Design for life

25 11 2008

Not just in plastic surgery new technology and techniques find place. They can also find application where operations could not arrive, where skin manipulations, implants are not enough. I’m talking about people with serious mutilation at their arts or other disabilities who, thanks to the right mix of technology and design, now have the possibility to feel not too much different from other people including the chance to run, play, jumping at the highest level despite the clear physical lack. Here are some example of these extraordinary people.

ap106579112606163957_big1Oscar Pistorius-Athlete

atleta-disabile-su-monosci-in-marmoladaAtleta disabile su monosci

hockeyHockey su ghiaccio

In this last picture each athlet has a particular device projected for his own particular disability.


Performing bodies

22 11 2008

Now i’m going through  a particular category of art, always related to the body, but i think with much bigger impact on other people than the techniques shown before.The category of performing bodies. It is often something extreme.

The principal expressive mean used for this artistic genre of course is the human body. It is used to set up extemporary events accompanied by music, scenography, actions and gestures. Body art makes the body the absolute protagonist considering it subject and object of the artistic expression, exhibiting it as work of art. There is the will to provoke, to shake convinctions and belief about art.

The body is here used by different artist in different ways but Lea Vergine talks about different common characteristics. “the lost of identity, the refusion of reality prevalence on the emotional sphere, the romantic rebellion from something or sombody’ s dipendence, the absence (and the related anguish) of an adult form of love. Often in these actions the author is obsessed in working in function of the others, toward the pursuit of a not oppressed by functionalism reality.

“Unlocked the productive forces of unconsciousness, in a continuous hysterical dramatization – conflict between desire and defense, between license and banned content, between latent and manifested content, between impulses of life and death, including Voyer and exhibitionism, between sadistic tendencies and masochistic pleasure, including destructive fantasies and catharticness, are trigged. “


Two stage transfer drawing by Dennis Oppenheim-1971

“As I run a marker along Eric’s s back he attempts to duplicate the movement on the wall.
My activity stimulates a kinetic response from his sensory system. I am, therefore, Drawing Through Him”

“Rhytm 10” Marina Abramovich-1973

In her first performance Abramović explored elements of ritual and gesture. Making use of ten knives and two tape recorders, the artist played the Russian game in which rhythmic knife jabs are aimed between the splayed fingers of her hand. Each time she cut herself, she would pick up a new knife from the row of ten she had set up, and recorded the operation.

After cutting herself ten times, she replayed the tape, listened to the sounds, and tried to repeat the same movements, attempting to replicate the mistakes, merging together past and present. She set out to explore the physical and mental limitations of the body – the pain and the sounds of the stabbing, the double sounds from the history and from the replication. With this piece, Abramovic began to consider the state of consciousness of the performer. “Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do.”The only limit is the loss of consciousness. If you loose it, you can not perform anymore.

The body is obsolete-Stelarc

Body art: painting

17 11 2008

Body painting is considered between the more beautiful forms of art. Differently from other body art forms like tattoing, branding or piercing, body painting is temporary. It consists in painting the body or part of it using naturals pigments such as hennè or acrilichs. The duration may change according to the used pigments. For instance if you used hennè, it could last 1 or 2 weeks, while using other colours like tempera it could last only few hours. During the centuries body painting has been often used with tattooing or body modifications for the most various pourposes: ceremonies, aestethics, sexuals and so on. It is a way of masking and transforming you into something different, a different way to have fun and confront.




Body art: branding

13 11 2008

Branding is the process that consist in pressing a hot item, a piece of metal with particular shape, into the flesh so that it makes a serious burn and then a permanent scar.

The origin of branding is dued to the ancient habit of marking animals and slaves to demonstrate their submission or being somebody’s property during Egiptians and Romans Ages.

In other countries, such as France and England, branding was used for marking heretics and criminals until the end of the XVIII century.

Branding was then recovered in United States during the XX century by university brotherhoods, especially the ones with black predominance, to show the belonging to those. Still now sport champions like Michael Jordan and Emmith Smith have the greek letter of the brotherhoods indelebly marked into their skin.

In recent years, however, branding has been used in ornamental way, but even in the libertine Netherland this practice is still forbidden. Because of this branding is not yet widely widespread but surely growing.



Body art: scarification

12 11 2008

In the U.S., scarification emerged in San Francisco as part of a new body-modification movement in the mid-1980’s. “It was originally embraced by gay and lesbian subcultures”, said Victoria Pitts, a sociology professor at the CIty New York University.




Over the last eight years, Pitts said, “scarification has become remarkably widespread in the U.S., Australia and across Europe, from London to Prague”. Scarification is done either by cutting repeatedly with a scalpel, using a cauterizing tool, or by ’strike branding,’ which is much like cattle branding. After cleaning the area and stenciling on the design, the artist begins cutting or burning the skin until reaching the right depth and width. “It can take 15 minutes, but I’ve also done pieces that took eight hours over two days.” said Ryan Ouellette, a body-modification artist.

There are several reasons for the growing popularity of scarification. Pitts feels that it’s partly owed  to a nostalgia for a different type of society.


“Industrial consumerist cultures are becoming more interested in what they might call primitive societies.” she said. “That’s not wholly new.The romantic idea of the exotic ethnies dates back to colonial times”, she said. “Someone stuck in L.A. traffic, wearing a tribal tattoo, has a cultural nostalgia for something we imagine we’ve lost.” Pitts said. “The problem is that we’re taking it upon ourselves to represent a whole range of indigenous cultures in ways that they may not agree with — or may violate sacred spiritual ritual.” Some scarify merely to be different. “Tattooing has become old hat.” Hemingson said. “If you want to be on the cutting edge — and want to set yourself apart — you can do tongue splitting or scarification.” Pitts argues that body modification is not really so strange within a culture where identity is often expressed through appearance — which in mainstream society includes fashion consumption, cosmetic surgery, and botox.

Body art: body piercings and tattoos

10 11 2008

If this could be considered art, a way to express yourself or if it is just complete madness is up to you. I think also critics would say that although they are often known as people who love this kynd of strange things. I can only say this is an extreme way of designing your body and a way of automatic exclusion of yourself from any possibility of socialization in the “normal” world.




Just to be clear: these are not strange Halloween masks!


Here is the category of body piercings and tattoos for symbolical, devotional, religious matter.

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival widely celebrated in Malaysia.Thai refers to the Tamil month of Thai in January and February. Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival honors Subrahmanya — also known as Murugan — the Son of Shiva and Parvati who defeated a demon with a spear.

The devotees walk carrying various types of kavadi (burdens), and pots of milk on their heads. But mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common while in a trance.



Body art

10 11 2008

General view

Body art is art made on, with, or consisting of, the human body. The most common forms of body art are tattos and body piercings, but other types include sacrification, branding, scalpelling, shaping (for example tight-lacing of corsets), full body tattoos and body painting (the less invasive form).

More extreme body art can involve things such as mutilation or pushing the body to its physical limits. For example, one of Marina Abramovic’s works involved dancing until she collapsed from exhaustion, while one of Dennis Oppenheim’s better-known works saw him lying in the sunlight with a book on his chest, until his skin, excluding that covered by the book, was badly sunburned.


Reading position for second degree burn, Dennis Oppenheim 1970

Body art is also a sub-category of performance art, in which artists use or abuse their own body to make their particular statements.

In more recent times, body became a subject of much broader discussions and treatments that cannot be reduced to the body art in its common understanding. Important strategies that question the human bodyimplants, body in symbiosis with the new technologies, virtual body etc. A special case of the body art strategies is the absence of body.