Daedalus or Viri et Machina

Posted on: May 8, 2017
Views: 2634


In 1957 evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley provided the first definition of Transhumanism: "Man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature." Sixty years later, the term has become synonymous with the future of our evolution-becoming post-human by assimilating advanced technology into our bodies. However, talk of enhanced natural abilities resulting from the combination of man and machine can overshadow the human part of becoming post-human. Using garments enhanced with tech like sensors, servo motors, and LEDs to represent an enhanced body, my work in "Daedalus or Viri et Machina" aims to analyze what it means to be human in a post-human world. I am interested in how enhancement will change fundamental aspects of our nature, specifically communication and social intimacy. By designing interactive textiles that react to the human touch, I can create a representation of future body enhancements. However, the collection still holds Huxley's words, "man remaining man" at its center. The inherent importance of the person who has assimilated the technology into their body is emphasized through sheer windows in the garments, revealing the human figure underneath.

Justin Desper

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BFA Alumni

Major: Textile & Fashion Design

Graduation Year: 2017

Artist Statement:

In the most basic of terms, my proverbial canvas is the human body. However, while a painter aims to cover their canvas, I choose to celebrate mine. Unlike a simple canvas, the individuals who wear my creations live rich, intricate lives, that for a brief moment I get to be a part of. I create every piece as an extension of the body it adorns, therefore my garments are only complete when they are on a person. However, I prefer to reject the label of fashion designer. In my mind, fashion is a loaded word with connotations of trends, marketability, and superficiality. Instead, I choose to concern myself with explorations of shape, form, and function. Through these explorations, my work undergoes changes that parallel the evolutionary steps of living organisms. I am at my happiest when my work takes on a life of its own, at which point it is no longer just my decision to continue to explore and push forward–the work itself begins to demand it. For my creations, it is a constant game of adapt or die, if a piece fails to hold my attention or stretch my boundaries, it must be revised or abandoned altogether.

I find endless inspiration in the world around me. Living things, technology, and science all compel me to create. If I stop creating my thoughts become clouded and I feel lost, in that way I am not so different from the creatures I take my inspiration from. We all share an instinctual need to press on.