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Currently, material aspects of embodied living collide with a social imaginary driven by the unquestioned convenience of imagistic media sharing. The ubiquity of shared imagery reveals and effects our ideologies including cultural valuation of technological advances. CGI comic book superheroes in fluid interactive technicolour environments have a significant impact on the current social imaginary, influencing our transformation into animalistic or mechanistic cyborg mash-ups. In movies, outcasts of society are made extra-ordinary through unique mutations and Svengali-like characters oversee their moulding into superheroes. The Internet now explodes with children sporting colourful plastic prosthetic limbs--superhero parts--thanks to open source designs matched with cheap 3D printing technology developed by minds steeped in CGI sci-fi. The bodily revulsion we might have had at the reality of an artificial eye or limb is ameliorated by technology and shared broadly. Visible replacement parts no longer trigger an existential fear, between being a subject and an object. Conspicuous technology is the new sexy. Arbiters of cyborg enhancement in media enchant us into believing that fabricated objects for missing body parts no longer create normalcy, but, like the fashion industry, dive into the spectacular. Issues of geopolitical, economic and gendered access to resources and cultural privilege are all highlighted in this phenomenon. Through the power of web-accessed graphics-enhanced sharing of aesthetically designed technological advances consumed as edutainment, we are cobbling together new selves, where overly-enabling prosthetics create an extraordinary life, where our science fiction becomes our science, and following what is fashionable in body parts is the new cosmetic (and self-actualizing) trend. How are we not artfully assembled machines housing enthusiastic ghosts?

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Terryl Atkins 3806
Scientific production

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