Influence: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy

February 29, 2012

I’ve decided to try something new here; given that lately I’ve had difficulty finding time for research writeups and been increasingly locked into production itself it seemed a slightly different approach might be in order.

Up till now I’ve largely written about films, comics and other illustrative sources in a kind of review style which has been stimulating and a lot of fun, it has however proven to also be quite time-consuming. I’ve looked at a lot of sources which have influenced my artwork and storytelling but often not had time to acknowledge them properly as I felt obligated to do a lengthy analysis or nothing at all.

To change things up a bit I thought I might do a few smaller summaries of ‘influences’ giving a concise rundown on exactly what I like about them, why they’re relevant and what I should take from them. I’m not going to stop doing longer reviews altogether, but this way I can cover a lot more material and prevent embarrassing periods of inactivity on my blog.

So, without further ado…

What is it?

Hellboy Volume 1 (Library Edition) containing Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil; a rather generous Christmas present from a good friend. I’d heard lots of other big names in comics talk about Mignola’s work but previously my only real exposure to it had been through the brilliant (though sadly unsuccessful) TV pilot to The Amazing Screw-On Head.

What do I like about it?

Lots. Admittedly the story and characters are a little too dry for my tastes to begin with but it’s quickly made up for by bold artwork, strong atmosphere and a quirky sense of humour. Similar to Miller’s approach with Sin City, Mignola’s art style creates dramatic images that are in many ways remarkably simple; what it lacks in detail it compensates for with eye-popping contrast of ink black shadow and colour with strong composition. Special mention should additionally go to the memorable character designs and use of typography too.

How is it relevant to my own work?

Being placed firmly within the fantasy genre thematically there isn’t much relevance to a cyberpunk comic, on the other hand, stylistically I found a great deal to draw upon. While the visuals seem to have more of a gothic than noir lean, they adhere closely to the idea of ‘less is more’ with details tending to be minimal or abstract. Almost every scene is bathed in pitch black shadow with emphasis upon highlights and silhouettes, nurturing a brooding atmosphere and fitting sense of lurking danger. Handled differently it might have appeared clumsy and incoherent but Mignola always knows exactly what to exaggerate and what to hide.

What Hellboy demonstrates is that not seeing everything can result in imagery that is not only economical but more distinct and eye-catching than a cluttered maximalist approach creates in many cases – suggestion rather than rigid visual explanation if you will. Being so understated the art doesn’t always amaze on an obvious level perhaps but it’s always clear, streamlined and effective.

Pulling Faces: The Art of Paddy Hartley

February 23, 2012

I must admit recently I had lost track of the college’s lecture programme, having missed a fair number of talks under the assumption they were on hiatus before learning they’d restarted again. We’ve previously had some very interesting and inspirational speakers from a wide variety of mediums and last week’s was no exception.

I felt  Paddy Hartley (or ‘Patrick Ian Hartley’ as he’s sometimes known) was worth at least a brief mention here as his work stems from interests in body modification that are comparable to my own. As his website puts it, the majority of the art’s focus is on ‘the way in which the human body is changed, modified and reconfigured either by choice or circumstance’ – unintentionally or otherwise, it certainly has a post-human ring to it.

Originally commissioned a decade ago for an exhibition ‘Short Cuts To Beauty‘ at London’s V&A Museum, the striking ‘face corsets’ pictured above and below were made by Hartley in response to a variety of inspirations. Besides projecting a grotesque parody of cosmetic procedures and ways they lift and reshape the flesh he revealed a deeper, more scientific dimension to his work aswell; as part of his research into the project he worked with a biomaterials scientist Dr Ian Thompson, specifically learning about ‘bioactive glass’ and its use replacing damaged parts of the skull due to its remarkably bonding properties with organic matter.

What’s most interesting about all this is that it was a genuine collaboration with benefits to both sides. Hartley learned a lot about facial reconstruction and anatomy from Dr Thompson, however Dr Thompson was reputedly able to refine the casting of implants and further the field generally thanks to Hartley’s expertise in molding techniques. Having ruminated on the possibility of science doubling as art in my Power of Making write-up this certainly makes another strong case for it.

Considering the visual impact of these pieces on a purely visceral level I get an odd sense of conflict. There’s something mildly disturbing, even intimidating about them but in another way they’re actually quite beautiful; despite having no idea how to work a sewing machine when he initially embarked on the project they display a high level of refinement and thought in their design and construction while apparently being rather durable to boot – they’ve even made it through wind tunnels intact!

It seems to me that this conflict extends to the various contexts they’ve been used in aswell; besides garnering artistic acclaim in recent years the corsets have made a rather sizable splash in the fashion world, while Hartley also begrudgingly admitted they’d attracted fetishistic interests he’d rather have avoided. It could be that this diversity in interested parties and applications tells us something about the diversity in reasoning for and connotations attached to body modification generally. Just as one surgical implant might save a person’s life another may be there for altogether more aesthetical reasons.

In line with this, the talk took on a far more serious tone when he discussed one of his other projects ‘Facade’.  Similar to the other collaboration he worked with The Gillies Archives (named after the pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Harold Gillies) focusing on the ‘untold stories‘ of WW1 soldiers who’d suffered severe facial disfigurements. The final pieces (below) integrate photographs of the men in question alongside messages from their letters with replica army, naval and airforce uniforms.

The masks in particular are a unique touch, with fabric representing the servicemen’s injuries and the then cutting edge processes used to reconstruct their faces. Hartley didn’t elaborate on the exact reasoning behind this design but for me at least it seemed to emphasise the process of repair and replacing what was lost – something my own graphic holds at the heart of its themes.

As a part of all this, he insisted on showing photographs, drawings and diagrams of the men he’d based these outfits on and as much as it shames me to say it I had a hard time looking at many of them. I don’t consider myself particularly squeamish nor am I one to judge on appearances, but seeing such traumatic injuries and thinking about the pain they’d suffered was something I found surprisingly affecting. More than anything, I just felt angry with myself for having this response; given my subject matter can I really justify horror and disgust towards disfigurement and reconstruction when it’s at the heart of my own story?

It’s true that Branch is predominantly populated by characters who’ve already undergone a procedure for cyborg modification and replacements, while for many it’s meant to have been a voluntary rather than necessary decision. Regardless, after seeing historical examples of surgical repairs I feel as though I may not have attached enough weight to the issues I’m tackling.

Besides his aesthetics, if there’s one thing I should definitely take from Paddy Hartley’s work it’s the importance of being able to face the seemingly unpleasant with an open mind rather than revulsion and a blind eye. I might be working in science fiction, but I’d do well to remind myself from time to time of the realities that underpin the ideas and very real people who live them.

Science as Art?: The Power of Making

January 14, 2012

Having been in London over the new year, on a whim I visited an exhibition ‘Power of Making’ on its last day at the V&A. Featuring an eclectic array of modern objects including traditional craft, robots, designer lingerie and – most notably in my case – prosthetics, initially I felt so enthused by what I’d seen I’d intended to write about it fresh off the train. That was until the work in waiting collapsed on me when I got home…

Fortunately however I took some detailed notes, so even while my inspiration may have lost some steam in the past few weeks, I only had to open my pad to find it again.

Entering, the eye is immediately drawn to Michael T Rea’s A prosthetic Suit for Stephen Hawking with Japanese Steel (below) a fittingly bizarre construction for a bizarre title. In terms of design it bears resemblance to the power loader from Aliens or an anime style mecha but what really stands out is the fact it’s made of wood. The sort of object we would normally expect to have a metallic production line sheen suddenly adopts an unexpectedly DIY quality, a garden chair dimension that makes it feel more ornamental than it would have in steel or iron.

Following this line of thought, perhaps the intention in using such unexpected building materials was  to make an otherwise impressive creation obviously ridiculous. The title suggestion of Stephen Hawking using this suit in place of his wheelchair is amusingly extreme but also appears to be pointing a finger at the excesses of science fiction, emphasising the gap between the realities of modern machinery and the romanticism of its fictional counterparts. In spite of the obvious lavish care that has gone into its construction, I suspect the motives behind ‘suit’ could be more pessimistic than they seem; expressing disappointment rather enthrallment over the development of technology to date. In other words: where the hell are the androids and flying cars we were promised?!

Contrastingly though there was also a great deal of very real technology on display. Strolling by the unsettling gaze of some artificial eyes I stumbled upon a familiar object:

I wrote about the i-Limb Pulse prosthetic in a previous post and indeed, it was an unexpected delight to see a real one in the gallery. With each finger visibly powered by a separate motor and the apparent dexterity to do up a belt or shoelaces, its marvel is made all the more impressive in light of how recent such developments are; according to the accompanying information (and my own research) prior to 2007 prosthetic hands were typically three-fingered claws, with the same basic pinching action for every task. To have such massive breakthrough’s in the field from this and the Deka ‘Luke arm’ promises much for the future, with the advanced cyborgs of SF not being so far off after all.

Beyond practical and humanitarian prospects though, the i-limb’s presence in the exhibition sparked another interesting thought: can science and its connected technologies be considered art?

The porcelain eye patch above from ProAesthetics designed by Damian O’Sullivan was on display along with a crutch of similarly decorative design. As the name and image implies this was originally intended to make typically sterile prosthetics and assists more aesthetically pleasing by introducing decorative qualities, however the accompanying notation explained they were never put into production being deemed too impractical and having outgrown their function.

From my perspective these objects did seem ostentatious, but why is that the case? Why exactly are more artistic or culturally refined qualities deemed inappropriate in the supplementation of injury or disability? Are we simply conditioned to expect utilitarian design in such areas or does it arise from some deeper psychological impulse relating to the context of damage or dysfunction? Why does it seem strange to decorate an eye patch but not a tea set?

Their presence in the exhibition solidifies their status as art but seemingly moves them away from serious use enforcing the idea of a divide between application and decoration, but there are other ways the matter might be approached.

The ‘Hexapod’ robots (above) from Micromagic Systems were busy shuffling around a corner of exhibition in their distinctly eccentric manner, their Johnny 5 eyes creating a sense of amusement rather than Terminatoresque foreboding. Regardless, they have impressive applications that could potentially change much in the near future; fitted with interchangeable toolheads and capable of repair or fabrication tasks in awkward places, as the placard put it they ‘promise a world in which factory-style production roams the earth’.

Continuing in this vein, nearby there was also a row of advanced 3D printers; technology which may well become readily available to the common household in years to come with the idealised vision being ‘a machine with the potential to make itself’. If the Hexapods promise a world of roaming factory production, what if these printers promised an industrial revolution within the household? What’s more, suppose such printers came into widespread use of artists in construction of their work? Even if there is a firm divide between technology and art, couldn’t we say that they are interlinked regardless? Sewing machines, pencils, brushes and camera’s may not be appearing on pedestals but they still play an important part in the creation of art. Perhaps this is the ‘power of making’ that the exhibition title itself speaks of.

The lines are ultimately pretty blurry on which of our creations qualify as art and which don’t, which are a boon to human causes and which are a blight but I firmly believe that it is this inherent duality, this sense of contradiction which fascinates and compels so many of us to pursue and develop these inventions. Perhaps it was the show’s most startling juxtaposition which spoke loudest and most clearly of this;  a glass case containing a pair of objects, both beautifully hand crafted, both of similar size, both a similar composition of metal piping with completely polarised applications.

A flute and a shotgun.

Do My Cables Look Big in This?: Cyberfashion

December 16, 2011

When I met with the college’s lead fashion tutor last week for advice on character design and clothing, you may recall there was a degree of disagreement. Nevertheless, while I might have been at odds with some suggestions on reflection I found that many of the criticisms rang true. As is often the case with the project I’ve been completely sucked into certain areas while I’ve neglected others – fashion being one of them.

Conveniently and somewhat kindly, Lucy Markham – a fellow MA student – offered to meet up and provide another fashion perspective on my project. Doing so yesterday she threw a number of interesting research ideas my way, but most pertinently she highlighted an obvious area I’ve completely overlooked; besides being a genre, cyberpunk is also a subculture fashion.

To date I’ve been drawing most of my clothing concepts from the early 1940’s in order to connect with genre roots in film noir and detective fiction of the era, which was certainly a better move than falling back on SF clichés. Still, what’s becoming strongly apparent as I progress is the need for variety and range in the character’s appearances; not everyone can wear a suit, tie, trench coat or gown. In order to create a genuinely immersive environment I need to draw upon a broader set of influences.

Having been lead to a number of specialist websites in ‘cyber’ clothing (thanks Lucy!) I’ve spent the last day or so exploring what the internet has to offer, being the most immediate and up to date source for this kind of niche. Indeed, there’s a bigger market for this kind of stuff than I knew, but before I go into the examples which I found useful its important to explain a couple of issues regarding the ones I didn’t.

First of all: cybergoths.

No offence to them or anything. In fiction gothic can work marvelously with more traditional cyberpunk stylings – the work of Tsutomu Nihei being one of the best examples I can think of – still I struggle to find relevance for it in my own project. I’ve tried to remain careful of tone and consistency in Branch’s design and frankly the romanticized nature of gothic influences seems a poor fit for the kind of cynical used future I have in mind. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of inadvertent gothic touches – one scene near the end of the script comes to mind – but I doubt it will ever become a major influence.

Additionally, while it’s uncommon I noticed a few instances of steampunk and cyberpunk being mixed up or similarly combined. Again, a heavily romanticized genre which elaborates on historical possibilities rather than future ones. Again, largely irrelevant to my own work.

My second set of disregarded sources present a larger problem with cyberfashion: genre awareness.

As illustrated by the lady above cyberfashion often plays on cyberpunk themes and iconography, integrating circuitry, parts of machinery and a typically industrial vibe. In reality I find this to be pretty cool, but in a fictional context it becomes more problematic.

The issue is motive. As a real life fashion people adopt the look in order to be idiosyncratic and possibly to reflect adoration of the cyberpunk genre, whereas within cyberpunk fiction a character’s dress will typically reflect the world they live in lacking the self-awareness the former has. To put it another way: in Branch, would characters bother with superfluous circuit patterning and nods to fictional cyborgs when they are already cyborgs themselves? In the end the result would be a broken fourth wall and a loss of immersion.

Excluding these subcategories what I’m left with is a more muted collection of what might be called industrial punk. Suddenly integrating such a thing with 1940’s influences might normally seem like an impulsive move, but looking over my backlog I realized that hints of it may inadvertently already be present. Perhaps it’s from the 80’s/early 90’s SF influence Lynn criticised but touches of punk do permeate the more restrained noir era clothing. Heck, the security guard who appears on pages 9 to 11 was at least partially inspired by a cyborg henchman from Tetsuo II:

Other things like Curt’s decidedly punkish hairstyle arose incidentally from random design ideas and character quirks, still, all the more reason to directly acknowledge the references and research them properly. So without further ado let’s look at some of the research examples that did work for me and talk about why they work:

The trousers pictured above – the first two taken from, the last from – appealed to me thanks to restraint in design compared with most others (e.g. no ridiculous chains, no manskirt, no tribal script down the side etc). Yes there’s still a fair amount of goth exaggeration to the boots, but otherwise things are nice and simple. They have a hard-wearing look probably taken from worker’s gear and while the straps and rivets are fairly redundant they have aesthetic appeal without being over the top. The tool holster on the last image is also a neat addition, further emphasising a sense of functionality with a sort of engineering/technical edge.

Again taken from crisiswear and again striking for its simplicity, I like this cowl because it’s not too over the top. It’s undeniably decorative rather than functional but projects a sense of functionality through inclusion of facets from working clothes; again straps and rivets (beginning to see a pattern here?). It looks like it was made for a practical purpose, even if it’s not.

This aviator’s jacket from isn’t too different in most respects from its everday counterpart, however the ‘V’ which wraps over makes a bold visual statement without obliterating the garments basis. I also can’t help thinking this may have been influenced by the folding design of Japanese kimonos which brings me to my last example and closing thoughts.

I selected the above ‘spiral out’  here from NerveDamage because it shows a very different side to cyberfashion. Unlike the previous three examples this outfit eschews muted blacks and dark blues and adopts eye searing neon. It’s flamboyant rather than functional, being purely aesthetic. More than anything though these colours, the general design and hairstyle all remind me of the wilder designs for characters in Japanese manga and anime.

Following this line of thought I’ve decided to redesign my character Sasaki with more of a cyberfashion slant. This is partially to provide a sort of prototype to try applying these influences to, while unlike much of my cast she hasn’t been shown in the comic yet giving me freedom to tinker. However, the main reason is that in retrospect she strikes me as a missed opportunity; as a play on Japan’s otaku it seems a shame not to capitalise on the parallels between cyberfashion’s manga/anime influenced designs and the characters ethnicity/basis. Putting aside dysfunctional characteristics she’s also one of the cast’s only truly upbeat personalities whereas the current design conversely seems drab and uninspired. Much of my character design has been relatively formal and muted but if there’s appropriate subject for something a little wilder, it’s Sasaki.

I can’t say how successful this new design direction will be, but hopefully by experimenting on a small-scale first I can get a sense of how well it  meshes with my existing universe and be able to apply it with greater confidence to the wider setting.

Thematic Research: The Cyborg

November 15, 2011

I got my folders back today along with my submission essay for last module, so I figured I might post part of it here for the hell of it. I didn’t want to put it up before as it was still being marked – eep – but the blog’s been feeling a little light on theory stuff lately and some of the research I covered was pretty interesting  – well if you’re as much of a nerd as me that is ;)

Bits of it retread older territory and it is part of a larger whole, but hopefully it should standup on it’s own. It’s a little longer than what I usually post so I’ve thrown some pictures in to break it up a little and added a few additional links for good measure.


During a trip to London in July, I happened to visit the British Library and their ‘Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it’ exhibition running at the time. By the entry, visitors were met with an introductory statement: ‘The imaginary worlds of science fiction can inspire us to re-examine our own world.’ Besides being an apt summary of what I respect about the genre as whole it is of particular pertinence to what I’ve discovered of cyberpunk and its subject cyborg technologies in my research.

The term ‘cyborg’ itself was coined by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline in 1960 in their proposal for an enhanced astronaut able to survive in space without an externalised oxygen environment.*1 However this is predated by the term ‘cybernetics’ – frequently used in description of the latter – coined in 1948 by Norbert Weiner, broadly covering a ‘unified science of communications and control theory’ the more startling detail being that it was devised for an anti-aircraft predictor.*2 It’s between worryingly militaristic origins such as these and idealistic intentions of Clynes and Kline that the dual potential of the cyborg in both fiction and reality is most readily apparent; and it is a duality which I too wish to explore through my comic ‘Branch’.          

On the other side of the fact/fiction divide the cyborg tends to be characterised by considerably more extreme representations but it is a divide which is by no means impermeable. To cite one recent example I might draw attention to the Terminator statue inside Deka Research Corp and the referencing of Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand from Star Wars in the naming of their prosthetic limb.*3 Inevitably fiction influences reality and reality influences fiction.

It’s a concept used as a basis for Donna Haraway’s seminal Cyborg Manifesto (1991) to communicate the potentially liberating or crippling consequences of our future technology. As she puts it Contemporary science fiction is full of cyborgs – creatures simultaneously animal and machine, who populate worlds ambiguously natural and crafted.’ (Haraway, 1991, p149). While, the cyborg described here is a fictional being, the ‘ambiguously natural and crafted’ world might be a succinct way of describing our own and as such reflects her additional use of the cyborg as a metaphor for our technologically driven society. With the literal cyborg inherently being composed of both natural and artificial components, a key question Haraway and many like her pose is whether this constitutes a legitimate continuation of human evolution or a perverse deviation. Even as she praises the possibility the concept offers for ‘regeneration’ she also refers to it being ‘monstrous’.*4

Again, in reference to science fiction she makes an analogy of the cyborg’s inevitable otherness and disconnection to the humanity of old:

‘Unlike the hopes of Frankenstein’s monster, the cyborg does not expect its father to save it through a restoration of the garden; that is, through the fabrication of a heterosexual mate, through its completion in a finished whole, a city and cosmos. The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust (…) But illegitimate offspring are often exceedingly unfaithful to their origins. Their fathers, after all, are inessential.’

(Haraway, 1991, page 151)

While on some level it might seem illogical, it’s this contradiction which makes the human-machine meld such a compelling concept. The text emphasises the obvious disconnection from nature but suggests an enduring human uncertainty at the end regarding the will of offspring, disturbingly mixing technological invention with parenthood.

The portrayal of humanity as an elastic concept which is more often warped than replaced has formed the thematic basis for Branch’s narrative and indeed my entire project from an early stage. In essence; the idea that we humanise machines through their application just as easily as we might be dehumanised by our reliance upon them, as I stated before – a dual potential.

To offer a fictional illustration of this concept, take Chris Cunningham’s music video for Björk’s All is Full of Love (1999)*5. As Wegenstein and Hansen describe it in Getting Under the Skin (2006) ‘robots with interfaces resembling Björk interact with each other erotically in a human, lesbian way. The robots, in other words, behave humanly, but are themselves built according to the image of the posthuman.’ (Wegenstein, Hansen, 2006, p15) The video was doubtlessly made with aesthetic appeal in mind, but it does inadvertently capture much of the essence to the perverse reciprocal relationship between human and machine.

Moving into more practical factual examples, these ideas of blurred lines where human qualities are extended or replicated by technology might be noted in our ever developing set of prostheses too. High tech artificial limbs such as the Deka ‘Luke Arm’,*3 or Touch Bionics’ ‘I-Limb Pulse’*6 while invariably artificial and inferior to their organic counterparts, ultimately seek to replicate their function as effectively as possible. There are even signs of these creations beginning to (or at least attempting to) supersede their forerunners, as Chris Shilling outlines in his paper ‘Body in Culture, Technology and Society’:

‘Other developments with a robotic dimension to them have also weakened the boundary between humans and machines. Runners’ legs made for competitive athletes, for example, imitate the flexion of the cheetah’s leg and resemble ‘the suspension band in a pickup truck more than a familiar articulated leg’. Even more dramatically, some researchers are using computer technology with micro-surgery to create neuronal prostheses designed to recreate vision for blind people, while others are working on a new generation of hand prostheses ‘that will communicate with computers and bypass the keyboard hardware’. Such radically innovative prostheses seem to reveal a continued human desire to transcend the currently encountered limits of the body’

(Shilling, 2004, page 178)

As outlandish as these concepts may seem I would still argue they all have a basis in either human application or – as in the case athlete’s leg imitating a cheetah’s – a natural template to draw upon, moving them away from the dehumanising qualities so beloved of dystopian sci-fi. As different as they are, there are also familiar aspects to be found.

That said, it would be narrow minded to suggest there wouldn’t be any dramatic changes following and in the build up to the advent of a posthuman society. Selecting one of the largest potential alterations, let us consider gender in the case of an artificial body connected to a human brain; even supposing there were substitutes for genitals and gender characteristics, could we really deem it to be female or male in the traditional sense? Again returning to Haraway’s Manifesto, a reoccurring point in her argument (or possibly the whole point) is how the status of women in society will shift with these technologies accordingly:

‘One important route for reconstructing socialist-feminist politics is through theory and practice addressed to the social relations of science and technology, including crucially the systems of myth and meanings structuring our imaginations. The cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and personal self.’

(Haraway, 1991, page 163)

I mentioned before how she uses the cyborg as both literal construct and metaphor, in this case symbolically to represent how our ‘post modern’ identities will be disassembled and reassembled into a hybrid identity – a ‘reconstruction of self.’*7 I purposefully chose a female cyborg protagonist in my comic with the intention of perhaps exploring a similar notion of reassembled gender, introducing more typically masculine features along with the terminology ‘procedure’ for the cyborg transition creating possible connotations to a sex change – connecting it to a real topic for additional credibility while possibly presenting a challenge to the concept of stereotypical gender roles in narrative.

Returning to the topic I started with though, there’s no promise that the cyborg would necessarily result in utopian progression as the aforementioned continuation of human characteristics could likely result in the stagnation of our more regrettable tendencies. I already mentioned the military origins of cybernetics, something Shilling supports in criticism of Haraway’s more optimistic stance, referring to the cyborg as ‘a creature of the battlefield’*8. Once again, this statement can be seen reflected in a great deal of cyberpunk fiction, with Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita (1990) and Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell (1995) both presenting the subject cyborgs as physically hardened beings orientated towards combat.

For better or worse, following my research I feel much of it affirms my belief in the equal potential for advancement and disaster embodied in the cyborg, a creation that should neither whole heartedly be condemned or condoned. Taking Haraway’s metaphor of society as a cyborg, can we really say ‘posthuman’ is even an appropriate term for a future concerning human-machine hybrids when so much of the concept is already present now? We already have what might be considered symbiotic relationships with phones, the internet and innumerable other technologies, so the question begs: are we already entering a cyborg society? It is in such notions that I hope to connect with relevant contextual issues, offering my work a greater depth than mere fantasy might afford.


  1. Clynes ME, Kline NS (1960), ‘Astronautics/September: Cyborgs and Space’, Rockland State Hospital, Orangeburg, N.Y, page 27
  2. Shilling C (2004), ‘Body in Culture, Technology and Society’, Sage Publications Inc., page 180
  3., 19/11/2010, ‘Luke arm’ online article
  4. Haraway D (1991), ‘Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature’, Routledge, page 181
  5.,7/2/2011, ‘All is Full of Love’ music video
  6., 26/8/2011, ‘I-Limb Pulse’ news video
  7. Deitch J (1992), ‘Post Human’, Idea Books, page 33
  8. Shilling C (2004), ‘Body in Culture, Technology and Society’, Sage Publications Inc., pages: 186