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Book of the Week: A Pick by Forrest Soper

Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Forrest Soper Forrest Soper selects Grinders by Hannes Wiedemann as Book of the Week.
GrindersBy Hannes WiedemannSelf-published, 2016.
Forrest Soper selects Grinders self-published by Hannes Wiedemann as Book of the Week.

"I’ve always been interested in biohacking. Ever since I picked up my first science fiction novel, the idea that technology and science can be used to augment humanity has fascinated me. As time progressed, many of the technologies detailed in the books and films that I loved have become a reality, however, many more still seem out of reach — fantasies rather than achievable goals. One seemingly impossible science was the idea of cybernetic enhancements or using integrated technology to improve the capabilities of our human bodies. You can imagine the excitement I had when I learned that people were actively trying to incorporate technology into the human body.

Often called Grinders, individuals in the biohacking community believe that they can use technology to improve what it means to be human. From embedded computers that can read and transmit biometric data, to LED arrays under the skin that can visually change with different inputs, many pioneers are using themselves as test subjects as they begin to explore this new technology. Largely ignored by the established medical community, these innovators have been welcomed by the body modifiers, and as a result, have been able to work with professionals in order to implant these devices (albeit without anesthesia). Primarily self-funded and relatively off the grid, the biohacking community has grown into a diverse group of individuals who are actively implanting devices into their bodies for a multitude of different reasons.

Enter Hannes Wiedemann, a German photographer who, in 2015, set out to document the biohacking community in the United States. The images Wiedemann captured document this relatively new technology in a striking fashion. Set in garages and makeshift laboratories, the images in Grinders are detailed, depictive, alien, static, and often jarring. Strange devices, circuit panels, and bloody operations fill the pages. Implants of various sizes are shown being inserted into fingertips, heads, and arms. As you flip through the large pages, new questions arise as quickly as others are answered.

In addition to the striking imagery, Grinders is also a fascinating art object. Bound with eyelets and housed in a PVC sleeve, the book mimics the devices that biohackers design and work with. The third place winner of the 2017 Kassel Dummy Award, Grinders has already generated a lot of interest. So much interest in fact, that this book sold out from the publisher before this review was even published. If you are a fan of technology, science fiction, fringe communities, or if you are like me and have dreamt about an implant of your own then this book is for you. We may be a long way from cyborgs like we see in the movies, but thanks to the Grinders, we are closer than ever before."
— Forrest Soper

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GrindersBy Hannes WiedemannSelf-published, 2016.
GrindersBy Hannes WiedemannSelf-published, 2016.

Forrest Soper is a photographer and artist based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. A graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, he also has previously worked at Bostick & Sullivan. Forrest is the Editor of photo-eye Blog.