Taking body art to another level

September 14, 2018

Talk about “a body of work.” In a Manhattan showroom this past week, an art installation called A. Human—scheduled to coincide with New York Fashion Week and run through the end of this month—shows a future in which clothes have been replaced by body modifications.

Created by the fictional designer A. Huxley—with real-life help from the group of international freethinkers, called The Society of the Spectacle, and immersive theater director Michael Counts—the exhibit is meant for those who are “woke” or would like to be. The group promises, “It will shock you. It will provoke you. A. Human will blow your mind. Are you bold enough to experience it?”

According to a September 13 report by The Verge, the installation features both live models and mannequins—with lifelike pieces affixed to human flesh. Take, for example, the “biological heel” series, which is displayed on a live model—but looks exactly as if her feet have been through surgery to create a three-inch-tall, biological heel similar to the “high-heeled shoes” that woman wear today. It is uncomfortable to view, but visitors cannot takes their eyes off it.

 The space, which starts as a dim, earthy room filled with wooden boxes and dirt, then segues into bright, mirror-filled corridors. Near the beginning, The Verge reports, you can find pieces like the “Tudor,” a ruff collar seemingly made of flesh and displayed on a man buried up to his neck in soil.

Loop back around, and there’s the “Pinnacle,” a pair of raised shoulder horns whose live model gazes blankly into a mirrored wall.

For a break from the body-mod fashion, you can duck into a room that’s been turned into a grotto with a beating heart; or pose in a large ring made of stylized, grasping human hands. On your way out, you can customize a heart and print it on a T-shirt, ostensibly as a way to test out a new coronary implant before buying it.

The Society’s founder Simon Huck sees the exhibit as an opening to a conversation. “We want everyone to kind of walk out the door like, yes, you take your fun photo, and yes, it’s— we hope—an exciting experience,” he told The Verge in a brief interview. “But the question we want to ask is, if you could change your body as easily as you change your clothing, would you?”

General admission to the show is $28, with tickets available online only. Bring your ID—and arrive promptly for the half-hour slot that you have purchased.

Research contact: general@societyofspectacle.com

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