What the surrogate touches

The haptic threshold of transhuman embodiment


  • David P. Parisi Emerging Media, College of Charleston, USA




A core promise of transhumanism concerns the technological extension and augmentation of the human body, where media interfaces are used to push the borders of the human outward beyond their present limits. But questions about the composition of the extended body, and the mechanisms by which its extension are enacted, remain open, as the technologies that would allow a remote user to feel fully and seamlessly embodied in a remote environment are still very much in protean form. Reading the depiction of tele-existence technologies in the 2009 science fiction film Surrogates through a haptocentric lens, this article emphasizes the significance of mediating touch to the tele-existence paradigm, reflecting on touch’s status in the overall organization of both human and transhuman theories of mediated perception.


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