The human body consists of practicable elements that can be easily manipulated and engineered. Through surgical procedures our bodies can be stretched, shifted and sewn, yet still be functional. What then would stop us searching for a higher level of function than we have now? Especially if it may have the potential to benefit the younger, more vulnerable and more malleable generation?
'Transfigurations' depicts designs for potential body enhancements that have been surgically implemented. Each modification is put in place to imagine how these techniques could ‘solve’ a potential future problem for the baby, ranging from medical to environmental to social mobility issues, but at what physical, mental, social and economic cost?
The fictitious range of speculative transhuman procedures span believability, necessity, desirability and fear in dealing with environmental challenges to come. In the wake of technologies leading to the “designer baby” this project reveals that modification, particularly of children, is not new, and techniques today may achieve what we believe to only be alterations of the future. The feedback since the production of these sculptures has shown that decision making in healthcare, particularly when it involves vulnerable parties is incredibly complex and sadly rarely accessible to everyone.
Extending the skin on the scalp increases the surface area for faster heat dissipation. With the increase in global warming this child would be able to withstand working in high temperatures due to the higher number of veins near the surface of the skin.
Extension of the cheeks can be achieved through expansion clips, once the clips are embedded in the cheek wall the skin and muscle can be stretched over a period of three months allowing fast and efficient caffeine absorption for a child entering a high stress career.
In order to achieve the more rounded face shape of an aerodynamic child, pins will be surgically implanted into the nasal bridge along with a cranial support brace. Tightening the pins will allow the bone to be farmed up to one millimetre a day in a particular direction.
A high incidence of asthma can be prevented by the removal of the central phalange. Leaving the soft fleshy skin exposed for the potential contraction of a hookworm, a parasite known for reducing allergic responses.
A new orifice can be fashioned by extending the skin and thin muscle behind the ear, which can then be tightened and tucked to create a sphincter. A baby diagnosed with a disorder in which tablets or other drugs have to be taken regularly would benefit from an extra opening in a low fatty and therefore slow absorbing area.