Rob Spence’s right eye gently glows red. When he was nine, the eye was injured by a shotgun bullet. In his mid-thirties, the remaining eye tissued eventually needed to be excised and in its place, he installed a video camera.
He is one of a growing number of people who are considered “transhuman,” Wired UK reports. For organization Humanity+, transhumanism is “a multidisciplinary approach in analyzing the dynamic interplay between humanity and the acceleration of technology.” For people like Rob Spence, it means replacing what has been lost, albeit imperfectly, with technology.
Spence is one of the subjects by photographer David Vintiner. Together with art director Gem Fletcher, the duo has created Transhuman. The photo series documents what it means to be a Cyborg. Their subjects include people who use experimental bionic arms that are less functional and more aesthetically motivated.
Another interesting body hack is Neil Harbisson who was born color-blind. His skull implants, with a sensor hanging over his face like an angler’s fish light bulb, allow him to hear colors.
PSFK first met Harbisson in 2013, where he spoke in that year’s PSFK conference. On the stage, he talked about the sensor which back then conducted the sounds through his bone. He also discussed taking the body hack further by undergoing surgery to implant the device in his skull.
Many of these technologies have been developed by bedroom inventors, often by the transhumans themselves. They could be as simple as magnetic implants in Rin Rauber, which allows her to feel electromagnetic vibrations and pick up spoons and forks without having to move her fingers.
Wearable technology, such as smartwatches, may be viewed as transhumanist. These devices were designed to improve our lives, either by recording otherwise invisible parameters or creating a unique way for our bodies to experience data (through vibrations or actuators). But in Transhuman, you get to see a completely different breed of people who try to join together human anatomy and technology.
Lead Image: Neil Harbisson at PSFK 2013