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Transcendent Skin visualises future human skin in leather and silicone

In response to our beauty ideals based on flawless perfection, German designer Julia Thomann imagines a future in which we are granted eternal youth. Her project Transcendent Skin visualises a future trend in skin adornment that reverts back to imperfections of the skin, using leather and silicone.

In Thomann’s future, the power of technology has created hybrid humans that have reached their desire for ‘perfect skin’, without wrinkles, scars, pores, etcetera, and always looking young, beautiful and healthy. In line with this future, technology will enable us to redesign the physical human body and overcome universal human limitations, surpassing mortality and granting eternal youth.

In this thought experiment, Thomann recognises the human nature of wanting what we don’t have. If we have flawless skin, there will always be people who want back to ‘imperfection’. Like people will decorate their skin with tattoos now, Thomann believes that through DNA alterations, the humans of the future will ‘decorate’ their skins with wrinkles, scars and pores, to honour their ancestry and out of nostalgia.

In order to visualise her design concept, Thomann started working with leather, as it is the closest to human skin. Thomann moulded the skin around a mannequin to understand which parts of the body would be the perfect spot to have this kind of decoration. Wrinkles could be located at the neck, while pores could be all over the body. The final pieces for her project are made from silicone.

“I think what I designed is a vision, rather than a product,” Thomann says. “For me, the skin is kind of the outer layer of our human soul. Every wrinkle means that you loved, that you lived. Every scar you have tells a story. If you don’t have that anymore, we will not be able to show our life anymore.”

“Not only does the project question our imposed craving for perfection, but also tries to start the conversation about the ethical consequences of biotechnology and the possibilities it will create,” she continues. “Will our imagination be big enough to foresee this future?”

Listen to Thomann’s own explanation of the project here.

Photos: Julia Thomann