It was annual gathering time for the Beltane Public Engagement Network on Monday night http://www.beltanenetwork.org/ and Tirion and I headed along to talk about and show some of the research we have been doing so far. We had a great night, drank smoothies, and talked to interested and interesting people. Here is our spot (spot the last packet of ‘Love heart sweeties’ most of which I ate):
Talk about liking to attract attention:
Annie Downie, Learning Officer at Surgeon’s Hall museum loaned us a few artefacts such as prosthetics and heart models https://museum.rcsed.ac.uk/plan-your-visit/learning. I took these down to Ali Grant who will show some of the artefacts to the young people thinking about taking part in the production of In-Valid You/th. We also showed Maggie’s ICD Story and a sneak preview of ‘Electrifying the Cyborg Heart’ (which is being entered into Pariscience) and produced several leaflets:
Book your tickets for Gill Haddow’s ‘One-stop-body-shop’. Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, Sunday 28h August 2016 @ 3pm – 4pm, Cost – £8 (concession £6)
Please! Come in and browse. You can choose from a range of options for the repair and replacement of organs. Currently, I have several to offer you; human organs from deceased or living donors are all the rage nowadays but, yes, supplies are limited. I can show you the very latest, more expensive option of ‘grow-your-own’? 3-D bioprinting too pricey for you? Organs from genetically modified non-human animals can come in quite a bit cheaper. No. Sorry. We don’t do organic options. You’re vegetarian? I would recommend the cybernetic options (a delivery next week will replace faulty stock). So what will it be?
PROJECT2: ELECTRIFYING THE CYBORG HEART, MAGGIE’S ICD STORY, AND EVERDAY CYBORGS: A STORY ABOUT BODIES IN PARTS (IN PRODUCTION)
‘Electrifying Cyborg Heart’ is a two minute animation based on the separation of self/body and subject/object playing on the cultural iconography and scientific representation of the heart. It outlines how both the body and the self, come to accommodate the alien implant (implantable cardiac defibrillator). Cameron Duguid is the animator and used a light box technique http://www.cameronduguid.co.uk/. Maggie’s Story’ is approximately 3 minutes long. It shows Maggie, newly implanted with an ICD, writing about the various emotions, inner dialogue and other people’s reactions to her, on a variety of different backgrounds (Letters, diaries, appointment cards, ECG readings etc). She is sharing with an audience how it feels to be an ‘everyday cyborg’. The film-maker Ross Ziegelmeier used stop-motion animation (for an example of his work see https://vimeo.com/user25397788/videos).
Everyday Cyborgs: A story about bodies in parts (in production) and Ross and I are thinking it might be an animated film that will be in 5 sequences and is based on the different stages of the cyborgisation process that starts with the implantation of a cybernetic device – ICD. This will be a collage effect showing how a body/person as composite parts that could draw upon who they were, what they did, where they live before telling the cyborg story through 5 different scenes:
- BECOMING CYBORG
- AFTER SURGERY: IN BUT NOT GONE
- THE SHOCKING TRUTH; IT’S THE FAULT OF ME OR THE ICD
- SURVIVING A STORM
- ALTERED SUBJECTIVITES AND TEMPORAL ADJUSTMENTS
PROJECT3: IN-VALID YOU/TH
Currently underway, the public engagement project, called ‘In-valid You/th’ will allow a handful of teenagers to make their own 8 minute film about the fictional experiences of young people whose bodies have undergone repair or replacement with prosthetics or implants (for example, Josh Cathcart, aged nine years recently became the youngest recipient of a ‘Touch Bionic’ hand http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34015893). Creating a film about individuals who may have faced stigma due to apparent physical disadvantages, may resonate with the structural constraints of living in Muirhouse. The chronic economic deprivation of the lived environment requires repair, replacement and regeneration in a similar way that some young people’s bodies may do. The views of the ‘digital citizens’ born in the internet age, are key to exploring how future bionic technologies will be received, given current social and ethical issues about implanting devices and prosthetics.
The participant-actors will 1) benefit directly from learning about the film making process through the support of directors, animators and musicians and 2) gain self-confidence through the completion and dissemination of the outcome and 3) by challenging themselves about stigma of physical difference create opportunities to challenge prejudices about health and wealth (e.g. the ‘undeserving poor’). We have already visited Scottish Electronics Centre and the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Cardiology Department. Visits to the 3-D Bioprinting Laboratory as well as a Dissection at Old Surgeon’s Hall is planned.
PROJECT4: ANIMAL, MECHANICAL AND ME: THE SEARCH FOR REPLACEABLE HEARTS.
The contemporary need for naturalness can be better understood as a response to the fact that technology makes reality more and more makeable and, consequently, more contingent. Advancing technology changes everything that is, into our object of choice…[I]f human nature itself becomes makeable, it can no longer naively be laid down as the norm (Swierstra, Van Est, & Boenink, 2009).
The social science project aims to explore patient experiences and public reactions to using material from non-human animals or from auto-biotechnologies to repair, replace or regenerate the human body. It asks the question that “If you had to make the choice would you choose to have your organs replaced with animal or mechanical ones?” Does having parts of your body replaced with materials from other sources make you feel any different? By looking at what is currently repaired and replaced we can also learn about what to expect in the future. This research will undertake a sociological investigation into current practices of repairing and replacing the human heart specifically by interviewing ‘everyday cyborgs’ – those people who have received a cybernetic device called, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). It also seeks to understand what people preferences are when it comes to replacing or repairing their organs with regenerated bio-organs or prosthesis and cybernetic technologies. Studying the heart allows us to consider the intersection between medical science, embodiment, and identity. The repair, replacement or regeneration of tissues and organs can help unearth some of our deepest held beliefs about what humans being are and what being human is.
Trigger’s Broom from an episode of ‘Fools and Horses’.
In the episode “Heroes and Villains“, Trigger wins an award for having owned the same broom for 20 years. He reveals that it has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, but insists it is still the same broom; this is an example of the Ship of Theseus paradox. This has given rise to the expression “Trigger’s broom” (Source Wikipedia.com)