Body Playground


Abstract
A project that reponds to binary sex and biodeterminism. I recognize the living bodies as dynamically developed gendered selfs in response to the social environment.



Design
The use of tetris as representation of social scripts and technologies has layered metaphorical meanings.  As the blocks pile up, the body react in random ways. For example, removal of body hair, changes in skin colors, and most importantly, modifications on genitals. The body also starts out as intersex, which is a call for recognizing gender variations.
Usually, surgical intervention on intersex people scars their bodies. I left the scars out in the design and made the transition between stages rather blunt. It is intended to leave audience wondering, is the surgery that simple? Genitals gone like a switch of a slideshow? 



 

Key questions
How does social scripts and technologies impact the gendered bodies? What are the technologies of power that affect how one identify and express itself? Who controls the technologies of power and how are they being used to reinforce the status quo?


Reflection

Embodied is an experiment of social embodiment. I was invested to explore how gendered bodies internalize social scripts. Then as I moved forward, I realized Tetris is a multi-person game but doesn’t track who moved which block. This particular aspect of invisible forces leads me to the question of who uses technologies as a means to control the social scripts of normative bodies and the discourse around them. Who are the people with power? Politicians, doctors, parents? How are technologies of the power used to marginalize the non-normative genders? The answers are regional dependent. For California, there is third gender option for people; active intersex advocates pushed the bill to ban infant intersex surgeries. However, in Hong Kong, the norms for intersex surgeries is “the early the better.” Parents desperately seek for medical help to fit their children into a binary model. Influenced by the deeply rooted Chinese Patriarchal paradigm, most intersex babies were made boys by the choice of their parents. This doesn’t mean other countries aren’t influenced by the patriarchal paradigm. In fact, most surgeries in the U.S. make the intersex infants into female because the surgery usually destroys the sexual sensation of the babies. Female, are considered less likely to care about sexual desire as the desire has been ascribed as an exclusive property to male in history. How can design step in and confront the social issues in its own powerful way? Why isn’t there any transgender public figure in Hong Kong? Where did the energy of innovative technology go?

Process



Making of an intersex body



Coding with OpenFrameworks


Projection Mapping





Social issues I’m responding to:

Prom queen ballot or not at all“A Transgender Student Said He's Being Forced To Run For Prom Queen Even Though He Was Nominated As Prom King.” Dex Frier told BuzzFeed News he felt "suppressed" by his school's insistence that he had to run on the prom queen ballot — or not at all. 

We’re only changing a hole, not gender:  What It's Like To Be Intersex

Syringe: Medically Unnecessary Surgeries on Intersex Children in the US