RESEARCH


EXPLORING THE FUTURE OF THE BODY & BEAUTY

The following research projects study possible intersections of technology and the human body in the future. They explore scenarios where technology merges with the body, a space where is challenged the perception of the body, the concept of beauty, and a possible future uses and applications of embedded technology. This research uses the media of the disciplines of beauty technology and speculative design to explore the possibilities of the human body in a future, the cultural values and social connotations challenged of a technologically-altered body, as well as new perceptions and connotations of beauty emerged as consequence of these paradigms.


TECHOSMETICS & THE SYNTHETIC SKIN SALON

The practice explores and debates the possibilities of the future human body, from its identity to its representation, by considering how the next biotechnological paradigm could affect our Western society. 

The speculative project considers a future path for the cosmetic industry in this next realm, where the desire to achieve a hyper-efficient body becomes of the utmost value. Exploring how in the future, humans could alter their body through a new practice of cosmetic genetic enhancements. Accordingly, it exemplifies a series of bioengineered skins as extreme body practices to enhance the body performance.

Anti-Sweat Skin

Setae Skin

ChlorophyII Skin

Inspiration

This project is driven by current scientific research that explores ways to synthesise human biology, offering glimpses of improved efficiency, health risk reductions, or simply for ultimate convenience. These biotechnologies by-nature promise and present a way humans could notably improve their condition, challenging the values and ethics of our society and in regard to our body.

The research foresees the construction of this posthuman identity and its relation to the body through the analysis of different theories around culture, identity, and technology.

The intentions are to raise critical questions over the understanding of the possible cultural and social implications of these biotechnologies; presenting how an obsession to beautify the body could eventually shift into a new body performance based obsession. By ultimately foreseeing and presenting new horizons for the beauty industry, it enables us to unearth new possibilities as we consider our physiological selves as more than simply a beautiful cage for the present, but as a true medium for technology in the future.

The Installation

The installation intends to immerse the audience in the Synthetic Skin Salon; a fictional skin-service salon that represents how these genetic procedures could become a common practice to boost the body’s biological functions. Accordingly it is proposed a series of improved bioengineered skins as products consumed by this evolved society. The installation includes the Skin Directory (a catalogue with the functions of the synthetic skins), a counter with the Skin Samples, the Synthetic Bodies (interactive mannequin type bodies) and the images portraying the Techosmetic Culture.

Special Thanks 

Skin Archive & Bodies Photography by George Cassells
Skin Illustrations by Fong Mei Pang
Techosmetic Culture Photography by Diana Ríos
Make-up by Summer Wei
Models Jane Engmann, Andrew Weber and Romy Bank

Alexa Pollmann, Sitraka Rakotoniaina, and Sophie De Oliveira for project guidance and production advice.


HAIRYCEPTION

What if hair could provide tactile sensory experiences and allow a communication between humans through its movements? The project explores the augmentation of human senses considering hair as an artificial organ capable to senses the environment. Presenting hair as a body extremity that provides a different interpretation of the environment.

Inspiration

Senses are responsible to provide the information about the environment, it is through how we perceive the world. This information is then processed in the brain to create a map of our reality. However, this reality can be altered if our senses are enhanced, extended, substituted or even if new senses are created. Each of these last possibilities provides an immerse experience that alter the perception of the subject, allowing to perceive the world from a different “umwelt”.

The project explores a different branch of wearable technology that considers its use to stimulate human condition. Embracing the idea of creating new senses through technology to create new perceptions. Inspired by biomimcry and the functions of animal hair in nature, the project presents how it could be to enhance the function of human hair to provide a new level of communication, and how this alternative new sense could possibly enhance human condition.

The Mechanoreceptive Wig

The prototype presents a different tactile sensory experience, providing an opportunity for the wearer to discover the environment by using hair as an intermediate to perceive. The idea is that hair could be used to serve other purposes, in this case, to extend our “umwelt”.

The prototype allows to interpret pressure and motion through hair thanks to a vibration output that is felt on the neck of the wearer. Allowing the wearer to interpret the hair movements through vibration; when the hair moves, is being touched or touches other surfaces. A conceptual video is presented to imagine how the this alternative sense could provide new forms of communication as well as enhancing the human condition. 

Using Format