted for cancer prevention research found to cause sexual arousal in male patients injected with increased levels. [9] Ergo, Watson argued in his contentious lecture, we have Latin lovers and English patients. As the Human Genome Project progresses amidst fears that cultural and behavioral concerns will be factored into information biology, and just as a surprisingly uniform gene bank is erasing race as a valued category, the assertion grounded in proof that does not meet scientific standards simply served to invoke prejudicial conceptions of the black libido. Recalling the savage attraction and titillation of the nineteenth-century Hottentot Venus, dimly associative bonds were drawn between chemical and genetic make ups and sexually motivated behavior, black then being the predatory color of uncontrollable urges. Imagine, then, the once-upon-a-time of a wolf in sheep’s clothing and the Neverland fairytale. This is the black man camouflaged in a white boy’s body to deviously lure the innocent with simulation. But thanks to the biological thumbprint of data and the graphic traces of a morphing timeline, the anomalous creature is ceremoniously unveiled and identified as a hybrid animal instinctively ready to pounce. All the work done on the transposition of identity, echoed in the hyperbolic talk of aliases in cyberspace, appears to have vanished in the face of a deeper and better informed determinism that accepts nothing at face value, unless it is backed up by data. No matter what his intentions, regardless of his guilt, there is a profile attached to Jackson that looks at the pedophilic assimilation of the Other, by itself a deeply sexual act driven by the immature desire of modernity, couples it with a genetic silhouette steeped in racial prejudice, and passes a sentence of misleading deception on all counts, a betrayal based on appearances we now know to be otherwise. We would be well advised, however, not to confuse this stripped identity with an about-face turning the future on its head, puncturing the virtual with the real and finally exposing an inappropriate thought to its deformed body, metaphysics standing naked before us. It is on the contrary an indication that Jackson has slowly come of age and entered the imperceptible slipstream of time that moves at a pace humans can tolerate without panicking. His face, awfully scarred by modernity, is now the postmodern Cro-Magnon of the networked information society, merely a plastic bronze preceding the interminable data flows.

As the festooned gates to Neverland close behind us, we are also leaving the shock of the future behind as we once found it to be. Modernity has reached another chapter in the evolving fairytale and has, ecstatically incomplete, expanded the horizon of happily ever after. Once upon a time once more belongs to those vast vanishing reaches, as an image and an imagination slowly slide over the curvature of the Earth. What is most striking about this passing appearance is how the blueprint of modernity, from which Jackson is so haphazardly yet candidly constructed, remains attractive and instructive despite its rather obvious entropy. The evident patchwork of destructive effects that caused this public uproar was quickly reduced to an isolated anomaly and normality was restored at the apex of popular culture — chart positions are now slipping, record sales are dwindling, we are told. Subtracting black and adding white, romancing the pedophilic self, and harnessing the power of the Other apparently only mixes the copyrighted soundtrack of let there be light for another, grossly distorted world. Our horror over Jackson stems, and let this be his premature epitaph to keep with the theme of staying ahead of time, from the impractical recognition that he may be the ultimate conformist to our way of life and the foremost balancing act of the heavens today. The moral anger, spewing over from his supposed corruption of values and children, emanates partly from our visit to the furtive Neverland, which turned the modern dream of the future into the twinkling halo of a Disney theme park. Forever may thus have turned out to be the molester’s candy after all.


[1] Jacki Quist, “Experts React to Jacko,”

[2] BBC News, “MPs Attack Jackson Documentary,”

[3] Bill Carter, “Networks Scramble for Anything Jackson,” New York Times, February 14, 2003,

[4] Paul Virilio, The Information Bomb (London: Verso, 2000), p. 98.

[5] N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press 1999).

[6] Ollivier Dyens, Metal and Flesh: The Evolution of Man: Technology Takes Over (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001), pp. 82-83.

[7] See also the following essay: Jean Baudrillard, “Plastic Surgery for the Other,” Ctheory,

[8] Andy Miah, “Dead Bodies for the Masses: The British Public Autopsy & The Aftermath,” Ctheory,

[9] Michelle Locke, “Sex and Sunshine: Nobel Laureate Links Skin Color and Sex Drive,”

Are Flågan engages in a multitude of fields and practices that usually end up passing through a computer. He received an MFA from the University of New Mexico and has contributed to several publications internationally. On April 26, 2003, his curatorial, research and design project entitled Transcodex will open online and onsite at Boston University in conjunction with the biannual Boston Cyberarts Festival.