By Herbert Bayer.
WE MAY ALL one day be cyborgs, with magnets in our fingertips and sensors tattooed onto our hands. Until then, however, two artists have created unsettling yet beautiful GIFs that imagine what our new cyborg bodies might look like.
Caption: Insula, a collaboration between the two artists Jon Jacobsen and Daniel Ramos Obgregón, illustrates what our cyborgian bodies could look like in the future. JON JACOBSEN
The project, called Insula, is a collaboration between Jon Jacobsen, a Chilean artist who creates grotesque animations of the human body, and Daniel Ramos Obgregón, a Colombian artist who makes bizarre porcelain prosthetics. It was Obgregón’s surreal body accessories, like ceramic sculpted tongues and fingertips mounted onto wearable bronze frames, that got Jacobsen’s attention and prompted him to reach out to his future collaborator.
Obgregón makes bizarre porcelain prosthetics. These accessories, like ceramic sculpted tongues and fingertips mounted onto wearable bronze frames, got Jacobsen’s attention. JON JACOBSEN
The resulting GIFs recall 19th-century realism, when painters depicted bed-ridden people and their surgeries. Like those artists, Jacobsen says he isn’t assigning a dystopian point of view to the paintings—just charting the evolution of our digital bodies.
At the heart of Insula is the artists’ belief that our bodies have already become almost cyborgian. “The iPhone is sort of like a new thing attached to our bodies, because everyone is holding a phone all the time,” Jacobsen says. He also points out that as we continue to lead digital lives, we exist outside of our bodies. “I call it a projection, what we do on Facebook or Instagram, or the Internet in general,” he says. “A part of ourselves is not physical anymore.” Insula visualizes the state of our new “bodies” in the extreme.
Because the artists live in different countries, Jacobsen then sent the photos of the dancer to Obgregón, who posed the ceramic pieces in similar photos. Jacobsen then edited the slew of images together. JON JACOBSEN
Jacobsen and Obgregón hired a dancer to pose in many stances. Jacobsen then sent the images to Obgregón, who was in Colombia, and he took more photographs of the pieces from the Outrospection collection of prosthetics. Jacobsen edited all the images together later, with the porcelain pieces acting as stand-ins for our real-life tech-gadget appendages. Jacobsen then animated those photographs into GIFs. He virtually sliced the model’s skin open, revealing electric sparks and smoky-looking airwaves that could easily be read as Wi-Fi signals coursing through the human body. “We ended up with this idea of a new digital homosapien,” Jacobsen says.
Obgregón’s entire Outrospection collection. DANIEL RAMOS OBGREGÓN,