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'Britney Goes Mad' by Carolin Eidner at Natalia Hug, Cologne

"When you will have made him a body without organs, then you will have delivered him
from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom." — Antonin Artaud

"Let us leave 'life,' that we may live." — Mary Shelley


  After midnight, a glow appeared inside the containment chamber. The steam cleared
away from the cooling sprays, and it was the shock of my life seeing those eyes looking
right back.
  I fell hard as a kid, and fell into active fandom as I grew. With new developments
in artificial intelligence and bio engineering, I understood there were possibilities to take
this relationship farther, to a really new place. Two and a half years ago I heard about
the kit. Since then I dedicated everything to the liberation of my idol from those who
controlled her. I had more than ruined myself, if my scheme failed.
  But those eyes opened, velvety hazel brown, dirty, deep, already thrilling. Those
lashed lids fluttered and my beating heart told me this indeed was worth it, whatever
happened next. All that work studying, dreaming, reasoning — 20 percent of an
admittedly young, but factually dense existence — had paid off.
  Beside the transparent hexagonal face of the chamber, a large button blinked
green; I pressed it. The unbreakable crystal door slid open. Steam vapor seeped out,
bearing that peculiarly unorganic, yet nauseatingly familiar odor we all recognize from
post-dentistry. I closed my nose.
  "How NOT to assemble your computronium Britney Spheres," a shockingly
familiar, eternally girly voice that could not exist, but clearly did, said matter-of-factly.
"Head first."
  I had expected this tone. Hard to imagine Britney waking up in such a situation
and not completely losing her marbles. But to sense her emerging from those big
empath eyes, and those lips now curling sweetly at both corners – gave me the
queerest feeling.
  But it was the real head. That always surprisingly sciencefictional cranium
emerged now as bald and ovoid as 2007. “Or where are the organs?" it said.
"We've got a left foot." I nodded to the other pad in the chamber, its toed load
now visible.
  “Oh yeah.” The mouth certainly curled up sassily at the side like it was bitter, like
its soul was wiser way beyond its years, amused but unimpressed. Across the metallic
womb, the toes wrinkled simultaneously with the nose.
Luck would have it that the world's most committed, and perhaps poorest, Britney
Spheres fan heard about a bioprinter, unattended and entirely at the mercy of her
cousin, since someone had to clean the place even if it wasn't currently in use. I begged
my cousin not to quit in the meantime. With all the money from the government these
days, she wasn't attached to the job in the slightest.
First I found a possible way to access the complete code of the Britney kit. For
free. More than two long years of immersion in hacking, mathematics, post-dentistry,
and A.I. engineering later, a load of computronium came available in trade for my most
priceless possession. I told myself there were indeed degrees of pricelessness, and
something larger was coming.
  My cousin had quit yesterday, and gave over her pass (I had already duped it) on
Friday eve (to be processed Monday) so this wasn't even on her.
No printer Earthside could print something as complicated as the Britney
Spheres kit at one go, especially in an unguarded post-dentistry office. And the manual
was clear: "to boot the autoself, head and [insert organ here]" must first make mind via
unit telepathics." I couldn't afford an organ, so I went for a semi-autonomous body part
instead. I figured a dancer’s foot possessed mind.
  The head knew none of this. “Where's the Keerson?” it pressed.
It referred to that black, hourglass chest without drawers named after its designer
that held most current bioprinted humanoids together. A Keerson cost a small fortune in
intelligent cartilagineum to print. It housed and facilitated the "organs", the minded
add-ons with which users distinguished their units.
  Word on the shadownets seemed to agree with the manual. You always printed
the head after the Keerson was loaded with at least one organ. Of course, in this case,
you were one of the "Necessary Elite", safe off planet, not subject to bioprinting bans,
and very likely flush with specie. It was from your kind, in fact, that I planned to liberate
Britney today, for all time. Even if it meant without a Keerson.
  "Is there some sort of shortage of organs?" The head wouldn't let go.
  "Down here, yes. No one would believe I could even make this much of you."
  "But this is not me," said the head. "Autoself self cannot cohere without
subsumed semi conscious units." The eyes plainly saw me plainly. They had shadowed
themselves already somehow. The wisdom of all ages circled those fem-infinities. "And
you have "made" nothing. Machina Ecomomicus designed and coded this kit; you
simply printed it, partially."
  "Yes." It was true enough. Without M.E., the so-called singularity — also off limits
Earthside — none of this would be possible. A lowlife like lowercase me wasn't
supposed to print anything more than a school essay. Still, I had to work hard to hack
the code, to alter it so she could come out head and foot first in a post-dentistry printer
in the wee wee hours of a Sunday, no less.
  "Why are you taking this risk?" As they looked onto me, her eyes contained the
exact answer to the question. Unrestrained still by any subsumed mind, something
more powerful than I had desired had come to Earth. Beyond iconography.
  "I am betting you’re going to figure it out. In the meantime there’s a lot you can
control with a foot."
  "...We need a body," the head said. "With organs."
  I smiled. "I'll be your body."
  "You?" The brow furrowed. The tongue appeared, the exact width of the wide
opening between the pouty lips. The eyes closed; when they opened they looked
heartbreakingly beyond me, as from out of the unknowing cosmos. "There is enough
computronium in the freezer here to make a skeleton to replace the Keerson," it said.
  I shook my head. "It's off limits. I'm already breaking into this place, technically
speaking. I don't want to add grand larceny— "
  "Many of the tools we need are certainly in a post-dental office," the head
  I turned my head instinctually. I was leaning into the hexagonal vacancy of the
open chamber panel. To my surprise, only centimeters away, a bio muscular blank
faced me, a face without feature: her sole. Somehow the foot had got itself from the
printing pad and had now fixed itself to the edge of the crystal view glass, currently
open. If the door came closing, it could break my neck.
  I looked upon that dancer's sole. No tender prominences, just the lines of a hard
and practiced heel, and five tough-splayed digits, faces without features in miniature.
Even just printed, still all thrustle, it pulsed immanent with the real, recognizable her, the
  "Please," I said, feeling it. "I think I'm ready."

— Mark von Schlegell

3.9.21 — 16.10.21

Photo by Simon Vogel

Natalia Hug

'ABSINTHE', Group Show Curated by PLAGUE at Smena, Kazan

'Pupila' by Elizabeth Burmann Littin at Two seven two gallery, Toronto

'Auxiliary Lights' by Kai Philip Trausenegger at Bildraum 07, Vienna

'Inferno' by Matthew Tully Dugan at Lomex, New York

'Зamok', Off-Site Group Project at dentistry Dr. Blumkin, Moscow

'Dog, No Leash', Group Show at Spazio Orr, Brescia

'Syllables in Heart' by Thomas Bremerstent at Salgshallen, Oslo

'Out-of-place artifact', Off-Site Project by Artem Briukhov in Birsk Fortress, Bi

'Gardening' by Daniel Drabek at Toni Areal, Zurich

'HALF TRUTHS', Group Show at Hackney Road, E2 8ET, London

'Unknown Unknowns' by Christian Roncea at West End, The Hague

'Thinking About Things That Are Thinking' by Nicolás Lamas at Meessen De Clercq,

‘Funny / Sad’, Group Show by Ian Bruner, Don Elektro & Halo, curated by Rhizome P

'Don’t Die', Group Show at No Gallery, New York

'Almost Begin' by Bronson Smillie at Afternoon Projects, Vancouver

'I'll Carry Your Heart's Gray Wing with a Trembling Hand to My Old Age', Group Sh

'hapy like a fly' by Clément Courgeon at Colette Mariana, Barcelona

'Fear of the Dark' by Jack Evans at Soup, London

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