If you've ever thought that selling your kidney, ova, or sperm sounded like a handy way to make some cash, it's time to consider body farming. Michael Burton's photographs show how advances in biotech will change the way humans treat and relate to their bodies. After all, if we can sell our organs, gametes, and hair, what's to stop us from growing extra ones all over our bodies?
Burton notes that, while there are certain taboos against the commodification of the human body, there are places in the world that permit the sale of organs, spawning a transplant tourism industry. And some people already treat their bodies as farms, growing out and lopping off their hair for sale. But if nanotechnology gives us the ability to grow body parts and pharmaceuticals directly on our skin, more humans would be able, and perhaps encouraged, to participate in that commodification:
Do we really have a choice in our future? How will future technologies indirectly influence the evolution of the body in certain social-economic extremes? What circumstances would it take to reconsider your body as a source of income?
A subset of pictures, entitled “Stem,” was inspired at recent advances in harvesting stem cell from adipose fat, supposing that it could be an early form of body farming. It also calls to mind a more fantastical scenario from recent science fiction: