Anthropomorphobia

Urban Dolls

The idea of altering your body for aesthetic purposes is still somewhat frowned upon today. But more than because the very idea of improving yourself, this is about its irreversible nature.

When a women has some silicons inserted in her mammary glands, she’s very unlikely to go to back to a petite 75B one month later, but that very same woman can simply throw her high heels in the corner and wipe of the lipstick after an important vernissage. Compared to plastic surgery, clothing and make-up are much more accepted ways of presenting yourself to the opposite sex as that hyper-attractive step up the evolutionary ladder.

The Urban Dolls project of designer Vilma Jaruseviciute seems to refer to this paradoxical situation, although she very much presented her work as a critical stance on plastic surgery when I met her last week, at the DMY international design festival held at Berlin Tempelhof Airport. The project consists of a series of beautiful objects that pair jewelry – or better: wearables – to prosthetics (in which one will undoubtedly recognize the influence of Dunne & Raby, two of the most influential advocates of what is fashionably called Critical Design today). In her own words, the designer says:

‘It is getting more and more difficult to define a concept of contemporary beauty. In urban society, where the hunt for perfection begins at an early age and modified ‘plastic beauties’ wave from the covers of glossy magazines, humanity’s struggle for perfection appears almost limitless. This project is an explorative journey in search of alternatives that could replace plastic or aesthetic surgery. Design becomes a mediator between humans and existing body modification processes; static, permanent procedures are transformed into flexible, temporary prosthetics.’

Temporary Prosthetics
But where Dunne & Raby choose for an approach that radically fuses notions of the Born and the Made, for example through their famous biojewelry, Jaruseviciute seems to take a step back and chooses to stay on the safe side of the line. But, this might as well be exactly where this project becomes interesting. It is maybe not as thought-provoking as similar designs we have seen, but it sure makes a point, although seemingly unwanted.

More than ridiculing the absurd standards of the beauty industry, the projects seems to prove that body manipulation can be well-crafted, pretty good-looking and… temporary, paving the way for a more loose approach towards body manipulation: upgrade yourself today, undo it tomorrow!

See more work at http://www.vilmajar.com

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