Patrick Doan and cyberpunk: Finding humanism within transhumanism – STIRworld

by Manu SharmaPublished on : Dec 02, 2022
Patrick Doan creates visuals that reference cyberpunk culture; which merges humanist explorations with transhumanist contexts. The visual and philosophical motifs of cyberpunk have mutated a great deal over the decades and can be considered mainstream today. As the visual artist identifies, this is largely because 2022 feels distinctly cyberpunk. He tells STIR, “We have essentially caught up with the early cyberpunk writings of the 1960s. We have large tech companies looming over us, and they are now part of our lives. We have polarising politics, and rising geopolitical tension, the natural earth is weakening and we look to space for a new life. The otherness of globalisation is also very real, and the cybernetic advancements of technology continue to creep up, slowly changing our biological bodies, and ultimately further dividing society.”
Doan spent his formative years establishing his primary interests within the realms of science-fiction, the near future and other related topics. His connection deepened as he realised he was effectively exploring visions of an unknowable future that could one day become a part of his life. He continues discussing the growth of his focus, and tells STIR, “I am also fascinated by cyberpunk because my ancestral roots are East Asian. I have a particular interest in its elements that always exotify the “other”. I am referring, of course, to cities like Tokyo, the culture of Japan in general, and even Hong Kong. These glimpses into the unknown nearby future were something for me that felt quite familiar but just out of reach. This cultural clash that did not exist yet was exciting. So, if my work looks conceptually cyberpunk, it’s because it’s what comes most naturally to me.” 
Although his work has evolved distinctly over the years, there has been an enduring anxiety regarding the future that has persisted since the beginning of his practice. This was largely due to the fact that the artist was idealising a tomorrow, either his own or for the larger human host, that he did not truly understand yet. He needed to give it a form, a visual shape, to interrogate it and explore it through different perspectives. “Most good cyberpunk works deal with a kind of core moral struggle at the heart of the human condition – what is it to be human? Can what we create be more human than us? Can society exist without humans?,” says the visual artist.
These unknowns continue to permeate through cyberpunk culture as no matter the relevant advancements humankind pursues, we are not as yet able to answer the question of why we are here, and where we are going after all this; this world that we struggle to keep alive.
Doan was born in Montreal, Canada, now based in Berlin, Germany. He studied film, design and architecture, and spent his university years acquiring the conceptual and theoretical foundation for his current practice. However, the bulk of his graphic design skills are self-taught. His skills would subsequently be developed through project productions, content for large-scale international music events, and the creative work that he has been actively pursuing for some time now. He says, “Growing up as a 1990s teen in parallel with the birth of the commercial internet, I was in the first generation to have access to the dial-up world wide web. From there, I could download software like Photoshop, After Effects, music tracking software, etc. Already a sci-fi geek at heart, I was interested in making the type of content I now create, and like most other people in this line of work, the internet enabled me to develop that creativity with the growing (net)culture of other digital graphic artists that found their way online as well. Most of my early influences centre around the growing interest I had in electronic music, like Massive Attack, Portishead, Goldie, drum’n’bass, electro, acid house, Aphex Twin, Warp Records, Björk, the music videos by Chris Cunningham, graphics by The Designer’s Republic, ecetera.” Today, Doan’s influences have diversified, yet still remain the same at their core. The creative landscape has expanded a great deal since his youth, and as it continues to do so, he follows current trends in science and technology, architecture, design, fashion, film, gaming, VR/AR, 3D character animation, other 3D graphics creators and advances in robotics and AI art .
Discussing his plans for the near future, the Canadian artist tells STIR, “Now that cultural events are largely back to normal, I am actually interested in getting back to live performances again too. Doing more talks and giving presentations on my work would be great as well. I did a talk at MOUVO in Prague last April, and the feedback was better than I had expected. People are interested to see what ideas you have to share if, of course, you are onto something interesting. Since the pandemic, I have decided to make it a priority to travel again and absorb inspiration from everywhere. I did a trip to Vietnam in June 2022 and this trip really changed me, I unexpectedly found so much inspiration there. It was a journey of self-discovery for me and my father, and we took great joy in witnessing the realities of life and meeting the people who live there. It was all very humbling. The trip was mind-expanding and left a deep impression on me. I am aware of the different realities of Vietnam, but as of my trip in June 2022, I feel as though there are elements of cyberpunk in the big cities there, like Hanoi and Saigon too. Tall high-rises and foreign consumer investment set against lower-income business and housing districts. This is in stark contrast to the very traditional Vietnamese ways of life. It is modernity versus tradition. It felt like a small version of what China next door is undergoing now with its rapid economic growth that demands the very large population to all adapt to this change. So overall, I would basically like to spend more time there, and in South East Asia in general, for the foreseeable future.”
by Vidur SethiMay 14, 2022
by Shraddha NairMar 10, 2022
by Vatsala SethiNov 30, 2022
Manu Sharma
Manu is a new media artist and an arts scholar, with a Masters in Asian Art Histories from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. When he is not busy writing about art in the internet age, you can find him hard at work, making music videos.
Manu is a new media artist and an arts scholar, with a Masters in Asian Art Histories from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. When he is not busy writing about art in the internet age, you can find him hard at work, making music videos.
by Daria Kravchuk Nov 29, 2022
Sarah Foryame Lawler, the Head of Curatorial Planning in the Public Art department at Qatar Museums, speaks to STIR on public art, and connecting people and places.
by Soumya Mukerji Nov 28, 2022
An immersive retrospective of the graffiti god’s 100 most powerful works travels through Europe, in a first such democratic showcase installed at central public junctures.
by Rahul Kumar Nov 27, 2022
A monumental exhibit presenting Pablo Picasso’s works across paintings and sculptures include some of the most significant pieces by the iconic artist.
by Daria Kravchuk Nov 24, 2022
As Manifesta 14 comes to an end, STIR takes a closer look at the way this nomadic biennial started transforming the host city of Prishtina, Kosovo, and itself.
by Sunena V Maju Oct 31, 2022
by Jincy Iype Nov 21, 2022
by Dhwani Shanghvi Sep 13, 2022
by Jincy Iype Nov 11, 2022
by Vatsala Sethi Sep 24, 2022
get regular updates SIGN UP
© Copyright 2019-2022 STIR Design Private Limited. All rights reserved.
Don’t have an account?
Or you can join with
Please confirm your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password
Already signed up?
Don’t have an account?

with us and you can:
All your bookmarks will be available across all your devices from anywhere on the globe.
Already signed up?
Or you can join with
Your preferences have been successfully saved to your profile.
Please select your profession for an enhanced experience.
Tap on things that interests you.
by STIRworld Oct 29, 2022
by Rahul Kumar Sep 06, 2022
by Sukanya Deb Nov 17, 2022
by Zohra Khan Nov 08, 2022
by Nadezna Siganporia Sep 16, 2022
Select the Conversation Category you would like to watch
Please enter your details and click submit.


Hire me on the World’s Leading Online Marketplace to design your website. Additional services like- graphic design, virtual assistance, SEO, Data entry, etc are available. Click on This Link to start your project

Write a comment