Igor Marković

Cyborgs as (Post-Modern) Centaurs

Will and Desire to (became) Other


Since the early 1990s, cyborg, “a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction” (Haraway), has been given a central status in studies of new media and digital culture, but in (cultural) theory as well. Cyborg has become a standard “liminal figure” through which the inter-connections and fusions of humans and technology, the experience of media and technological saturation are represented. The option that “cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world” may encourage one to take advantage of the flux and instabilities in boundaries (such as the ones opened up by the new technologies), as well as provide for a total abolishment of a biologically-centred matrix of gender and gender relations. However, cyborg is not only a creature of social reality, but nowadays and to the certain levels a creature of physical reality- not up to the level of recognition as a new form of life, but yet omnipresent through advantages of medical technology.

Proposed article is concerned with the neglected tradition of human/animal hybridity in contemporary cyborgian discourse, in particular the similarities of significance, meaning and representation of the horses in the Ancient and machines today. From ancient Egypt to the Victorian age and beyond, animals played significant roles as surrogates for many of human aspirations. The Centaur, combining the torso of a man with the body and legs of a horse, symbolize “opening up of new worlds – both physically and mentally - for those who shared their power”. (Lawrence) Also, some of the characteristics of the Centaur (breaking the social codes, superb knowledge and teaching skills...) altogether with its nature/culture, human/non-human and male/female omni-present duality rightfully depict them as “guardians of limits” (duBois).

Drawing primary from the works of Haraway, Braidotti, Springer and Paasonen, author is exploring the similarities in the utterances and manifestos through which both cyborgs and Centaurs respectably have been formed and the agendas and the desires involved.