Mailee Hung is a California native who received her Bachelor’s in Studio Art from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2012. Finding fascination in the concepts driving her sculptural practice, she decided to pursue a more rigorous examination of their theoretical framework. She is currently a first year Master’s candidate in the Visual and Critical Studies program.
About Mailee Hung’s Thesis Project
Beyond the Cyborg: Prosthesis, Semiosis, and Survival
Technofetishistic depictions of the prosthetic body are emerging throughout contemporary Western visual culture. Some theorists read this emergence as a reiteration of the cyborg and its suggestion of total technological integration. I argue that the prosthetic body is emblematic of a potential rejection of technological hybridization, which some theories of the posthuman assume in the hopes for a utopian ontology. Rather than the cyborg, the prosthetic body has instead come to map out the specific, material intersections of technology, trauma, and desire in the formation of embodied subjectivity. Using disability aesthetics and cyborg theory to look at contemporary amputee film figures, I find that the relationships suggested by prosthesis between the discursive body and technology are fundamentally contingent, traumatic, and clearly demarcated. This project works to untangle how these prosthetic fantasies have come to shape a new ontology that frames the contemporary possibilities and limitations of the technologized body.