Pinnacle, worn by a live model at the A. Human exhibit in New York, NY. Photo by The Verge.
The article first appeared on The Verge.
Spent at least half an hour wandering A.Human — an art installation about a futuristic body modification fashion house — before realizing one of the models was a human being. This wasn’t totally unreasonable: he was mostly hidden behind a wall, revealing only a torso embellished with glowing lines. According to a small sign beside him, the lines were transdermal blacklight implants designed as club wear, which the label’s mysterious designer A. Huxley had dubbed “Carnaval.” I realized my mistake when I looked closer and saw his muscles twitch.
A.Human is full of these reverse-uncanny-valley moments. The installation, which opened last week and runs through the end of September, feels like something David Cronenberg might create if he worked for an Instagram marketing agency. It’s a collection of fashion pieces affixed to human flesh, modeled partly by mannequins and partly by live actors posed like mannequins. And while this may sound like the stuff of nightmares, A.Human is a bold attempt to make them uncomplicatedly beautiful — though it ultimately misses the mark.
The installation is set up in a Manhattan showroom, where fictional designer A. Huxley is supposedly showing off their 2019 fashion collection just in time for New York Fashion Week. The space, which starts as a dim, earthy room filled with wooden boxes and dirt before segueing into bright, mirror-filled corridors, was designed by (the real-life) immersive theater director Michael Counts. Near the beginning, you can find pieces like the “Tudor,” a ruff collar seemingly made of flesh and displayed on a man buried up to his neck in soil. Walk down a short hall, and you’ll find alcoves of disembodied legs modeling built-in high heels. (Occasionally, one of them wriggles its toes.) Loop back around, and there’s the “Pinnacle,” a pair of raised shoulder horns whose live model gazes blankly into a mirrored wall.
For a break from the body-mod fashion, you can duck into a pump room that’s been turned into a grotto with a beating heart, or pose in a large ring made of stylized, grasping human hands. On your way out, you can customize a heart and print it on a T-shirt, ostensibly as a way to test out a new coronary implant before buying it.
Read the full article on The Verge.