chapter  6
24 Pages

Excess and Indifference: Alternate Body Architectures

We are living in an age of excess and indifference, of prosthetic augmentation and extended operational systems, an age of organs without bodies and of organs awaiting bodies. There is now a proliferation of biocompatible components in both substance and scale that allows technology to be attached and implanted into the body. Organs are extracted and exchanged. Organs are engineered and inserted. Blood flowing in my body today might be circulating in your body tomorrow. Ova are fertilized by sperm that was once frozen. There is now the possibility that skin cells from a female body may be re-engineered into sperm cells. The face of a donor body becomes a third face on the recipient. Limbs can be reattached or amputated from a dead body and attached to a living body. Cadavers can be preserved forever with plastination whilst comatose bodies can be sustained indefinitely on life-support systems. Cryogenically-suspended bodies await reanimation at some imagined future. The dead, the near-dead, the undead and the yet-to-be-born now exist simultaneously. This is the age of the Cadaver, the Comatose and the Chimera.