At the same time I was learning to free-dive. I wanted to both understand how humans have lived intimately with the sea for thousands of years (there are many ancient diving practices around the world; in east Asia, Polynesia, the Iran/Arabian Gulf) and to try to tackle the question with my body, and not just my brain. When I went from being able to hold my breath for 25 seconds to 2.5 minutes in the course of a single training session – and then when I learned that the human record for a single breath hold is 11 minutes and 54 seconds – I understood that we really need to take a step back. That we have no idea about the true limitations of our existing biology. About the adaptations that are possible through training, through labor.
Which led me to the question, how do we know what technology we need to augment the human body if we don’t yet know what’s possible with what we already have?
Training Transhumanism, as opposed to building (or buying) transhumanism is also a question of equity of access, of internal capacity building, of valuing physical labors and hard work, and of making do with what you have.
SP: You write that your work is about the »collision of bodies with rapidly evolving techno-ecosystems.« Can you explain the importance of the body for your knowledge production on ideas of future human conditions? How can your project refigure our idea of the body in the context of technology and ecology?
MS: Our bodies know much that our minds do not. We really need to listen to them more. They have a lot to tell us about the state of our technoecologies: pollution, climate change, implications of ubiquitous digital devices. Seriously, just stop for a second and pay attention to how you are sitting, how you are breathing, how your shoulders feel. You will immediately understand a lot.
»Our bodies know much that our minds do not.«
When I start a new project I do read a lot, but then I find it really important to get out of my head and go use my flesh: eating, weeding, hunting, smelling, diving. That’s when I begin to understand.