Michael Najjar "bionic angel" series, 2006-2008
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, sculptured wooden frame
178 x 198 cm | 70" x 78", edition of 6
99 x 106 cm | 40" x 41.75", edition of 6
The work series "bionic angel" (2006 - 2008) takes as its starting point the future transformation and technological control of human evolution. Rapid development in the field of so-called "g-r-i-n-techno-logies" (genetics, robotics, information and nano-techno- logies) are changing our bodies, minds, memories, and identities, but also impact on our progeny. These technologies all converge with the aim of enhancing human performance. Prenatal genetic determination enables children to be built to plan. Clone bodies become depositories for ersatz organs whilst manipulation of atomic structure creates new bodies which far outstrip the old ones in terms of robustness, elasticity and durability. The new bodies are adapted to the needs of the highspeed data highway. These developments based on genetic algorithms and neuronal networks mean that biological evolution can now be controlled; they open up the way to a new and superior form of existence for the human being.
Such acts of transgression were already implicit in the idealised body images of greek mythology which the italian renaissance adopted as the perfect expression of radical transformation in terms of the understanding of body, mind and science – secular man became an utopian promise.
Referring to such idealised body worlds from antiquity and the renaissance, the work series "bionic angel" takes up themes of "metamorphosis" from classical greek mythology as treated by the roman poet Ovid. Scenarios of creatures in the throes of transformation articulate the inevitability of genetic self-creation in the future of human history. The moment of metamorphosis itself serves as the key metaphor for the technology-driven transformation of the human body in its future post human and possibly immortal existence.
Michael Najjar belongs to that vanguard of artists who take a complex critical look at the technological forces shaping and drastically transforming the early 21st century. Najjar’s photo and video works exemplify and draw on his interdisciplinary understanding of art. He fuses science, art, and technology into visions and utopias of future social orders emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies. Najjar’s pictorial language of form and content guides the viewer into a complex construction of simulated reality which is generated by the montage of multiple image sources and elements. He removes the photographic image from its historical viewing conventions and resituates it in a fundamentally new mode of perception. His work is grouped in thematic work series and distinguished by its supreme technical precision, innate sharpness, and highly artful reinterpretation of reality.