EXOSKELETAL MK1 by Christiaan Zwanikken

Clips from a try-out performance at Kinetica Art Fair London 2013. Duration performance: 25 minutes

The Exoskeletal MK1 pays homage to the Mesoamerican believe of the ‘Animal Spirit’, known as Nagual, where a human being through sacred rite has the power to turn him/herself into an animal by way of shapeshifting.

The Exoskeletal is a robotic, body-extension suit consisting of a real boar skull which has been reanimated with animatronics mounted at one end, and an adjustable mechanical harness at the other end. The Exoskeletal becomes anthropomorphic as it is worn, extending the human body through mechanical prosthesis, pointing to the evolution of the human species.

As a form of hybridisation, a performer demonstrates how it is to be incorporated into a human-animal-machine with an extra mechanical limb. Instead of being the operator of a machine, the performer not only interacts with the work but becomes it; automated and extended. Like a Nagual, entering into a journey of metamorphosis, passing through the phases from human, to animal, to machine, and back to human.

The Exoskeletal functions as one operational system where, the human body and the animal robot are in a state of symbiosis, a harmonizing of the technological and the natural.

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