Reflection on Contemporary Body Modification

Informatics of Domination – An analytical way of breaking down the power structures that form privilege and oppression. With this knowledge, the dismantling of such inequalities is made more tangible.

Body Modification – Deliberately altering appearance or form of the human body.

Critical Design – A way of participating in design that subverts classic/traditional values, power structures, ideals.

Critical Making – The incarnation of critical design, which uses physical objects (or people) as a form of expression to challenge the status quo.

The reading definitely showed me an approach to the human body that I was not yet familiar with, and honestly still am not very comfortable with. I appreciate and have a healthy amount of amazement for how far these people are willing to go to show that the human body is available for modification way beyond the relatively tame standards held by most of the world today. In the article, it’s made clear that the term “enhancement” doesn’t exactly fit the body modifications discussed, but this process and this community are paving the way towards enhancement and augmentation that a lot of people might’ve just been ready to dismiss as science fiction.

I think it’s a very human thing to cling to what is natural and be frightened by foreign objects working inside of our body to expand us beyond normal human capabilities. It’s true that a prosthetic arm to one who lacks an arm makes a lot more sense than a prosthetic arm to one who simply desires improvement. This “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality is explored in the article as a limit of human greatness. The denial of humanity near the end of the article and the desire to be something different is a foreign mindset to me that I can understand but honestly would rather try not to. These people who practice and develop such body modification are left unsatisfied with simply being human, and seek a level of capability and functionality far beyond what is deemed as rational in today’s society.