Micha Cárdenas - The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities

Micha Cárdenas, The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities, Ed. by Zach Blas and Wolfgang Schimacher, Atropos Press (January 12, 2012)

The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities explores the use of multiple simultaneous realities as a medium in contemporary art, including mixed reality, augmented reality and alternate reality approaches. Building on the notion of "trans" from transgender, signifying the crossing of boundaries, the book proposes that transreal aesthetics cross the boundaries created by a proliferation of conceptions of reality that occurred as a result of postmodern theory and emerging technologies. 
Proposing three operations for dealing with multiple realities, The Transreal discusses artists and art collectives including Blast Theory, mez breeze, Reza Negarestani, Ricardo Dominguez and Zach Blas. Through these artists' work and Cárdenas' own artwork, including Becoming Dragon and collaborations with Elle Mehrmand Becoming Transreal, technésexual and virus.circus, The Transreal demonstrates that transreal aesthetics have broad implications across new media, performance art and electronic literature. The book spans a wide range of genres including theoretical analyses of artworks, poetry, source code, photos of performances and wearable electronics, and discussions with leading thinkers in new media and performance art including Stelarc, Allucquére Rosanne Stone and Ricardo Dominguez.
Building on the notion of experimental affective politics that was developed in Cárdenas' first book Trans Desire/Affective Cyborgs, co-authored with Barbara Fornssler, The Transreal claims that an understanding of building and working with multiple realities is essential for artists and political actors to have agency today.

In this daring and poetic study, Micha Cárdenas guides us through the world of the transexual, the transgenerational, the transpolitical, the transborder.  The transreal is both a multilayered space and an existential condition. Brilliant. - Diana Taylor

The book itself, a provocative combination of theory, art, and autobiography, is at once a field guide, operating manual, and diary that embodies the mobile, mixed realities that it activates and describes, bringing together erotics and ethics within its calls to action. Jordan Crandall

Micha Cárdenas and her playmates are ontological guerrillas who know that blowing up the dominant order of power/knowledge is only the first step towards real revolution. The crucial next step is materializing virtual possibilities immanent in our current situation. - Susan Stryker


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