Posthuman Bodying: the work explores the relationship between humans and the natural world
Striking works of art by acclaimed fashion photographer and UCL PhD student Ram Shergill, which explore the perception of a ‘new human’, will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art London (MOCA).
Posthuman Bodying investigates how the human and non-human body can ‘intra-relate’, and is a reflection of Ram’s PhD work at UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, where he investigates the creation of bioregenerative shells capable of acting as a shield for the body and protect it from the weather.
The artwork features images of humans combined with various species of plants and animals to give a physical impression of what a “new human” might look like and how “going natural” can allow them to respond to more environments. difficult on Earth, the Moon and Mars.
Ram said: “I had a meeting with the Museum of Contemporary Art, during which I discussed my research with the gallery’s curators. It has been suggested that the MOCA gallery could be a great way to explore my doctoral research in the form of a series of exhibitions on the site.
“Through the practice of architectural design and biochemical engineering at UCL’s Bio-Integrated Design Lab, the research I undertake acts as a catalyst for the development of new technologies in the fields of external morphology.
“I explore how human identity can evolve in new directions, challenging perceptions of the ‘singular body’ when coherently aligned with multispecies entities.
“The works in the MOCA gallery aim to critically question the intra-relationship between human, animal and botanical organisms. And it is important for me to assess how groups of human and non-human agents can be reestablished through speculative design.
“A new identity is formed through Posthuman Bodying, in which the human body engages in relevant and critical relationships with nature and the ecological environment.”
The exhibition will be in two parts and will present a mixture of various productions, including photography, sculpture and design.
There will also be a symposium during the second part of the exhibition, in collaboration with UCL. This will include a panel discussion on Shergill’s concept of a “critical posthuman practice” – a unique form of practice pioneered by Ram, which creates new design processes and is achieved by working with nature and the ecological environment through bioregenerative design.
The symposium and roundtable will feature prolific international speakers from the worlds of art, academia and technology.
Ram said, “I would like the works to generate new thought processes, enabling discussions, responding to the effects of anthropocentric, environmental, ecological damage and challenges to atmospheres beyond low Earth orbit.
“Fundamentally, the exhibit is important in assessing how ‘collective’ ways of thinking and bioregenerative design methodologies explained through ‘critical posthuman practice’ can enhance human and non-human futures in response to more challenging environmental conditions. “
Ram Shergill has previously worked with Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen. His work has also been featured in exhibitions around the world, including Sotheby’s, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Wallace Collection, Somerset House and the Whitechapel Gallery.
Additionally, a selection of works by Ram have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, part of the permanent collection, and have been featured in the Contemporary Collection exhibition, alongside artists such as David Hockney, Cecil Beaton and Tracey Emin.
Posthuman Bodying will be exhibited at MOCA from 10and from April 7 to 7and May 2022.