David Vintiner

2016 - Ongoing


Transhumanists are a group of individuals harnessing the power of tech to transcend our human biology. From designing new senses to extending life expectancy, the opportunity to become human architects is only limited by their imagination, allowing them to redefine what it means to be human.

Project Overview

“I don't feel like I'm using technology, or wearing technology. I feel like I am technology.

I don't think of my antenna as a device – it's a body part.”

Cyborg Neil Harbisson

Transhumanism is the belief that human beings are destined to transcend their mortal flesh through technology. They are devoted to the idea that our biology is fundamentally flawed and that we don't have to accept what nature has given us. From designing new senses to extending life expectancy, these individuals are redefining what it means to be human.

The movement is disrupting a broad spectrum of society from healthcare to politics. The profile of these futurists is as diverse as its applications, from artists and CEOs to academics and bedroom hackers. It’s given artists new ways to experience the world and been a transformation space for people suffering from severe injuries or disease, enabling them to redefine who they are and how they are seen.

Although ideas about Transhumanism started as early as 1923, the movement is still considered to be in its infancy. In the last decade, there have been significant developments due to the democratisation and accelerated evolution of technology, opening up a new frontier.

Through this project, we explore a spectrum of Transhumanism in three chapters. ‘Testing Ground’ looks at individuals creating wearable tech to expand our human abilities, improving everything from concentration to mental health. ‘Patient Zero’ charts individuals making permanent changes to their being, becoming half human and half machine. At the extreme end of the spectrum is ‘Humanity 2.0’, Transhumanists focused on life extension and immortality. While many of the ideas being explored in the final chapter are still theories, academics are following closely as the post-human state has ethical, political, personal and economic implications. We felt it was critical to capture both ends of this divisive spectrum.

While the opportunity to design our evolution is a seductive proposition, the broader implications cannot be ignored. Although these ideas have long lived on the pages of comic books and sci-fi novels, the movement is now a reality and starting to disrupt industries and individuals in meaningful ways. With technology evolving as fast as it currently does, further change is imminent.

The work of these individuals demonstrates how optimising our brains and bodies could revolutionise and redefine the traditional parameters of humanity. While our imagination only limits the opportunity to become human architects, it does raise some important questions for us all. While we love the efficiency and entertainment technology provides, can we embrace a future where it goes beyond our environment and enters our minds and bodies? Could we reach a point where we are gifting friends and family cognitive implants and new senses? And, most importantly, will this evolution divide or unite us?

Humans are now Gods. We are now able to create and design humans, but do humans have the foresight to do it in the right way?

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  • DIY brainhacker Andrew Vladimirov uses magnetic fields, ultra sound and electric stimulation of the brain in order to enhance its performance.

  • Rob Spence lost an eye as a child during a shooting accident. Seeking to push the boundaries of what a prosthetic eye could be, he placed a small camera inside the eye, the images from which can be live streamed onto a remote screen.

  • James Young, an amputee, created a hi-tech prosthetic arm inspired by computer game Metal Gear Solid. The arm boasts several features including a usb port for charging his phone, lights which pulse in time with his heartbeat and even a mount for a tiny drone which can be controlled from a panel on the forearm.

  • Sasha wears a homemade device nicknamed “the God helmet” which delivers electrical currents to the brain altering the wearers mood.

  • By implanting an RFID transponder under the skin users can program their transponders to enable them to enter their homes, unlock and start their vehicles, log into computers, etc. Amal Graafstra is a professional implanter and regularly hosts ‘chipping parties’ .

  • Kevin Warwick is widely regarded as the first cyborg. He has undertaken several experiments on himself, the one he demonstrates here shows how a bionic hand can mirror the movements of his left hand by communicating with a chip implanted into his left wrist. In another experiment he connected his nervous system to his wife’s so he could feel her gestures stating it was "more intimate than sex".

  • Skinterface aims to make skin an interface to the digital world so the wearer can ‘feel’ the virtual.

  • Benjamin Engel is in the early stages of implanting a bone conduction skull implant which will enable him to sense the mood of the internet. The device will vibrate in accordance with twitter trends in real time allowing him to ‘feel’ the mood of the internet.

  • Born with a severe form of colour blindness, Neil Harbisson had an antenna surgically implanted into his skull which allows him to hear colours.  For example, blue sounds like the musical note middle C. In addition to a human scale of colour perception he is also able to interpret infra-red and ultra violet light.

  • The echo-location headphones allow the user to experience space through parametric sound similar to the way bats, whales and dolphins locate and identify objects for navigation and hunting.

  • Moon Ribas has developed a sensor which is implanted in her elbow and vibrates whenever there is an earthquake. The implant allows her to feel global seismic activity in real time.

  • Dr Caroline Falconer is developing ways to treat depression using virtual reality. Patients react to a virtual crying child with whom they then change places, the aim being to cultivate self-compassion.

  • Pushkin is a brain controlled robot operated by the thought patterns of the wearer of an EEG skull cap.

  • Anders Sandberg is a research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University. His work covers long range research into the future of our species.

  • Aubrey de Grey studies the process of ageing. It is his belief that humans might eventually live to the age of 1,000 years, a belief he claims founded not on faith, but on science.

    He states that when technology has advanced enough it will be possible to bring about the indefinite postponement of ageing.

  • Natasha Vita-More, author of the Transhumanist Manifesto

  • Alexei Turchin has spent several years researching and planning a roadmap to immortality, the map features a Plan A, Plan B, C and even D, all of which run simultaneously in case one of the plans should fail.

    Plan A focuses on life extension through health and includes advice such as “wear a seatbelt” or “make friends with a bio-scientist”. If this plan were to fail, Plan B moves onto more complex issues around cryogenic preservation, Plan C looks at digital immortality and plan D explores the notion that immortality already exists.

  • Sophia is one of the worlds most advanced humanoid robots capable of displaying over 50 facial expressions.

  • Nick Bostrom is Director of the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University. His work concentrates on staving off future catastrophes that threaten humanity. Top of the threat list is artificial intelligence and the idea that a super-intelligence could threaten our very survival.