Hacking the Body : Body Enhancement and the Construction of the Envisioned Future

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: Booth 66
Oral Presentation
Bárbara NASCIMENTO DUARTE , Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Strasbourg, Brazil
This paper concerns the movement defined as “Body Hacktivism”, whose goal is to unite hacking, body modification and activism. The body hacking is a current whose enthusiasts are found in different places in Europe and the Americas, and are connected through a network. The voluntary and experimental approach of the “Body Hacktivism” has as extension the creation of new devices that can be added and interacted with the body. For instance, the implant of R.F.I.D. microchips under human skin, subcutaneous magnetic implants which take the form of metal pieces whose main interest is to react to waves and electromagnetic fields, replacement of skin parts by titanium plates that can be used as a receptacle for various components, and also the explorations of sexuality by the creation of virtual and physical reality convergence in the metaverse. These artists’ experience and their mise en scène of the self in the context of body modification is usually accompanied of a political discourse, that claims the individual’s right to his/her own body. The existence of these discourses has decisive power in forming and unforming conceptions of the future body, excluding and including possibilities. If for the body hackers the future exists first in imagination, their next step is the willingness to make it real through experiments, opening the possibility to make their futuristic dreams become reality. Our line of thinking reconceptualizes “body” in terms of assemblages, relations, practices and distributes agency and knowledge across heterogeneous materials. The Body Hacktivism is actively challenging long-held normative beliefs about what bodies do, what they should look like and how they should behave. They are not only pushing the boundaries of their own bodies, but are explicitly challenging the very definition of nature, culture, and technology.