Are you ready for the cyber future?

by Angelina

Grinders by Hannes Wiedemann | picture by Hanneke Wetzer for STRP

Times when cyborgs could only be seen in sci-fi movies seem to have passed; some of them are already walking among us. Blurring the line between human and machine, it’s not unusual for people to replace their missing limbs with prosthetic implants. However, a bunch of outrageous technology devotees took it a step further by practicing extreme body modifications: ones that could remind you of an episode of Black Mirror, only less aesthetic. These self-made cyborgs call themselves “biohackers” or “grinders” and what they do is augmenting their bodies with technology either at home or in piercing shops. But are people ready for their bodies to be taken over by technologies?

After taking a look at the photos from Grinders by Hannes Wiedemann, visitors seemed to be slightly shocked. “I don’t understand why someone would do this,” shares one of the visitors who’s having hard times comprehending the idea of putting a foreign object into her skin. “But yeah, I believe in the future we all will have some kind of chips implanted.” I notice a man taking photos of the off-putting procedures and come over to hear his thoughts. “They are the first cyborgs! It’s really cool!”, he tells me. “There was a club in Rotterdam where regulars could choose to have an implant to identify themselves. You could just scan your arm and go in. This is the future,” he continues, “I would do it myself one day when it’s performed professionally and in a sterile environment.”

The community of grinders is rapidly growing. Website Biohack.me is a place to connect with other biohackers across the globe. “To promote talk in the self-biohacker community” reads their mission. Annually, the community gathers in Tehachapi California to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration and work as they operate “in a space where any single approach simply isn’t enough”. During the festival the visitors participate in lectures, classes and tutorials where they discuss their findings and topics such as Utopia vs. Dystopia, Space Migration, and the role of art in futurism.

It’s only a matter of time until each of us can forget about smartphones and have each of its functions installed into our bodies. Are you ready for the cyber future?