Transhumanism art. What are visionary artists on transhumanism? A couple of examples: Agi Haines, Orlan & Cirque Du Soleil. Paintings, photo’s, performances & more!
Most of the transhumanism technologies are about improving skills that we already possess as human beings. That’s not surprising, because that is our starting point. But perhaps in the future, humans will use some of these technologies for very different purposes.
Art is a method for thinking about the impact and effects of transhumanism. I myself have come to appreciate the role of artists and speculative designers in recent years.
A few examples are:
- Joanna Grochowska
- Agi Haines
- Jonathan Armour
- Martin Sallières
- Liviu Babitz
- Moon Ribas
- Cirque du Soleil
If you have other examples, please leave a comment down below!
Joanna Grochowska is a contemporary artist exploring transhumanism and human enhancement technologies. Her work contributes to the dialogue about morphological freedom and the future. The conceptual basis of her art are the notions of Transgression and Singularity. As an artist, she defines herself as a Project.
She received the MFA from the Faculty of Media Art and Set Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw; an alumna of the Jewish Open University of Shalom Foundation, Poland.
TRANSHUMANISM exhibition is a continuation of the Opening the Future project, which was presented in Munich in 2021. The subtitle of the exhibition, based on this book by Swab and Malleret, is:
What future do we want? What must we do to get there?Transhumanism exhibition by Joanna Grochowska
Some of the inspiration for Joanna’s work comes from scholars, and transhumanism advocates, like Primo Posthuman, and the Posthuman art theory by Stefan Lorenz Sorgner.
Like the work of Natasha Vita-More, the executive director of Humanity +. Vita More originated the Primo Posthuman project, envisioning it as a design for a ‘platform-independent body.’ This concept reimagines the human shape as an optimized anthropomorphic apparatus, entirely supplanting the traditional human form.
This apparatus is envisioned as a ‘more potent, durable, and adaptable body that offers enhanced functionality and a contemporary aesthetic.’ The guiding intelligence of this device stems from a mind that has been digitized, allowing it to operate independently of any specific physical hardware.
The device is equipped with advanced features including a metabrain (enabling internet connectivity) outfitted with an artificial intelligence-enhanced neocortex and nanotechnology, smart skin capable of adjusting its color and texture in response to sunlight, equipped with biosensors, and senses that are exceptionally acute.
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner
Stefan Lorenz Sorgner’s work in posthuman art theory examines the fusion of technology and human evolution, proposing a redefined human identity in the biotech era. His perspective highlights art’s role in navigating the complex relationship between humans and technology, suggesting it as a pivotal medium for exploring our changing selves.
Sorgner’s insights push us to confront new aesthetic and ethical territories, encouraging a broader, more fluid concept of identity that embraces the merging of the organic and synthetic. This approach not only challenges conventional views of beauty and expression but also prompts a deeper consideration of our future as humans intertwined with technology, urging a reevaluation of our evolving place in the cosmos.
More about Joanna
- More information: website & Instagram
- From February 18, 2024, till March 17, 2024, you can see the exhibition at Galerie Verbeeck – Van Dyck in Antwerp, Belgium.
The English designer Agi Haines made a number of works with babies who are adapted to warmer temperatures on earth, or who have an opening in their skull to connect a cable to the brain. The picture at the top of this article is one of her works.
At the Brave New World Conference I had an interview with Agi.
The French artist Orlan has been working since 1990 on the transformation of herself [link at the bottom]. In a series of operations, a plastic surgeon slowly changes her face. She does this on the basis of five mythical female characters from art history: Mona Lisa, Diana, Psyche, Europe and Venus.
- More information: website
Watch an interview by The Guardian:
Jonathan Armour makes art inspired by the Altered Carbon books and series. I interviewed him about his work Birth Sleeves?
Martin Sallières created a futuristic design to improve the lung capacity of marathon runners. He invented an outfit with extra air sacs that are connected to the lungs [link at the bottom]. In an interview about this, he remarked: ‘I’ve copied this from birds.’
More information: Instagram
Liviu Babitz is the CEO of Cyborgs Nest. One of the projects this company is working on, is the creation of a breast implant with a compass in it. Each time the compass is facing north, the implant gives off a small vibration.
- More information: Twitter
At the Biohacker Summit 2017, I talked to Liviu about this.
Moon Ribas is a cyborg artist. She has a sensor that is connected to seismographs via a Bluetooth connection and her smartphone. If there’s an earthquake anywhere in the world, she feels it. She uses this capability in haar performances as a dancer.
Like Agi and Liviu, I also interviewed her, together with her partner Neil Harbisson.
Cirque du Soleil
The artists of Cirque du Soleil explore the possibilities of human enhancement to use in their shows. For example, one of the designers talks about ‘adding a mechanical tail to change the center of gravity.’
Watch a short item by Engadget:
In short, the possibilities of human enhancement are used or explored in all kinds of cultural and artistic expressions. The pursuit of improving our capabilities is something that has fascinated us as humanity for centuries.
Since the start of our existence as Homo Sapiens, they have been stories, myths and legends about people with Divine or superhuman capacities. We have never lost that pursuit of improvement, only the form in which we now tell is different.
Now we use computer games such as Deus Ex, books such as Frankenstein, science fiction films such as Ghost in the Shell or art like mentioned in this article.
Artist help us envision the future, so when can come up with actions and regulations to strive for that future (or prevent that scenario from happening).
This section contains additional information.
Earlier, I wrote the following articles on this theme: