‘See Yourself X’
The human body has long been a site of action in the fields of medicine and the arts, while architecture often identifies the body as a predefined “user” to be accommodated within and around the spaces architects design. Technological and biological advancements have caught up with artistic intentions to create a body, or subject, that is increasingly diverse. It has become clear that it is not only the materials and shapes of architecture that are malleable and plastic but also the bodies that inhabit and interact with them. All of these elements are open for design, and engaging the discourse in relation to the body is more important than ever before.
Today is a conversation with Madeline Schwartzman. Some of you might be familiar with her first book ‘See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception. There she looked at artists, designers, and architects whose work explored the potential of the human body to increase sensory perception and engage material and informational signalsalready coursing through our surroundings.
Madeline has recently published a second book, See Yourself X: Human Futures Expanded, examining the human head, looking at the physical characteristics that mediate between the nervous system and the environment,
Whether artist, fashion designer, engineer, biologist, or architect, each contributor in the book approaches the human head as a “base” condition that is ripe for amplification or redefinition. The book is organized into five sections, each characterizing a different approach: “Extended,” “Analyzed,” “Clad,” “Transformed,” and “Obliterated.”. The projects address technological and social issues and investigate political pressures that exerting on the body. The organizational structure of the book is something we address in this podcast in an attempt to discuss professional disciplines, collaboration and the importance of anchoring the work in the architectural discipline.
Madeline Schwartzman is a New York City writer, filmmaker and architect whose work explores human narratives and the human sensorium through social art, book writing, curating and video making. Her book See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (Black Dog Publishing, London, 2011)—the first of a series—collects the work of artists, interaction designers, architects and scientists who speculate on the future of the human sensorium through wearables, devices, head gear and installations. Her forthcoming book See Yourself X: Human Futures Expanded (Black Dog September 2017) explores the future of the human head, using fashion, design and technology to speculate on how me might extend ourselves into space. Schwartzman is the curator of the upcoming show See Yourself E(x)ist at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery (December 7th – February 17th). She has been the guest curator of two exhibitions: Objects of Wonder at the Beall Center for Art + Technology (2016) and See Yourself Sensing at San Jose State University (2013). All three exhibitions are the result of her books, and her offshore brain—her See Yourself Sensing blog on Facebook.
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