In the area of philosophy concerned with the weirdness and boundaries of our 21st century minds, the state of the world is often interrogated with a thought experiment called “The Extended Mind” — an idea that is as pressing as it is mind-boggling and, well, disturbing. Basically, the experiment shows that smartphones, tablets, and even lame PCs have allowed everyone everywhere to commit a significant chunk of their personality and memory to units outside their actual brain. Think about it: You think you know your friend’s cellphone number and your schedule for next week — but would you still know these things if you lost your iPhone?

Together with developments like Google’s widely publicized Glass unit, these types of ideas have many academics, artists, and armchair thinkers guessing as to where we’re headed as a population. Will all next-generation social interaction take place in a digital setting? Have we all become cyborgs?

Jenny Lee, a British artist and head of Studio Aikieu, invites us to consider the fate of a tech-driven population in her new piece, Immateriality / The Future Human. “Immateriality seeks to critically engage the public to question the future implications of how we choose to utilize science and technology in the future,” she writes. “Scientists believe that as technology continues to advance, a new human will evolve.”

The idea is pretty straight-forward: With technology like Google Glass, what’s stopping us from cherry picking the world’s aesthetics and generating a refined, “better” version of the world before us? In a haunting and thought-provoking video reel, she shows how a new world can be pulled before your eyes, layered over the real. "With my project, it's the idea that we're utilizing technology as a means to evolve beyond biological bodies," she said, speaking to Fast Company. "What I wanted to do is consider new technology as augmented reality — the idea that we can place a digital mask over the real world."

 

Immateriality | The Future Human from jenny lee on Vimeo.