Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Humanity+ @Parsons Day 2 Review

Day 2 of Transhumanism Meets Design started off with a bang. Mark Wexler showed up to promote his new film How To Live Forever. He couldn't have found a better crowd of people to sell his film on opening weekend.

Jenny Tillotson presented her concept of olfactory clothing. This clothing concept we are currently exploring in depth in our blog Jenny Tillotson's Fashion Perfume & Green Lantern's Emotional Spectrum 1.

Hal Hefner, a good friend of ours and artist/writer of the online comic Gates, expressed what drives his stories, but also concerns him. Most notably genetic manipulation in the wrong hands. Using historical examples, he covered some pretty way out there stuff, from "Arians, aliens and nazis", saying its sometimes hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. Check out some of his art in the trailer below.

Natash Vita-More took center stage mid day. This was one speech not to be missed. She has been a champion of transhumanism and design since the 80's. She gave a brief history on the evolution of her artistic vision, and how she studied possibilities grounding in science to refine her vision. Mitchell Joachim followed suit with his visions of, not the body, but of future cities and transportation.

Benjamin Bratton, James Hughes, and Michael Masucci were featured in the last panel, and focused on the philosophical and political aspects of transhumanism. Scott Draves finished up as the final speaker, presenting the most beautiful screen savers I have ever witnessed. Called Electric Sheep, these part fractal, part particle, pre rendered images were the result of thousands of computers using a program similar to Seti@home. Users simply give the current images being rendered a thumbs up, or thumbs down, determining the evolution of the "sheep". He said this was a possible slice of the future, computation meeting the subtleness of nature, and communication connecting it all to bring about something "meaningful". It was a great metaphor to end the conference on. A collaboration of technology and man working together to create something beautiful.

Overall the conference was a hit. Set in a design school it brought in a few design students, some of which were not familiar with many of the futuristic concepts presented. Perhaps this should be the start of a trend of hybrid Humanity+ conferences, to help spread these ideas which will obviously effect EVERYTHING. For the next event may I suggest Transhumanism Meets Communications?

If you aren't a member of Humanity+ consider joining here. Mention my name and maybe I can cover the next event happening in Hong Kong. If your a college student (or even a serious high school student) and are interested in starting up a Humanity+ group at your school, Josh Call and Curt Tigges are the student group organizers. They can be contacted at

Thanks goes to Natasha Vita-More, Ed Keller, Humanity+,all of the speakers, volunteers and attendees who made it such a great event.

-Jeremiah Bilas

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