Artist Bart Hess thinks so.
He populated an exhibition landscape with a smattering of shimmery reflective pools filled with molten wax. Then he strapped models into robotic harnesses and plunged them into the liquid until the wax crystallized around their curves in layer upon waxy layer. These body-encasing, architectural forms seemed to resemble 3D printer-drawings done directly on the models as they emerged, dripping wet and encased in a ready-made prosthetic. Suspended from hooks, the wax body molds resembled floating sartorial spirits and formed quite the collection of "strange beasts and frozen avatars...creating an analogy between the corruption of the body and the corruption of software," explains Hess, predicting "a future of cyborg couture, where glitches play across our skin and transform our bodies."
These digital artefacts were a highlight of the recent Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2013 and featured in a fictional metropolis designed and developed by scientists, designers, artists, sci fi authors and technologists. Curated by architect Liam Young, Future Perfect, this imaginary place provided a very real venue for pondering possible scenarios to come, including the large-scale districts that our future mega-cities may very well contain. "It is a speculative urbanism, an exaggerated present, where we can explore the wonders and possibilities of emerging biological and technological research and envision the possible worlds we may want to build for ourselves," explain the organizers of Future Perfect. "Some of us will be swept up in what the city could be, others will be reserved and look on with caution." While we may not yet have walked these specific streets, lined as they are with what may come, speculating intelligently about them is something we can and indeed should do. "The future is not something that washes over us like water, it is a place we must actively shape and define. Through fictions we share ideas and we chronicle our hopes and fears, our deepest anxieties and our wildest fantasies."
Practicality matters as well, obviously, in particularly considerations about:
Landscapes can include both the space surrounding cities as well as what we surround our bodies with: textiles. Textiles, as envisioned by Hess, will honor our unique bumps and lumps in a way that celebrates the human present in the cyborg and provides a platform for the youth culture of Future Perfect to use their bodies to experiment, adapt and augment. (Not unlike today in many ways, just way more extreme.) "By moulding within their costumery all the imperfections of a decaying scan file," adds Hess, "they [will] celebrate the corruption of the body data."
Here's the PODCAST which accompanies this post about Bart Hess, his Future Perfect wax garments & the FUTURENETICS fashion tribe:
Music: "Exotics" by Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott