Caitlin Pickall created Feast, a multimedia installation that centered around a dining table with items projected onto it, integrating sound and video. The tabletop, plates and glasses are the surfaces for the artist’s projections.
The notion of community, and more specifically global community, is expressed in Life Underground, created by French filmmaker Hervé Cohen, in collaboration with installation artist and media designer Tonian Irving. In a nondescript meeting room at the JW Marriott hotel, visitors found three benches, placed between four screens, representing the benches on any subway car. Visitors heard and watched interviewees telling their personal stories, gathered from passengers riding on 14 different subways in different locations, including Paris, Santiago, Hong Kong and Berlin.
The extensible self
Heightening our senses like this is just one way in which we will seek to augment our bodies and minds.
The Extreme Bionics session tackled the future of human ability where “genetics, regenerative medicine, and biomechatronics” could allow us to transcend the limitations of the human body. Speakers included Hugh Herr, a professor at MIT, and Aimee Mullins, former Olympian and model. Both are bilateral amputees.
Herr, who lost his legs to frostbite when climbing, has created his own prostheses to climb again, even designing in the advantages of height or foot adjustments to suit footholds. He questions why we should be restricted by nature: in future, why not have multiple limbs? Why not wings? Mullins noted that this is a trickle-up market: in the future, the able-bodied will want to take advantage of the technology too. Those that don’t will feel they are missing out, she said: “You’re going to feel like you have the old-generation body, that you didn’t upgrade.”
On the trade show floor, Dentsu presented playful speculations on what some of these upgrades might look like. Developed by students at the University of Tokyo, Lunavity is a drone-powered backpack designed to enhance jumping ability, enabling the user to leap higher and further. Why, you ask? The team behind the device suggest it might replace wheelchairs or even create a new type of sport. Translation: they’re not quite sure yet.