Human, all too Human?
Mi Mew, Mi Mi Mew Mew?
Mi Mi Mew Mew is not only about cats. It’s also a reevaluation of our past, a reform of our sensibility and imagination.
Mi Mi Mew Mew is not the (wholesome, funny, or cute) cat images that pop up incessantly on your Instagram feed, but the feeling we get caressing a cat: the irreducible intensity, the force of becoming, and sense of the whole.
“Information” on today’s social media is constantly reducing this irreducible intensity. Social media is systematically weakening our complex feelings for cats into stickers, Cliff’s notes, and infographics, to swiftly transmit messages easily digestible.
This information breeds binary oppositions that continue to infiltrate our everyday lives: conservatives vs. progressives, dog people vs. cat people, Republicans vs. Democrats, straight vs. queer, leftists vs. rightists, activists vs. art enthusiasts, the oppressor vs. the oppressed. Regardless of our preferences for pets, the political logic of binary opposition will ceaselessly shape our perception of the world.
Binary oppositions and superficial stickers are weakening our sensibility and reinforcing the existing world order.
It’s not an easy thing to shape the existing world, because the content must be constantly challenged and updated at an increasingly rapid pace, like the iOS update messages regularly appearing, Elon Musk’s Mars Mission, or Mark Zuckerberg rebranding Facebook as Meta. In place of the existing world, Mi Mi Mew Mew is concerned about “potential worlds” – ontological worlds, transcendental worlds, impossible worlds, emerging worlds. These are undoubtedly not the “metaverse” Zuckerberg is speaking about, which is controlled entirely by capital and data.
Today, we are often scorned by cultural studies scholars if we don’t mention culture before discussing ontology, since metaphysics and ontology are both universal assumptions developed by white men, based on the exclusion of non-western perspectives, and neglect cultural and normative differences.
However, if we ignore alternative possibilities, we will often retreat into the “empirical world” and reinforce the existing world order.
The Mi Mi Mew Mew Universe eludes the empirical, existing world and escapes traditional, metaphysical frameworks.
In double dissociation, Mi Mi Mew Mew is closer to the alternative universe. It is a political stance. It is new as well as old, Western as well as Asian.
Mi Mi Mew Mew endorses paradoxes. It neither creates consensus by resolving conflicts nor adheres to the axiom of “new is always better”.
Mi Mi Mew Mew applies “both/and” thinking, juxtaposing contradictions like dreams. It does not follow linear time (like the unwavering friendship and company of dogs) but is situated in the perpetual moment.
Mi Mi Mew Mew resists the governance of the state and capital on (cyber)space; it occupies existing space and allows people to dream. Like cinema, Mi Mi Mew Mew reinvigorates our weakened imagination that is ravaged by consumerism.
Furthermore, Mi Mi Mew Mew is also about “discourse”. Mi Mi Mew Mew does not invent new words. Instead, it borrows, reinvents, and appropriates words. Mi Mi Mew Mew does not seek to invent new languages for new concepts (like “body without organs”) but is always able to find cracks within the usage of existing language.
Mi Mi Mew Mew is not “interdisciplinary”, “start-up”, “new” or “technological”, but is newer and more interdisciplinary than all of the above. Mi Mi Mew Mew not only reinvents words and images but also reconfigures our imagination of the world.
Mi Mi Mew Mew is not about the visible, but more about the invisible infrastructure, the underlying operative measures.
Mi Mi Mew Mew is virtual as well as material. It is the immersive, virtual images of the metaverse, as well as its material foundation.
Mi Mi Mew Mew makes laugh and cry, but also reflexively aware of the material conditions of its medium.
Mi Mi Mew Mew should not be the fabricated illusions of Hollywood movies and consumerist memes, or the solemn medial reflexiveness of contemporary art (making us aware of the manipulation of illusions).
Mi Mi Mew Mew is the illusion as well as its medium. It refuses to uphold the binary opposition of high culture and popular culture (the truth of art vs. the falsity of consumerism) and consistently merges contradictory elements together.
Mi Mi Mew Mew resists binary logic, “the law of contradiction” and “the law of excluded middle”, which state that in case of contradiction there can only be one correct answer (either society or art is more important). Mi Mi Mew Mew rejects this tendency towards distinct conclusions. Instead, it returns to the state of chaos in which things are at once artistic and social, aesthetic and political, vulgar and refined, obscene and normal, retarded and brilliant.
Mi Mi Mew Mew lies beyond the constraints of all the disciplines, but is also their shared foundation; In modernity, academic disciplines tend to embark on a process of “purification”, establishing exclusionary boundaries between one another. Furthermore, Mi Mi Mew Mew is also against the “interdisciplinary” craze, because interdisciplinarity is already part of the establishment, a “discipline” in and of itself, and co-opted by consumerism (leading to all sorts of co-branding frenzies). Mi Mi Mew Mew is the invisible foundation of all the disciplines, an a priori infrastructure, rather than a product of experience.
The meeeethod of Mi Mi Mew Mew is closely related to:
- Laaaatour’s STS (science, technology, and society)
- Harman’s Object-oriented Ontology
- Neeew Materialism since Deleuuuuze
- Haraaaway’s Cyberfeeeeeminism
and the approaaaaches of contemporary art.
And all of them utiliiize:
- Non-human perspective
- Biolooogical entanglement
- Complex intersectionality
- Viscous and vibrating methods
- the blurring of the boundaries between the humaaanities (politics) and science instead of keeping them intact.
The difference is that:
- Mi Mi Mew Mew is based on “voice” and therefore avoids the pitfalls of conceptual assumptions such as “art” and “STS”.
Mi Mi Mew Mew is a return to the material vibration of the voice, the original reverberation of creation, the sound of “Om”, but differs from this pure vibration in that it entangles more polyphonic siren songs. Mi Mi Mew Mew disenchants existing disciplines and re-enchants us with the sound, spell and magic of lips – vocal cords – the vibration of lungs.
However, Mi Mi Mew Mew is not a return to the natural and harmonious pre-modern condition that invokes nostalgia or assumes a peaceful, spiritual foundation of mankind, nor a return to the humanist tradition, championed by religious gurus or hippies.
The ontology of Mi Mi Mew Mew is: “specificity”, “contradiction”, “paradox” and “heterogeneity”. Mi Mi Mew Mew embraces technology instead of our pure spirituality and challenges all of the basic assumptions that proclaim consensus and harmony (which are often exclusionary and violent in nature).
Mi Mi Mew Mew also exposes actively and forcefully the cracks of modern technology to recontextualize and reinvigorate our technological usage, disenchants us with our anthropocentric urge for control that is predicated on functionality, reason, goal-orientation and consumerism, and returns us to the accidental, heterogeneous vitality of technology itself.
Similar to big data operations, rather than focusing on meaning-based discourses, Mi Mi Mew Mew is concerned about “non-cognitive systems”, attentive to constantly emerging relations and connections.
This allows us to distance ourselves from the Habermasian ideal of “intersubjectivity”; in the information society, we are all taking part in “interobjectivity”. As you read these words, your unconscious activities – click behavior, dwell time, cursor movement – are being tracked and stored as data.
Mi Mi Mew Mew does not long to return to the humanist subject with its illusory freedom. Rather, it is fully aware of the inevitability of our interobjectivity and is deeply engaged in it.
Mi Mi Mew Mew is also closely related to Benjamin and his theory of technical media, because it rejects a return to the traditional aura of pre-modernity in the cyber age of mechanical reproduction, choosing instead to recontextualize and create its own aura.
Mi Mi Mew Mew affirms the ambiguity of human-machine relations, rather than celebrating traditional humanist values. Mi Mi Mew Mew is more machine than machine, more humanist than humanism, more scientific than science, and more consumerist than consumerism.
Mi Mi Mew Mew is the noise beyond the stable operating system and shows an affinity with Kusanagi Motoko of Ghost in the Shell, Neo of The Matrix, and Dolores of Westworld, blurring the human-machine distinction, deconstructing the discourse of man, and challenging the operating system as its exception. Mi Mi Mew Mew appears to adhere to the current rules of the information society, but has in fact existed long before its arrival.
If N. Katherine Hayles could proclaim in 1999 that “we are already posthuman”, Mi Mi Mew Mew shall proudly raise the banner that reads, “WE ARE ALL MI MI MEW MEW”!