(Ireland, 1979) is a literary expert and journalist who lives and works in Dublin. He writes for publications like the New Yorker, The Independent en New York Times Magazine. His 2018 debut To Be a Machine was nominated for the prestigious Baillie Gifford Prize, the most important British non-fiction award. In the book, O'Connell researches trans-humanism, a Silicon Valley subculture that devotes itself to radical life extension by melding man and technology. In 2018, O'Connell told the NRC: "They have a mechanistic view on what it means to be human. They literally see humans as machines. [...] My inquiry was into the question of what it means for a human to become a machine, but ultimately I learned more about what it means to be human."(WN 2019)
Archive available for: Mark O'Connell
Writers tell us about their favourite book: the book that inspires or touches them, that set their artistic, moral or intellectual compass. In short, the book they would recommend to everyone. Interview: Abdelkader Benali.
Writers Hanna Bervoets and Mark O'Connell and film curator Gerlinda Heywegen presented and commented on video clips, short films and excerpts from games and feature films related to the festival theme 'Who wants to live forever?' You'll see visions of the future, healing elixirs, struggles between life and death, and commercials about staying young and beautiful. Prior to 'Forever clips, clips, clips', Bervoets and O'Connell conversed in the programme 'Man-machine: And Technology created the New Human', in Hall 1 of Theater aan Het Spui, from 21.10 to 22.00h.
Boris Karloff plays the best known film monster of all time in an iconic film adaptation of a story that over time seems to only gain relevance. Two hundred years ago, Mary Shelley wrote her epistolary novel about fundamentel questions regarding human existence. As film Frankenstein changes the story on many points. On screen, the scientist uses electricity to bring his creature to life. In the end also this film classic focuses on the central question 'why are we here and what can we do?' The film is screened in English without subtitles. Mark O'Connell - irish author of To be a machine (2017) about people searching to conquer mortality by merging with technology.
Hanna Bervoets and, from Ireland, Mark O'Connell discussed our "trans-human" future, in part spurred by O'Connell's bestselling To Be a Machine and Bervoets' novel Ivanov. O'Connell gave his book the riveting subtitle Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death. He explores the roots, ethics and future of trans-humanism. This movement wishes to expand the natural borders of human existence with the help of technology; according to others, it is an objectionable philosophy. Bervoets combines tension and ethics in Ivanov, in which the main character gets tangled up in the dubious research of a young scientist. Fiep van Bodegom lead the conversation, with sidekick engineer and innovation philosopher Martijntje Smits.
Bervoets and O'Connell also appeared in Filmhuis Zaal 1 from 22:30-23:40 in "Forever clips clips clips", a series of excerpts, short films and games addressing the festival theme Who Wants to Live Forever?