The year is 2019. Synthetic biology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, worldwide communication networks and other uncountable technological and social transformations affect human thinking and shape new representations of the world. Notions as nature and culture, human and inhuman, digital and material become unstable, as the distinction between organism and artefact, born and made is uncertain and ambiguous.
This condition sets the ground for novel, postnatural aesthetics to emerge, rooted in philosophy and popular culture. While the idea of Cyborg, cybernetic organism and symbiosis between man and technology, has been used by authors as Andy Clark and Donna Haraway to discuss human cognition and contemporary identities, fictional production is abundant in its visualisations, from punks jacked into the cyberspace in Neuromancer, to Cronenberg's technological hallucinations, and replicants in Bladerunner.
Hybrid entities appear, mutations that cannot be described through the traditional categories of natural and artificial, chimeras and polymorphisms.
Carapace Audiam 2019 is the design of a symbiont, a postnatural cyborg, an extended biotechnological system that includes the human body and a material prosthesis.
Inspired by the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans, Carapace masks are composed by rigid elements that integrate and transform the structure of the head in relation to the senses. Covering the side and the ear, Audiam discusses the evolution of the hearing sense through a material augmentation. The mask looks alien, yet integrated with the human body. Its personalised shape relates to the volume and architecture of the individual head, whose data is integrated in the design process via digital scanning.
The three-dimensional porosity aims at lightness by integrating geometric redundancy instead of minimalist reduction. Its pattern is controlled with a computational simulation in order to differentiate densities throughout the volume.
Stepping away from the mainstream futuristic paradigm of smooth surfaces and transparency, pure shapes and abstractions, Audiam proposes a radical alternative and a different scenario for the aesthetics of technology and its interface with the human.
Carapace Audiam 2019 upgrades the original 2015 design by redefining the relationship between the mask and the body. It is a morphological exploration that sets the ground for further research on postnatural aesthetics and human-technological symbiosis.