Are human beings machines?
Neuroscience, biology and experimental psychology are coming up with findings suited to answering that question in the affermative. Can the soul be relegated once and for all to the realm of fiction? Does the application of biological systems to computer architectures which imitate the function of the human brain necessitate a reformulation of previously valid dichotomies such as Nature/Technology and Mind/Machine? What position does the individual assume - one like that of art - in a totally networked world?
At this very moment, the adventures of freely selectable identities and constructed personalities of the Internet communities are being overshadowed by a biological quantum leap: as the first cloned mammal, Dolly the Sheep, marks the beginning of a developmental process that places body sampling and biogenetic avatars into our foreseeable future. The closer the future edges toward our very person, and the more directy it confronts us with the reality of what were previously only futuristic conceptions, the more pressing become questions concerning our own conception of self.
During the Festival Ars Electronica 97 artists, theoreticians and scientists dedicate themselves to the task of focusing the global cultural perspective from the collective down to the individual level. "FleshFactor" thus stands for an investigation of what may well be a new human factor - the information machine which, in light of recent events and scientific findings, we are.