GUP #053, the Infinity Issue
In small, rural towns of the United States, bodyhackers are working to merge man and machine. Experimenting in home-grown labs that resemble cluttered garages and chaotic dens, they build devices to implant into their own bodies, becoming the guinea pigs of a transhuman future.
In his series Grinders, German photographer Hannes Wiedemann (b. 1991) portrays this DIY cyborg community, giving insight into their individual efforts at biotech progress. The pursuit of futuristic bodily precision is given a strong counterweight in the dishevelled surroundings and make-shift tools that appear far from cutting-edge.
Yet, the successes or failures of their work are not on display here; rather, Wiedemann points his camera at the fact of their experimentation itself. These ‘grinders’, as they call themselves, act on their own authority as progressives of the human agenda. Their bold investigation celebrates individual action and the democratisation of technology. Though, without organisational or government support or oversight, their experiments circumvent safety or regulatory bodies. As Wiedemann explains: “Their risky experiments and strong faith into technology’s emancipatory potential challenges science, medicine and ethics equally.”