Currently reading : Speculative design and the body
Speculative design and the body
The body has never been complete, or at least the body has remained a construction site for improvement, exploration, extension and expression since the dawn of time. And for the most part, this isn’t a bad thing. Imagine being content with the 20sqf of skin encasing the mundane movement of fluids, food and shit. Better to imagine (and patiently wait for) a time when men can finally endure the menstrual cycle.
Thankfully, the increasingly intimate body/tech relationship has attracted artists and technologists keen to practice god-like autonomy. The results are speculative objects, products and scenarios that aim to match or predict the requirements of our social climate in extreme ways.
See below for more details on products that aim to push the body and in turn, perfectly solve our contemporary needs.
Traces of an Imaginary Affair
The desperation to conceal ill-directed lust has been flipped to expose a niche where self-imposed bite marks, bondage burns, scratches and bruises can be used to advantage. The silver collection presents nine tools allowing users to recreate intimately violent traces on the skin. Designer and lecturer Björn Franke has even considered stray perfume, hair strands and lipstick as necessary additions to his set. Inspired by ‘stories of people who used fake evidence of victimisation or illness to receive attention from others’, Traces of an Imaginary Affair would seem like a sure fire way to tease some jealousy out of a lazy spouse.
This simulator is a hairy adhesive that you attach to the back of your neck and will start searching for the first signs of a Goosebump. Once the application detects a hair erection, it not only then raises the artificial hairs on the adhesive but also creates more Goosebumps. The aim, through creating an influx of Goosebumps at anyone time, is to see what kind of emotion will ensue afterwards when Goosebumps are artificially coerced. Designer Yosuke Ushigome, uses the link between emotion and reaction as the premise – if sadness is followed by tears and vice versa, what emotion will be experienced when a physical symptom is recreated?
This sophisticated metal machine allows you to wear ‘menstruation’ by simulating the painful bleeding that is attached to the monthly cycle. Developed by Sputniko (designer and pop artist) the project introduces the idea of biological ‘dress up’ were users can temporarily feel the inner workings of the female body through a foreign application. The design presents some interesting debates on what constructs the female, the consequences of retailing and externalising a biological process and whether the machine can and will ever allow the opposite sex to truly experience the ‘female’?