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Mark Dery On TransMutational Patient Zero: David Bowie

David Bowie. Photo credit: Mick RockI’ve ranted about Michael Jackson as a transhumanist, but in the case of David Bowie, I don’t even need to make the case, do I? All the way back in the Hunky Dory days (1971), he declared, "homo sapiens have outgrown their use" and "got to make way to the homo superior." By 1976, he was searching for his one true love in some sort of virtual other world (TVC15)… "transition transmission." And the list goes on.

Now Mark Dery is embarking on a series of essays on "a suburban teen’s transcendent encounter with Ziggy Stardust":

"Forehead emblazoned with a gilded moon, hair dyed drop-dead red and spiked into a Kabuki frightwig, he was a vision of posthuman beauty, with a face like Garbo’s death mask and a leer on loan from Alex, the ultra-violent punk in A Clockwork Orange. And the costume changes — a whole clothes rack’s-worth of them, each more jaw-dropping than the last: sci-fi samurai in a tear-away kimono; camp Flash Gordon in a skin-tight jumpsuit; gay-pride sumo wrestler in a sequined jockstrap; Surrealist burlesque dancer shimmying in a man-bra made of glitter-skinned mannequin hands."

If anybody is going to get Bowie right, M. Dery is the man for the job. I’m looking forward to more entries.

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