Category: connections

Expanding the body

In my research for this project, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the body is and how it can be defined. Transhumanist thinking, in particular, shown me ways of looking at expanded bodies – bodies that are still human, but with capabilities that go beyond what we traditionally think of the body as doing. The videos below show some of the projects, practical and artistic, that I’ve come across as I’ve been thinking about this idea. For me, these projects and others like them ask questions about what it means to have a human body. What does that body look like and what can it do? How much can we push those traditional boundaries?

For other artworks and writing that deals with this area, I’d highly recommend Science Gallery’s “Human+” catalog. This exhibition, as they put it, “invites you to consider a future of augmented abilities, authored evolution, new strategies for survival and non-human encounters through a range of installations and laboratories exploring the future of our species” and includes some really interesting work.

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The Smithsonian’s Look at What it Means to be Human

If you’ve ever been to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, you might remember their “Hall of Human Origins.” I haven’t been there (please let me know what you thought of it if you have!) but fortunately they have a good website to accompany it. As you can probably guess, they look broadly at the evolution and definition of Homo sapiens. The website  offers a nice, broad background of the scientific side of defining the human, although it focuses more on biological contrasts than objects, as Ambiguously Human does.

I’m posting about it, though, because I would definitely recommend participating in, or at least browsing through, their public poll on the question “What Does It Mean To Be Human?” The responses, from a huge range of people, raise many of the issues this project is looking at (as well as some that are outside its scope but still fun to think about). Here are a few that cover some of that spectrum:

yourself war thumbs soul science question mammal machines god experience ego differential cry choice

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