Bodies of Hybridity: Animal, Cyborg, and the Supernatural Becoming

In A. Malakasioti & C. Kokkiou (Eds.), Beauty and Monstrosity in Arts and Culture. London: Routledge. (Forthcoming, 2023)


In mythology, the hybridization of human forms of body with animalistic traits is closely tied to the ontology of supernatural power, while animals and robots share a similar moral status as other bodies considered inferior to humans. Today, technological advancements allow humans to negotiate between the other and the divine through machines or robotic body implants, creating cyborgs. The chapter investigates the supernatural becoming between animals and cyborgs, closely examining the origins of divinity in hybrid metamorphic deities found in different mythologies and multimedia art forms. Examples include animalistic deities in Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as their techno-digital reincarnations in the works of Tianzhuo Chen, Andrew Thomas Huang, and Lu Yang. The chapter explores cyborgs’ mythological significance in Ken Liu’s Good Hunting. It analyzes shapeshifting figures in our work Mixanthropy where form-motion synchronicity becomes a driving force for creative deification. Finally, it examines familial relations between animal-human, organism-machine, and the deified persona. Ancient mixanthropic spirits transition divine powers from animal-human to organism-machine amalgamations in the Digitocene paradigm. Robots and cyborgs have an occult dimension that resurrects mythological beliefs through the supernatural becoming, where technological enchantment replaces nature’s unfathomable depths while maintaining the supernatural persona.