Growing Pains: Nurturing The Relationship Between Man & Object
2009

Breakthroughs in biological science have redefined the capabilities of the human body. A new frontier has opened for design, allowing the employment of the body’s material to cultivate products within the human body. We might, therefore, refer to the body as a factory, with its own natural chain of production, capable of producing life.

If man were to grow an optimized material he must nurture a relationship with the object, physically interacting with it under the skin. Through this process, the object is personalised, carrying the indexical traces of its interactions and experiences in its form. If man treats his cells right they will grow.

‘Growing Pains’ is a term referring to the pain symptoms commonly felt by children during development. Metaphorically, it can also be applied to the growth we experience throughout life both physically and emotionally. Through tissue engineering we can cultivate objects within our bodies that not only represent, but participate in our most profound life experiences.

If we were to cultivate an object inside of our bodies that represents us beyond the grave, we would grow death inside of us, forcing us to interact with it on a daily basis whilst nurturing new material in preparation for our decay. In this instance, new tools are needed to help us interact and nurture the object, tools that customize the final form.

These tools become part of our daily routine, enhancing our lives whilst preparing us for death. In this growth process, by physically interacting with the item under the skin, we not only shape and increase its growth potential, but also come to terms with our own mortality – you design your own death. Upon death the object is removed from the body and passed onto a relative or loved one, a representation of the self both physically and symbolically.

Cell Syringe
Prior to cultivation, cells are removed from the body and differentiated in the lab. Once the required bone cells have been isolated, they can be introduced into the growth area. A small incision is made into the Periosteum, a membrane that lines the outer surface of bone, and the differentiated bone cells are injected, stimulating the production of new bone.

Growth Stimulator
The Growth Stimulator allows you to enhance your physique whilst enhancing your death. Electrode pads are placed upon the body, a small electrical current toning the muscles, whilst stimulating the growth of the body object. Each pad stimulates the bone to grow into a specific shape, thus allowing you to sculpt the bone form beneath the skin.

Image Capture Frame
The Image Capture Frame enables you to regularly check upon the development of the body object, whilst the image capture facility means you can record and proudly display its progress. Low intensity ultrasound pulses have been proven to aid bone development, therefore regular use also assists in the growth process.

Body Object
Upon death the object is removed from the body and passed onto a relative or loved one. The above image shows a pipe grown from the radius in the left arm. The body object acts as a record of your life, each mark a trace of your life experiences and physique, a representation of the self both physically and symbolically.

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Body Interior Illustration by Maartje Kunen
3D Visualisation by Daniel Rossi
Photography by Susana Cámara Leret

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