Transfigurations: Let’s Design People

Daniel Fraga
November 17th 2015

Plastic artist Agi Haines explores, in her series titled Transfigurations, a few hypothetical scenarios for surgically implanted body enhancements in babies. These enhancements aim to improve the life of the baby as it grows up.

Designs range from a baby whose cheeks were enlarged in order to absorb greater amounts of caffeine, upon reaching adult life - being thus better equipped to work longer hours in a high stress career - to another baby, whose scalp skin was augmented to better dissipate heat in a warmer world.

Haines looks at the human body as a subject matter for design; our skin, our bones and our organisms are "designable" - and our lives can be made better through it. This sort of physical features are the sort that we would expect to see happen over millions of years of evolution - but in this work, they happen through human agency. We could say that Transfigurations is about artificial selection through design. The goal of this "evolution" is not to better adapt man to nature, but to next nature - to a world made by us, but that has a life of its own.

Check out Transfigurations and Agi Haines' website.

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Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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