Ben Popper has put together an intriguing short documentary for The Verge in which he visits the bizarre and mysterious world of "basement body hackers." Called Cyborg America, the short film explores the mindset and work of pioneering DIY transhumanist body modders, in addition to offering background insights into the movement and the key players involved.
The video and accompanying article offers a fascinating glimpse into this pioneering subculture, one that is set to reshape the human body and its capacities — while at the same time showing us how we just might be able to do it ourselves.
One of the most revealing things about Cyborg America is the way in which it portrays biohacking as a logical offshoot of the radical body modification movement — a connection that makes complete sense. Both subcultures exhibit a high degree of non-conformism, along with an aesthetic appreciation for pushing the body beyond its normal configuration and limits. As one biohacker in the film notes, "I just want to see how far I can push the human."
Moreover, because of its underground and DIY nature, most body hackers have no choice but to seek out tattoo and piercing parlors where some of the more invasive work can be performed — like getting magnetic fingertip implants — a procedure that Popper himself voluntarily commits to (which the documentary shows in graphic detail).
The accompanying article is also worth the read as it explores a number of various body hacks (including an echolocation device that slips right on the finger), a history of the movement (with a hat tip to cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick), and a discussion of the various extremes that biohackers will go to — including a segment on Lepht Anonym, the scraphead transhumanist whose "self-destructive aesthetic" is leading her to do some "crazy insane shit." You can find Popper's article and the video at The Verge.
Via Redditor/Sludig. Images via The Verge.