Hourglass, Banana, or Spoon?

March 31, 2013 By arne hendriks 0

Even within a speculative research such as The Incredible Shrinking Man it is difficult to imagine what the average human body will look like if we decide to shrink to 50 centimetres. However, based on the specific physical adaptations to environment and our various diets and different functionalities of the human body, perhaps some presumptions can be made, even if just to open the imagination towards our future appearance. In fact throughout history, our imagination in myths, legends and fairy tales has envisioned a wide variety of small human creatures. It would be ignorant to dismiss these descriptions and visualisations as mere fantasies. From an evolutionary perspective all life started small and perhaps these manifestations are a vehicle for lost knowledge on our small self and the hyper-variable possibilities of the human body.

On the other hand biological functionality will make some developments of the body more probable than others. Most small mammals have an agility and quickness that seems related to greater relative strength and the elegance of Haldanian simplicity. Will we experience what Heinrich von Kleist in his On the marionette theatre calls the ability to not be ‘afflicted with the inertia of matter’?  Or will we develop in another direction with relative large heads to facilitate our relatively large brain, and wider hips for women to facilitate birth? Will we retain more fat to protect ourselves from hypothermia? Or will our eyes become bigger and move to the side of the head to be able to respond to danger more quickly? As always there are more questions than answers. Please join our discussion. Our speculative modelling on the general appearance of the future shrunken human body will be presented during ALIVE/En Vie opening April 25th 2013.

In cooperation with Floris Kaayk.