Theriomorphous Cyborg

Allison Guy
August 31st 2011

The Animal Architecture Awards have just announced the winners of their 2011 contest. Taking first place is Simone Ferracina's Theriomorphous Cyborg, a (speculative) augmented reality game inspired by Jacob von Uexküll's notion of the animal umwelt. Not truly architectural, Theriomorphous Cyborg instead shifts how a human participant relates to space and the landscape. Each level in the free-form game takes the player through different modes that relate to the sensory capacities of various animals. Ferracina writes:

"Inspired by migratory birds and their ability to perceive the Earth’s magnetism, LEVEL 1 superimposes the participant’s field of vision with an additional signal consisting of directional color patterns. The gamer learns to navigate space according to his/her own magnetic compass."

Once the participant has mastered one form of perception, she advances to more outlandish experiments with vision and navigation. Level 3 essentially blinds the player, and replaces his vision with the feed from a series of hacked CCTV cameras. Level 6 covers up billboards with images of bee-friendly flowers. A mouthpiece morphs the user's words into animal noises, robbing her of the ability to communicate with language. By imagining an animalistic version of future devices, Theriomorphous Cyborg presents a trippy, compelling alternative to the assumption that all technology must be anthropocentric.

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Lisa Mandemaker: Using an artificial womb could lead to more equality between sexes, but also between different family layouts. If men would be able to give birth to children, it would maybe be easier for male same-sex couples to have a child together.

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