The Body Electric

- , 2017

Tickets: Free

An exploration of the ways we design and engineer our bodies.

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The Body Electric Archived

Prosthetics were once the domain of specialists, but a new generation of makers, designers, hackers and everyday people are finding their own ways to adapt their bodies to the environment, explore new forms of creativity, and reflect on what it means to be human. This exhibition, in Roco's Bl_nk Space Gallery, looks at the ways people modify their bodies, augment their senses, and find unique solutions to unique challenges.

The exhibition includes a look at the Engineering at Home archive, which tells the story of Cindy who, after a heart attack in 2009, experienced medical complications resulting in amputations involving all four limbs. As well as accessing high-tech innovations including a myoelectric hand, Cindy also found ways to make a new life for herself using deceptively simple engineering. This archive documents the adaptations, hacks and appropriations she developed as an "informal engineer".

It also includes Human Instruments, a company dedicated to the design and production of digital musical instrument interfaces for people with varying physical ability. They are developing the world’s first commercially available, hands-free instrument that will give its player total musical freedom of expression, with a resolution of sound as close as possible to traditional orchestral instruments.

Exhibition events:

Kris Halpin and Vahakn Matossian-Gehlhaar talk & performance
15 June, 6-9pm, free – book now
Kris Halpin is a singer, songwriter, producer and technologist, working to innovate at the intersection between music and disability. He performs with Imogen Heap’s groundbreaking gloves, furthering their use as accessible music technology. Together with his father, the composer Rolf Gehlhaar, Vahakn Matossian-Gehlhaar formed Human Instruments. Vahakn will talk about developing new musical instruments and will perform with one of the devices he’s built using open source hardware and sensors, which allows musicians to use alternative gestures to create expressive music.

Fixperts: problem solving with the power of design
17 June, 10:30am-12:30pm / 1:30-3:30pm, free – book now
Join in an exciting workshop with product designer Maya Alvarado for 8- to 14-year-olds, using creativity to come up with solutions to real people’s problems. Fixperts is a creative social campaign and education programme that encourages people who are good at making and repairing to create quick, cheap and sustainable solutions to everyday problems.

Thomas Thwaites: GoatMan talk
29 June, 7-9pm, free – book now
Thomas Thwaites is a designer whose works explore the economic, philosophical and techno-social. In his project GoatMan, he designed an exoskeleton that would enable him to "become" a goat. It was "an exploration of how close modern technology can take us to fulfilling an ancient human dream: to take on characteristics from other animals. But instead of the ferocity of a bear, or the perspective of a bird, the characteristic most useful in modern life is something else; being present in the moment perhaps.”