Design Yourself: Augmented Bodies

Animated man
8 Apr 2019
2 min read

In the first session of our Life Rewired inspired Design Yourself project, our young creatives start exploring how people are augmenting their bodies with technology. 

Mentored by visual artist Antonio Roberts and in collaboration with four guest artists, throughout the year, Design Yourself will see the group will create new digital work exploring how scientific and technological advances could allow artists to become ‘more human’ by heightening our natural and creative instincts. As a group they will explore technological impact on sound, movement, language and aesthetics and share their findings through new imaginative works.

In the first of a series of articles documenting their process, Antonio Roberts shares some of the insights from the first session and we hear from some of the participants to learn more about the work they have created so far. 

‘We looked at examples in science fiction and current day of people augmenting their bodies with technology. Currently a lot of this exists as wearable devices that read our bodily functions, present us data and affect our bodies on an external level. Before we started to look at technology implants I invited each participant to create a mask that would act as a piece of wearable technology that would change them somehow.’

You can see the masks created by the Young Creatives in the photo gallery above. 

Video still of animated heads

Design Yourself: Session #1

Watch a short video created as part of the first 'Design Yourself' workshop, exploring how people use technology to augment their bodies. 

From Tice:

‘The first session has encouraged me to use lots of different tools to create a piece of work that pushes the limits of what I usually do. I'm particularly excited by the idea of 'algoraves' and making music with code.

I created a mask that would be able to classify between natural and artificial presences in the outside world. I focused on using what I had around me that felt specifically mine so I stuck my loose hairs to the mask and then used the inside of a tangerine peel to give a flesh-like texture. I was struck by the idea that automation brings human-kind closer to nature. Even the benefits of the cyborg self would mainly allow us to keenly have our 'ears to the ground' and have a sharper sense of the earth's vibrations. 

Our first session led me to thinking around my MA dissertation and the idea of bodily fluids being the separating line between humans and posthuman forms. I'd like to explore this more with my creative responses over the course of this project.’

From Hector:

‘The first session made me work with physical materials and objects in a different way - trying to get them to mould to the body and act as ‘extensions’ instead of a costume. Seems like a simple question to ask - ‘what would you change to your body / how would you redesign it?’ - but when you have a ‘blank slate’ it’s actually kind of challenging to know where to start and stop.’