Technolust + Former Models

Monday, October 17, 2016, 6:00 pm
Human Resources LA

410 Cottage Home Rd,
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Lynn Hershman Leeson's Teknolust
(preceded by Benjamin Pearson's Former Models, 20min., 2011)

Dirty Looks LA is glad to partner with the curators of the exhibition Seduction of a Cyborg to present Lynn Hershman Leeson's 2002 "Teknolust".

"Rosetta Stone’s clone Ruby needs to be sexually active in order for her and her “sister” clones to survive, raising many questions about both gender and reproduction. Because Ruby is a clone who has only recently entered the world and thus has experienced limited human interaction, Ruby learns how women and men interact romantically by studying stereotypical love scenes in old Hollywood movies. Ruby memorizes the pick-up lines she hears in the movies and then uses them on men when she goes out to gather sperm. Here, Hershman Leeson seems to be employing a Butlerian view of gender as performative that combats an essentialist view of sex. Ruby does not innately know how to act like a woman, but she is able to learn how to from society because, as Butler argues, all humans learn to perform their gender. Therefore, to convincingly act like a human, Ruby must accept the gender binary. Ruby thus blurs the boundary between humans and machines, while she simultaneously reinforces the gender boundary between men and women. As Balsamo points out, “it appears that even though the body has been recoded within discourses of technology and medicine as belonging to an order of culture rather than nature, gender remains a naturalized marker of human identity,” and in this case, clone identity." *

Seduction of a Cyborg explores intimacy, sex, and desire as related to technocratic fantasies of futurity, (re)production of bodies, and fractured selfhood in the digital age. The fictional and the virtual intersect, exposing narratives that activate, transform, and deconstruct our understanding of the networked and plugged-in subject. The exhibition springs from an engagement with the work of Lynn Hershman Leeson, a foundational feminist artist whose work has explored selfhood and technology for over fifty-years. The exhibition places special focus on Hershman Leeson’s feature-length film Teknolust (2002), in which a female bio-geneticist downloads her own DNA to produce cyborgnetic clones that subsist on sexually obtained Y-chromosomes and act as “portals” on the internet where users fulfill fantasies and dreams.

Exhibition Dates: October 7 – 23, 2016