UK (University College London) – Posthuman Bodying: Artwork explores the relationship between humans and the natural world

Striking artwork by the acclaimed fashion photographer and UCL PhD candidate, Ram Shergill, which explores the perception of a ‘new human’, will be on display at London’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

Posthuman Bodying investigates how the human and nonhuman body can “intra-relate”, and is a reflection of Ram’s PhD work at UCL Bartlett School of Architecture, where he is researching the creation of bioregenerative carapaces which are able to act as a shield for the body and protect it from the elements.

The artwork features images of humans combined with various species of plants and animals to give a physical impression of what a “new human” could look like, and how “becoming natural” may enable them to react to harsher environments on Earth, the Moon and Mars.

Ram said: “I had a meeting with The Museum of Contemporary Art, in which I discussed my research with the curators from the gallery. It was suggested that MOCA gallery could be a great way to explore my doctoral research in the form of a series of exhibitions at the site.

“Through the practice of architectural design and biochemical engineering at the Bio-Integrated Design Lab at UCL, the research that I am undertaking acts as a catalyst for developing new technologies in the fields of external morphology.

“I am exploring how the human identity can morph into newer directions, challenging the perceptions of the ‘singular body’ when it is aligned cohesively with multispecies entities.

“The artworks at MOCA gallery aim to critically question the intra-relationship between human, animal, and botanic organisms. And it is important for me to assess how groups of human and non-human agency can be re-established through speculative design.

“A new identity is formed through Posthuman Bodying, in which the human body engages in pertinent and critical relations with nature and the ecological environment.”

The exhibition will be in two parts and will feature a mix of various outputs, 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 regarding Shergill’s concept of a “Critical Posthuman Practice” –  a unique form of practice innovated by Ram, which creates novel design processes and is achieved by working with nature and the ecological environment through bioregenerative design.

The symposium and panel discussion will feature prolific international guest speakers from the world 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 the challenges to atmospheres beyond Low Earth Orbit.

“Fundamentally, the exhibition is important in evaluating how ‘collective’ ways of thinking and bioregenerative design methodologies explained through, ‘Critical Posthuman Practice’ can enhance human and nonhuman futures as a response to harsher environmental conditions.”

Ram Shergill has previously worked with Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen. His work has also been shown in exhibitions worldwide, including Sotheby’s, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Wallace Collection, Somerset House and the Whitechapel Gallery.

On top of this, a selection of Ram’s work has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, which are part of the permanent Collection, and were shown in the contemporary collection show, alongside artists such as David Hockney, Cecil Beaton and Tracey Emin.