Cyborg Manifesto

Transcript of Abigail Ashford's talk "What are we bit meat?" Dorothy Mead and Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto by Theresa Kneppers

In this talk I am going to briefly propose some answers to the question at hand, “What are we but meat?” which was posed by Ruth Busby in her essay on Dorothy Mead’s self-portrait of 1959, questioning what is left when physical signs of humanity are stripped away in the act of painting. To do this I am going to use ideas put forward by Donna Haraway in her 1985 Cyborg Manifesto to discuss the artwork of Dorothy Mead. Part of the beauty and continued significance of these paintings lies in their visual resonance with Haraway’s vision of polyvalent identity outside patriarchal structures, involving women, machines and animals. I therefore feel that Haraway’s terminology might be used productively to describe Mead’s contribution to feminist art history, particularly in rejecting essentialism.

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