“Fleshy machine.” That’s how Descartes once described the human body. Today’s biohackers and transhumanists would likely agree. For them the body is a biological machine we’re chanced to be born into, and there’s nothing to keep us from changing it, to enhance or heal, or simply on a whim.
Performance artist Stelarc sculpts a human ear on his forearm. Bilateral amputee and activist Aimee Mullins chooses her lower legs from a dozen different pairs. One man puts a camera in his eye socket, another in his fingertip. A dying man’s heart is replaced with a thrumming turbine, creating the first human to live without a pulse.
All of it shows that body isn’t just a cage. We can rebuild it. We have the technology. Welcome to the dawning age of the posthuman body.
Illustration and infographic by J. Longo