Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is Human 'Imperfection' Such A Bad Thing?

Date:
January 19, 2009
Source:
University of Teesside
Summary:
Imagine a world of 'human perfection' where disabled people are a distant memory, edited out by medical enhancement and economic cost-benefit analysis: a world where thanks to generic selection and economic crises disabled people find themselves expendable. Is such a world desirable? Not necessarily so, says one researcher.

Dr Simon McKeown, Reader in Computer Animation at Teesside University, Middlesbrough, England.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Teesside

Imagine a world of ‘human perfection’ where disabled people are a distant memory, edited out by medical enhancement and economic cost-benefit analysis: a world where thanks to generic selection and economic crises disabled people find themselves expendable.

Is such a world desirable?

Not necessarily so, says artist and computer animator Simon McKeown from the University of Teesside’s School of Computing, who is challenging many of the notions of so-called human ‘imperfection’ in a high-tech film-based exhibition called Motion Disabled.

Produced with colleagues in the West Midlands, it uses a number of ‘disabled actors’ from around the country and opens at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery on 24 January, 2009 with a run of four months.

“Motion Disabled is an animated digital sculpture,” says Simon McKeown, Teesside University’s Reader in Computer Animation and one of Britain’s most experienced 3D animators, with 20 years’ industry experience in TV and computer games production.

“We’ve used state-of-the-art Hollywood technology more usually associated with super heroes like Spiderman to capture ordinary disabled people in their human diversity.

"I used this technology to capture for now and forever the motions of ‘difference’. This has allowed me to ask questions such as: ‘Do we value difference?’ ‘How do disabled people's bodies fit into current notions of normality?’ ‘And, is physical diversity about to become Virtual?’

The Disabled Motion project has won a Wellcome Trust grant worth 30,000 which enabled Simon to team up with the disability arts organisation Outside Centre - based in Wolverhampton, run by Dr Paul Darke, who has worked as producer on the exhibition.

Paul said: “Great art infiltrates the subconscious to affect the very nature of our thought and the way in which we live and the way in which we see the world. Motion Disabled achieves the goal of great art in that it not only re-presents the world with originality and wit but undermines the essence of the body ideal to force the spectator to confront their own sense of normality and abnormality both corporeally and socially.

“Motion Disabled is the best piece of art I have seen in years: that it engages, has wit and intelligence is the icing on the cake,” he says.

Simon hopes Disabled Motion will contribute to the mainstream intellectual and artistic exploration of the very nature of what societies in the future may lose - difference.

“Through the creative use of an animation process, this film aims to start a debate on whether society's use of bioscience and medical enhancement is creating a landscape of merely ordinary bodies. Art is to make people see their surrounding society differently and Disabled Motion makes a unique contribution to this debate.”

Actors used in the motion capture sessions included disabled people with very different impairments, such as Mat Fraser, a well-known TV personality, who has thalidomide; Steve Graham, a web developer from Teesside University’s School of Computing, who has cerebral palsy and Frank Letch who was born without arms.

Mat said: “It is not just great fun to be portrayed in a world that usually seems obsessed with ultra perfection, and to have one’s unusual and individual way of moving be a part of the gaming screens; but if we don’t include those of us who move and do things differently, it would be a huge loss to the variety and creativity of the games and animation. It may also become our only legacy in a World increasingly devoid of natural differences.”

Frank Letch was another delighted to take part. He’s already something of a media star having featured in national TV documentaries as the 64-year-old Mayor of Crediton in mid Devon who can peel potatoes, drink a pint in his local bar, write and type and even change a baby's nappy using his bare feet.

Frank says: “If a surgeon walked into this room now and said he could graft perfect arms on me if I wanted, I'd tell them I want to stay the way I am because I think it's made me a much more interesting person. I am not disabled. It's just that I have an inability to do some things the way other people do”.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Teesside. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Teesside. "Is Human 'Imperfection' Such A Bad Thing?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116073605.htm>.
University of Teesside. (2009, January 19). Is Human 'Imperfection' Such A Bad Thing?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116073605.htm
University of Teesside. "Is Human 'Imperfection' Such A Bad Thing?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116073605.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins