Reshaping the Body

Changing the body, its shape, its color, even its gender is becoming acceptable in contemporary society; the roots of this inevitably go back further than we would imagine. Many cultures have long traditions of surgically changing the sex organs, for ritual or social purposes, or of performing dramatic reshaping of other body parts.

Although many of these examples can be shocking from our current perspective, we can think of extreme body modifiers as potential “early adopters,” and in the same way that tattoos and piercing have become an everyday fashion statement today, perhaps these more extreme modifications will become normalized eventually. A Terminator-style robotic eye projecting scarily from your head might be just seen as a cool accessory 20 years from now, especially if it plugs you in constantly to the grid and means you never need to miss a tweet or a Facebook status update.

The Future of Body Decoration

What would the embeddable version of Facebook be like? We can maybe see some premonition of it in a recent advertising stunt in Japan in which young women were paid to have advertising displayed on their skin; a few rather foolhardy individuals have even agreed to have brand logos tattooed on their bodies. No doubt some clever marketing company in the future will persuade people to plaster themselves with advanced OLED films and spray their hair with nanoparticles that can change color, the pixel becoming molecular.

In this perhaps quite unappealing future we lease our skin to advertisers who can display their latest products and services across the surfaces of our bodies. Animated soda jets shooting up your chest, and tropical holiday montages rippling across your back. Sponsored narcissism!

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