episode 11 – cyborg art: creating new senses and organs | Moon Ribas & Manel de Aguas
In this episode, we speak with Moon Ribas & Manel de Aguas, two cyborg artists and trans-species activists based in Barcelona. In their work, Ribas and De Aguas create new organs and senses that later were implanted into their body. We speak about the future of technology, how society responds to external organs; why each chose the technology they implanted; what the cyborg art lab is, and much more. Delve deeply into the future with Ribas & De Aguas.
Resources and links
Artworks and other topics mentioned during the podcast can be seen in the following links:
*The transcript was produced by AI, and while it is very good, mistakes might occur.
Nir Hindi: [00:00:00] Hey podcast listeners. Welcome back to another episode today, we have two unique speakers. They are a presentation of the potential of combining art, technology, and our human body. I’m happy to welcome Moon Ribas and Manel de Aguas.
[00:00:15] Hey guys, welcome.
[00:00:16] Thank you for taking the time to share your exciting work that you doing. And in a second, obviously we will dive deep.
[00:00:24] And maybe we will start with the show day. Maybe you can tell us about yourself, Moon.
[00:00:29] Moon Ribas: [00:00:29] Hello, I’m moon. And I’m an artist, a cyborg artist from Barcelona.
[00:00:35] Manel de Aguas: [00:00:35] Hello. I am Manel de Aguas from Barcelona I’m also cyborg artist exploring the surroundings.
[00:00:44] Nir Hindi: [00:00:44] Okay. We’ll get to it in a second. both of, you mentioned that you are cyborg?
[00:00:48] I’m wondering what is a cyborg?
[00:00:50] Manel de Aguas: [00:00:51] To me to be a cyborg is to understand technology as part of your identity, but there’s other cases it could be also like to be a cyborg in terms of biology it’s like to have body parts or technology, a part of like inside of your body, let’s say,
[00:01:10]Nir Hindi: [00:01:10] and I wonder what is the different maybe between cyborg and a cyborg art? How will you define cyborg art?
[00:01:17] Moon Ribas: [00:01:17] For us, I think cyborg art is, um, the creation of your own reality. So we all have sensors and to those sensors, we experience the, our surroundings and, uh, the world that we have outside.
[00:01:31] But if you add new senses, this perception of the world changes, and we see these as a cyborg art the creation of new senses and new body parts that makes the greater, your own perception of reality.
[00:01:44]Nir Hindi: [00:01:44] in your context you actually started to in any second, we will discuss, what is your superpower? How do you using technology in your body? But before that, I want to kind of tackle one definition in order for me and the listeners to understand you differentiate between installed technology to implant it technology, what is the difference?
[00:02:05] Manel de Aguas: [00:02:05] So, yeah, there’s a difference between a installed technology and implanted technology. The installed technology is that one that is attached to the body. Uh, we have the need of a surgery basically, and it’s for example, the case of the people that is creating the first prototype of the new body parts.
[00:02:23] So in my case, I’ve in the last three years, With our prototypes, like started in the body, not directly implanted and in the case of implantable technologies, that one that needs like a surgery method to get it in.
[00:02:41] Nir Hindi: [00:02:41] So you’re basically, I don’t know how you do it, but you install technology or do a surgery to install technology into your body.
[00:02:49] Is that correct?
[00:02:50] Manel de Aguas: [00:02:50] That’s correct.
[00:02:51] Nir Hindi: [00:02:51] So basically people cannot see you, but we will share the picture later. But you’ll have something installed in your head right? Now. Is it installed or implanted
[00:03:02] Manel de Aguas: [00:03:02] There is an implanted part and an installed part – it’s both.
[00:03:05] Nir Hindi: [00:03:05] Okay. So you have in your head implanted technology, basically you did a surgery to implant it and you have something installed.
[00:03:11] Tell us about your superpower. What is the technology that you installed or implanted in your body?
[00:03:17] Manel de Aguas: [00:03:17] Yeah. Well, first of all, I think we both like to call it like superpowers because he is something like that to make it superior to other things. And for us, it’s just like creating your senses and new body parts, like in the other species, like the nature is full of species that have different senses and different organs and they are not organized in a hierarchy.
[00:03:39] They’re all let’s say, but different. No. So my new sense and the organ that I’m creating and I have installed right now, it’s like two weather fins. I call them like this because they are inspired in the fins from the fishes. And they are fins to perceive the weather through my bone to hear the weather. basically, uh, talking about the installing thing and implant the thing.
[00:04:04] Uh, I have like a tiny part between the bone and the skin. It’s like a metallic part that allows me to transmit the vibrations that the fins are creating until the bone
[00:04:17] Nir Hindi: [00:04:17] and why you chose to connect yourself into the weather?
[00:04:20] Manel de Aguas: [00:04:20] In the beginning because I always interested in the rain and then I started, it was possible to be more connected to the rain than I was before.
[00:04:31] So that’s why I started to explore through my own body this connection.
[00:04:35] Nir Hindi: [00:04:35] For the listeners that are listening, but cannot see you. I will describe it. Manel has kind of a beautiful two white fins just above his head and we will post a picture in their website so you can see how it looks. So moon, what is your, I don’t know how to call it your cyborg part.
[00:04:52] If I don’t call it superpower, how should I refer it?
[00:04:55] Moon Ribas: [00:04:55] Yeah, no, it just to explain again with Manel lots of people think about it we united technology for getting better, or like, to feel like a superhero, but actually feel very anxious well with these terms, as Manel said, because it’s not about getting better because maybe.
[00:05:12] Feeling the weather of earthquakes like i did. It’s worse for some people. So it’s just another experience of reality. It doesn’t mean it is better or worse. It’s like an experiment we experiment with ourselves and our senses.
[00:05:26] Nir Hindi: [00:05:26] Great. So, first of all, I’m happy you clarify it.
[00:05:28] If you speak about your friends about cyborgs, know that it’s not about superpower, it’s just about experiencing
[00:05:34] Moon Ribas: [00:05:34] maybe some sidewalks are, that’s why it’s a very complex thing. Manel, and I are doing something very concrete. We United technology. Do it to experience the outside world, but there’s many, many ways so United technology,. We just, one lethal part of this many people that United States Knology for other reasons, and maybe they have other ideas. So I’m just, uh, explain what my idea of thinking knowledge event. That doesn’t mean that other people don’t. I mean, other cyborgs, the people that are current defy with cyborg have other reasons.
[00:06:06] So that’s all.
[00:06:08] Nir Hindi: [00:06:08] So what is your, how should I, like I
[00:06:11] Moon Ribas: [00:06:11] knew, I knew I knew sense, but now I also have a bit of a long story, but yeah, what I had, well, my mainly a project with united with technology and not in a new sense, it was basically almost for seven years. I had some implants in my body. They were connected to online seismographs so whenever there was some seismic activity in the planet, I would feel a vibration inside my body.
[00:06:35] So whenever there was an earthquake, I would feel a vibration in my feet. And depending on the intensity of the vibration, I knew if the earthquake was more intense or less intense, and I call this the “seismic sense”, the sense of feeling the seismic activity of the planets. In real-time,
[00:06:53] Nir Hindi: [00:06:53] Manel chose, they started with the rain and the weather, and you choose actually earthquake and seismic activity.
[00:06:58] Why you chose a seismic activity for that matter?
[00:07:01] Moon Ribas: [00:07:01] Well, I’m a choreographer and a dancer. So while I wasn’t studying dance, I guess yeah. All the time creating movement, there was a point that I wanted to find movement. There’s many things that move around us that it’s not only human movement. It’s not just a human thing.
[00:07:20] There’s many things that move around us. So I wanted to start to explore movement right. In a deeper way. And I knew that if I unite myself with technology, I could. Explore this feeling of other movements. And I started. Like pursuing what I had behind. And, uh, I did something about the speed of the people working, but then I wanted to perceive,a more, universal movement and I had this image where I thought, okay, if I would be alone in the planet, how could I perceive movement?
[00:07:52] If there’s no, no one else moving. And then I realized the earth is constantly moving, not rotates with it shakes constantly. So earthquakes and I thought it would be. Really extraordinary for me like to be united to a very natural movement. That it’s huge. And actually most of the time is imperceptible.
[00:08:13] And I thought for me, this idea just really fulfilled me to be connected to a very natural movement and, and massive, but, uh, that it’s hidden also. So if this is when I started created the seismic sense
[00:08:27] Nir Hindi: [00:08:27] and how did you get to the idea of cyborgism? How did you even expose you started with this question – how can I sense the world if nobody’s here, but how did you get into cyborgism? By the way in which age it was.
[00:08:39] Moon Ribas: [00:08:39] for me, the experiment to, with technology and movement, it started in 2007. I have to say that my closest friend is Neil Harbisson. And so we grew up together and he already experiment with antenna in 2004.
[00:08:55] So I was very close to him. And I think that the cyborg thing, as, I think you can guess from Manel, I never thought about Cyber. When I was a teenager, I never . Even felt closer to science fiction movies.
[00:09:10] Oh, I didn’t even video games. It wasn’t like close to technology at all. And I actually still feel that I there’s some of these things, ideas about technology that I don’t relate at all and that I don’t know. I was interested in, in art and nature and to experiment with it. And then I just used technology in a way to feel what a, what I really liked in deepest way.
[00:09:33] So I think the term cyborg actually. I didn’t even think about it. I think that the first person called the cyber was a journalist. They started to call us. So I wasn’t, then it’s when I, I start to think about this new term. And then actually the word cyber was created by two scientists from NASA, asked Nathan Klein and Manfred clients to write an article.
[00:09:56] this was in the sixties and they thought that we needed another word apart from bionic. And then they said, okay, if the natural way of exploring for the humanist species is go wild. I went to everywhere in the world. So the name step is to go to space.
[00:10:13] Instead of reading inside the spaceships, we should modify ourselves, in order to survive in other environments. And that’s why they created the word cyborg, which is the modification of oneself. One salvage in order to survive in space, they thought. So actually we feel they’re connected to these definition because it’s we say, okay, I feel I’m a cyborg, because I modify myself not to survive in another environment, but actually to understand where I am and to understand better the planet we live in.
[00:10:42] Nir Hindi: [00:10:42] Manel what brought you to cyborg. If I can use the word cyborgism what brought you, how did you get connected? Because moon just grew up next to Neil and saw it firsthand and then use the technology as a medium. For your exploration, how did you get into this world?
[00:10:58] Manel de Aguas: [00:10:58] Yeah, to me, it was in 2017. I was studying photography and I was already like exploring the cyborg-like scenario, like in term, like through photography.
[00:11:10] And then during that I met Neil and Moon and they were the ones while I started like actually making a photography project about them. Going with them around and shooting pictures and yeah, they introduced me to the Cyborg art movement and I felt like super connected to this movement as well. And yeah, I just decided like to become the subject that I was photographing in that time, instead of just photographing it from the outside.
[00:11:45] Nir Hindi: [00:11:45] So moving behind the camera to the front of the camera and now people take the photos of you.
[00:11:50] Manel de Aguas: [00:11:50] Yeah.
[00:11:50] Nir Hindi: [00:11:51] it’s very unique, at least those days to kind of see people in your case, Manel. It’s much more evident because you go in the street with those fins on your head. I wonder how your surrounding responded to that. The moment you say, okay, I’m not only going to install, I’m going to do surgery and I’m going to put, or implant technology into my body. How did your surrounding friends, family respond to that?
[00:12:15] Manel de Aguas: [00:12:15] Yeah, my friends and my family in the end, they’ve been there during the whole process yeah, they give, accepting it step by step.
[00:12:24] You know, it’s not like suddenly the first day I’m gonna implant fins in my hand. Yeah. Every time it’s. There are questions around them and this curiosity. but from my friends and my family, Luckily, I had like a lot of respect. yeah, everything it’s been fine. I think there’s more problems, let’s say with the social reaction, for example, in the streets,
[00:12:50] Nir Hindi: [00:12:50] why, how people respond to that?
[00:12:52] Manel de Aguas: [00:12:52] Depending on the place. I mean, I live in a city. It’s not that hard, let’s say, but I mean, people look at all what, it’s fine. I also am curious for the people them, you know, but it’s sometimes could be a little bit more violent and if it’s a small village, maybe. Maybe some people could scream something at you, you know, that could be situations, get a little bit violent, not physically yet, but like verbally, maybe, but that’s, what’s happened in a lot with the people that other circles like queer people or, you know, like.
[00:13:29] at the end it is diversity, the accepting of the diversity and maybe in the cities, it gets easier or maybe not, you know, depending on the place.
[00:13:38] Nir Hindi: [00:13:38] Yeah. So your experience is mixed friends and family slowly get it or accepted. And the sounding is depends. Yeah. I think, you know, as human beings, normally we tend to kind of reject what we are not familiar with in seeing this kind of, probably create this antagonism about what those guys are doing. Moon, how was the experience for you?
[00:13:59] Moon Ribas: [00:13:59] The implant is the last thing of the process.
[00:14:03] First, you think about the, what you want to feel. Then you find the technology that first you tried outside, and then the last step is to implant. So it’s actually a long and a slow process. I guess, my family, when. Actually support support. I don’t notice a it’s a bit like this thing that I do weird things and it’s like, Oh, now you do this.
[00:14:30] Okay. Well, whatever, just saying that I did like contemporary art it’s already, they, they do art. They’re very quite artistic family. But I’ve been more classical? No, like classic theater. So when I do, they always, okay. Labeled me with weird our thing. So this is part of the pack and yeah. And I know some friends connected more with the idea and some friends, they don’t connect that much, very different from Manel or Neil because, uh, their new sense it’s they send something that is very close.
[00:15:06] So they have it outside. Because mine is connect to internet. So I then need to have an external organ to sell body parts. So I, I don’t have all these social interaction, these involuntary social interaction that sometimes I, because growing up with Neil I could see a lot, and I think it’s, it’s actually very hard.
[00:15:26] Then I remember sometimes Neil said, Oh, have it with an incentive, like no, no way. I mean, it brings them a lots of good things because I think they meet people that I would never meet. Uh, and this is the nice thing, but they there’s also like they can be admired in one state. And then last of a rate in the next one, it’s a thing it’s hard.
[00:15:47] It’s hard to have this external organ people usually. Yeah. When, when it’s something that they
[00:15:53] don’t know, people tend to laugh or reject it, as you said it.
[00:15:57]Nir Hindi: [00:15:57] So for the listeners that don’t know Neil is the third member of the transpecies society, which we will talk in a second. And he has actually a camera that connected into his head that allows him to actually hear colors. in a way you are pioneers in the work that you are doing. And I wonder from your experiences as an artist, what do you think is the role of the artist in society?
[00:16:23] Moon Ribas: [00:16:23] I have different answers.
[00:16:24] I think artists are. I guess artwork usually expresses the point of view of the artist, of how it’s a reflection of how you see what you’ve seen, how you understand the world. I think they’ll have a new sense. It’s normal that our artists it’s about this because it’s the peculiarity about how we experience the world.
[00:16:47] And I think usually. When we, especially many years ago, technology was used for a very practical reasons, but not for experiments. So people will accept that it was there for medical reasons, or just like to be very functional. people, our society accepts that we can use technology in this way.
[00:17:10] But then to experiment and to do art, then some people, I think now people are starting to accept it, but 15 years, years ago, everyone was like, but why, why not just like, it, it feels like if you United in Nigeria has to be very functional reason and it just to experience the world. And then when you have these experience, then maybe you’re, you can, you can think definitely also, and specifically for my, my artwork, which is like feeling.
[00:17:37] The earthquakes it’s about listening how alive our earth is. And sometimes we build and we live our life forgetting actually how our planet is so in my art pieces, I try to maybe. Have this moment, give the audience this moment of just to stop and listen.
[00:17:59]Nir Hindi: [00:17:59] when we hosted you here in Madrid for the startup conference, after your talk, we had conversation, you mentioned kind of a philosophical aspect of it that you said that if we feel what we are doing to earth, maybe we will live in respond differently.
[00:18:14] I remember that it’s something that kind of resonates with me a lot, especially I think in today’s situation when everyone’s speaking about climate c but not a lot of people actually are doing something about it. So maybe, you know, using kind of those experiences that you give us feeling what we are doing can touch different.
[00:18:36] Moon Ribas: [00:18:36] I think Manel will also think that, but it’s also creating a empathy. No, like if you, if you feel closer, if you understand better where you are, I guess you will behave differently because you will have more empathy. I feel like that’s why we keep saying that we do art. So we are allowed to experiment and, and, and make quests.
[00:18:58] I think artists and philosophers that are ones who can make questions and not to give answers because we’re not functional. It’s about the experience and, and questioning where, where we are, the other people give answers. I think it’s important also to question yourself,
[00:19:17] Nir Hindi: [00:19:17] I totally they did agree. I think what they like about this is that artist needs with questions before we will hear about the role of the artist from Manel’s perspective, let’s take a short break.
[00:19:32] Thank you again for coming back. I’m speaking with Moon and Manel two cyborgs about how technology influence their senses or expand their senses. And just before the break, I asked moon about the role of the artist and now Manel, I’m interested to hear your perspective.
[00:19:50] What do you think is the, role of the artists or at least what you are trying to do with your work?
[00:19:54] Manel de Aguas: [00:19:54] Um, the role of the artist is to make questions, not put different topics on the table to discuss through your own artworks. I think when you create like an artwork or you are creating something like physical in making it like real. So it’s something that you can discuss about it. No, you can create, there’s a panel around sometimes and art, sometimes it’s a transgressive. No? And that’s what creates more questions and different opinions in the people. But that’s an interesting point. I think when there’s like this kind of discussion is because, there’s, minds thinking no? And that’s what makes the evolution of society in a way.
[00:20:35] So I think that art has like this super important role of the society evolves through the art or art is the reflection of the evolution of the society. You know, both in both ways
[00:20:48]Nir Hindi: [00:20:48] you insisted about the fact that your sense is not about making you better in the, I would say the hierarchy in the, of nature, but rather create something else and you we’ve referred to it as horizontal hirerachy what do you mean?
[00:21:03] Manel de Aguas: [00:21:03] Yeah. What I mean is that all these species are there’s no vertical hierarchy where the human species are better than the other ones. No, that’s what we see in our current society. We are eating a lot of animals day by day in were killing them actually for our consume.
[00:21:24] No? And like, there’s a big point of view in society about like this key off species where some of them are under the regiment or of others. No. So, yeah, basically that’s what it means to me to see nature in an horizontal line to see that we all deserve the same respect that, and not less than others, you know?
[00:21:49] And that’s what happened. I think after like getting inspired by nature and other animals and. Like adding to your body, body parts that are inspired in that, that animals, for example, because you kind of get closer to them, you know, you get more identified by them. Yeah. That’s when you realized you becoming something different, that was you one before.
[00:22:12] So that’s. As I see myself as, and Moon thing like trans-species no, we also call this as a trans-species movement because we are kind of breaking the walls of our human identity and we started to feel less human than before, or discovering a part inside us that doesn’t represent. It’s not. Terribly represented by the human identity, no? By out of the human world and that feeling, it also gets you closer to the other species because you understand that you are a different species among the, the others, you know, but you’re not better and you’re not less than the other.
[00:22:49] So if you deserve this respect in this diversity, everyone deserves it. So. Nature is horizontal everyone deserves dress back. And I think that is a good way to see it.
[00:23:02] Nir Hindi: [00:23:02] Yeah. And maybe the moment we will adopt this kind of point of view, maybe we will treat nature differently. I want to maybe ask a bit about the type of the different works that you did.
[00:23:13] And I want to ask you Moon about the work that you had with people walking in, and then it’s kind of involved the data and new knowledge. And can you tell us about this project a bit?
[00:23:24] Moon Ribas: [00:23:24] Yeah, I actually i think this was the first project that I ever did uniting with technology, I had a type of earrings that allow me to know the speed of the people walking in front of me.
[00:23:35] So if someone was walking from right to left, that would feel original my right ear. And then my left ear. And depending of the interval of iteration, I would know the speeds of the people. doing these, I realize that actually we as a society, like a common body that works, we tend to change our speed depending of the people that we have around.
[00:23:57] So inconsciously you would probably walk faster if you are in London, that if you are in Rome, because there’s a, a common tendency and I was uh, really fascinated by that. So I started the project of defining each capital city of Europe by the speed of the citizens. Who was the fact that London, London is very fast.
[00:24:18] Stockholm was very fast too. And as low as was the Vatican city. It was basically a very long queue, a line of people waiting.
[00:24:31]Nir Hindi: [00:24:31] did it give you a new realizations and new insights about our society from this project?
[00:24:36] Moon Ribas: [00:24:36] Yeah, like this common movement sense, I think, I think it’s, I found it like kind of beautiful that we, without even noticing, we tend to relate to each other unconsciously through movement.
[00:24:48] And that’s why I had these needs of advocating this movement dictionary that I could. And also, I like the idea of defining cities in another way. Usually we don’t talk about the movement of the cities. It was like another, another layer to add yeah in the city,
[00:25:05] Nir Hindi: [00:25:05] it sounds like technologies that James Bond will have, you know, kind of feeling how people move around him, et cetera.
[00:25:12] So it’s very interesting to kind of experience it. And you had another project that was involving having kind of teeth no? That you did with Neil. What is this project?
[00:25:27] Moon Ribas: [00:25:27] That was an experiment also that we did. We were invited to Messa Carrera in, in Sao Paulo Brazil. And we spent a week, we had 15 people that we could do a project together.
[00:25:40] Uh, so we spend there a week I have a tooth missing and Neil had two teeth missing. So we thought that maybe we could design a tooth that we could communicate to each other with this tooth. So a prototype was implanted in. No, no, not implanted, but like puts it in my mouth and then another one was put it in, in Neil mouth.
[00:26:02] And whenever I click, I press my teeth. He would feel a vibration whenever he, he clicked with his teeth, I would feel a bit ration, both learn them the most goats a long time ago for performance. So we were actually able to communicate from tooth to tooth by clicking our mouth. And the funny thing was, was that actually was a.
[00:26:25] It worked with Bluetooth. So it was a Bluetooth tooth for real
[00:26:29] Nir Hindi: [00:26:29] nice, nice. I love it. New ways of communicating actually taking from the past the most code, which by the way, I don’t know if people know, but Samuel Morse was a painter before he invented actually the morse code and the electrical Telegraph.
[00:26:46] So that’s an either, I think an example for that actually. Start from art and going into technology. So yeah,
[00:26:53] Moon Ribas: [00:26:53] about this using of technology is I find it quite natural for me. It’s not that it’s real. I mean, we are in 2020 and we are surrounded with technology. So I think it’s natural for artists to use the tools that we have around to create and an experiment.
[00:27:11] Probably if I would. be born a hundred years ago. Yeah. We do art best in a very different way. So I guess. It’s part of the times it will even to create this way.
[00:27:22] Nir Hindi: [00:27:22] Yeah. I think you’re touching exactly one of the points again, this mystification of art. People think again, that artists only work with painting.
[00:27:29] And I always say artist are living in the same time as we are. And they’re experimenting with everything that is available, whether it is technology, biology, science, or whatever it’s available. Manel, what are the projects that you are working on now?
[00:27:45] Manel de Aguas: [00:27:45] Right now I’m starting to design the next weather fins because my aim is to make them lighter and smaller.
[00:27:54] And also I want to do some changes with the wifi connection, because my aim is also to be able to connect myself to other, uh, weather stations in the world without having to be there. So I could be hearing how’s the rain arriving to Tokyo from my room in Barcelona. And yeah, that’s what I’m doing now.
[00:28:18] Nir Hindi: [00:28:18] I’m looking at those fins that you have, and I’m wondering, will it be available for someone to buy it at certain point, if I want to install those fins in my head?
[00:28:28] Manel de Aguas: [00:28:28] I’m not. yet i guess. Like, it takes a lot of time, uh, to create just one pair of fins and I’m working it as an art project. I dunno. I’m not thinking of a product yet, but yeah.
[00:28:45] Who knows?
[00:28:46] Nir Hindi: [00:28:46] And one of the things that you also did both of you and Moon and Manel together with Neil is that you started actually a cyborg lab. And when I read the mission of the cyborg lab and. In a second. I will hate it to our listeners. I was amazed. It sounds when you read it in a way, it kind of sun something futuristic that I read in a maybe science fiction book, but you actually are doing it in the day-to-day.
[00:29:10] What is the purpose of this lab?
[00:29:12] Moon Ribas: [00:29:12] I guess it’s like the, the aims of the cyber foundation. Now we, we basically have three aims. One is to help people to become a cyborg, to create new senses and new body parts, then their perception. The other one is to promote, say, cyborg art as artistic movement. And the other one is to defend cyborg rights, the right, and the freedom that everyone should have.
[00:29:36] To be able to design how they want to be and what senses and body parts do they want to have.
[00:29:41] Nir Hindi: [00:29:41] I want to ask you something, you know, if you touch something over here that I think it’s at least essential for me to understand you say defend human rights to actually design their own senses. Why, why you feel that you need to do it?
[00:29:54] Moon Ribas: [00:29:54] Well, yeah, the, the, the right of being able to, to have the freedom, to decide what senses and organs we want to have. For example, yeah. To have basic rights of having these, for example, implanting new body parts in your body, and that if you have a new body part that you are allowed to work anywhere. To go to the cinema.
[00:30:18] For example, I remember many years ago that Neil wasn’t allowed to cinema because they thought that they would, he would be filming the, the yeah. Cinemas or in casinos is not allowed. So there are many, or he, uh, some jobs he cannot have. So there’s some restrictions about having this newer parts, because people are not used to, of seeing them, I guess.
[00:30:41] And then, yeah, that’s what we said before. No, usually it’s this yeah. Rejection when you don’t know something. So it’s just like, and the right to be able to have the surgeries that they, that now it’s not illegal or, Oh, they are legal. There’s like a gap. I think we all defend the freedom of of being able to defining yourself as you want to be and designing how you want to be. So it’s also about, uh, either define us as they want to be. And then on modality, if you want to explain this better when my activity.
[00:31:14] Manel de Aguas: [00:31:14] Yeah, no, basically that we come from many situations. We are not allowed to be ourselves.
[00:31:19] You know, it’s like, uh, I can pass we through the airplane or securities without having to reply many questions or, you know, like these different situations. Like I have problems to find a job like working in a bar or on a shop, this kind of things that in the end are a problem for the daily life and the right to be free to add your new body parts is like, you know, way, a way of, um, To defend the, this freedom that we have, but people is not aware of it.
[00:31:55] You know, I don’t know, like this kind of discrimination
[00:31:59] Moon Ribas: [00:31:59] to that also makes me think about the internet thing. Not like let’s, we can be hacked and like, do you usually that and what they said that the rights also, actually we started to write the bill of rights and there’s like, Five rules that I don’t remember all of them, but there are line.
[00:32:17] And for example, is the rights of deciding who enters your body or not. Like, if you have internet in your body, you are supposed to be hacked so that you can decide that not everyone can, can enter through your body. Also, for example, the new body part is treated as part of yourself. If someone is pulling Manel’s fins that the, this is considered physical aggression, not like property aggression.
[00:32:44] Nir Hindi: [00:32:44] You’re touching very interesting points over here. I want to ask you, I mean, now that you’re talking about it, suddenly it’s kind of occurred to me that actually, if you are connected to the internet, someone can hack it. I mean, what do you do? How do you actually defend it? Because you have it in your body.
[00:33:00] Moon Ribas: [00:33:00] Uh, it hasn’t happened to me, but I guess I think it would be easy, I guess someone would be for me, it’s it’s not that extreme, like, I guess, I mean, someone can make it be great. My implant all the time. No. And then maybe I, who disconnected. I know Neil has been hacked once and he received some colors that he wasn’t.
[00:33:23] Perceiving in that moment, but he says that he likes it. So it’s not that bad.
[00:33:28] Nir Hindi: [00:33:28] Okay. And Manel, you mentioned the airports. How do you actually pass all the electronic security Gates
[00:33:35] Manel de Aguas: [00:33:35] explaining them? at the end it’s like, you have to have a conversation.
[00:33:40] Yeah. Most of the times, but I guess it helps, like also as Neil has like passport, it shows, you know, like he appears with his antena and these in a way it’s gets the things easier, you know, the situation easier. But anyway, for him as well, Yeah, like a moment, you know,
[00:34:03] Nir Hindi: [00:34:03] maybe slowly, slowly, slowly, where we get the people we’ll get maybe 10 years from now, it will be natural that you enter into the airplane or to the security with technology or fins in your head.
[00:34:15] So I want to go back to the foundation. What exactly are the activities that you’re taking this foundation it’s basically based in Barcelona and you also have a space there, right? Yeah. What do you do then? Because if I remember you also have artist-in-residence and you create kind of, you create events, et cetera.
[00:34:32] I mean, what is the purpose? Obviously it’s fulfilled the mission, but what exactly are those activities?
[00:34:38] Manel de Aguas: [00:34:38] Yeah. The main activity I would say is like the lab is the creation of new sensors and new organs. This is the base, but in the end, like the foundation, it’s a space where we can speak and we can discuss about these topics and you can express you’re free to express.
[00:34:57]the, this kind of identity is a cyborg and its transpecies identities. It’s like a safe space for these, uh, identities.
[00:35:06] Nir Hindi: [00:35:06] And how does it work? Someone has an idea. They want to design technology for their own body. I mean, how can I get into this lab?
[00:35:14] Manel de Aguas: [00:35:14] Well, basically the lab is a combination of different people from different branches.
[00:35:19] So there’s electronic designers , philosophers artists, um, people in the health area no? And in the, like we create like a unique subject, which is the creation of new senses and new. Oregon’s um, but that’s exactly these different branches they keep, the people came from, uh, is what makes the project more interesting because we all have different points of view, uh, depending on which is our area, you know, and it’s beautiful because it’s like projects that are made in a team.
[00:35:55] Teamwork, you know,
[00:35:57] Nir Hindi: [00:35:57] and, and it’s open for everyone? So listeners that now listen, go to dot com and then they apply and then they can enter to work with you to design their own senses.
[00:36:09] Manel de Aguas: [00:36:09] I mean, there’s a kind of application, like, because in the end it’s impossible to be working in a lot of projects the same time.
[00:36:18] the lab itself has its own project. So yeah, it’s been changing actually in the beginning it was more open, I guess, in terms of like taking projects from the outside. And now I think it’s more focus on creating, um, Projects from the cyber foundation itself. But I think we are all, we are always open, you know, to consider and to listen the proposals from the people around and that’s yeah what make us evolve as well.
[00:36:50] Nir Hindi: [00:36:50] So if you have an idea, just go to cyborgarts.com and try to reach out to the guys. we always speak about when we will be able to install technologies into our body, et cetera, et cetera and everyone will be able to do it maybe personally, but you guys are not waiting for the future.
[00:37:10] One of the things that is incredible to me is that you are doing actually live surgeries you’re on Instagram. I saw a few of them actually taking place. And while we are waiting in there, I would say in the mainstream to the ability to do those surgery, you are actually using the social media. To do those surgeries.
[00:37:28] And that’s something that kind of surprised me a lot. I’m interested. Do you have some exciting ideas that developed in the labs that not necessarily came from you, but came from the outside from other people?
[00:37:41]Manel de Aguas: [00:37:41] for example, projects that I’ve liked have been like in a workshop that we did with a university, uh, and it was like a spine, you know,
[00:37:55] um, that it was connected to the, um, tight from a beach, like in Canada.
[00:38:02] Nir Hindi: [00:38:02] Okay.
[00:38:03] Moon Ribas: [00:38:03] For example, this week, a workshop in South of France again, did it. And there was the tide from also
[00:38:11] Manel de Aguas: [00:38:11] San Michelle now. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So they are very similar, not this both, but I really like it like the way that you could feel that the spine was connected to the tide of the, of this in Canada.
[00:38:25] And every time the tide came up, like you were able to feel through a heating point, how, how these, the tide was changing, uh, wherever you were, you know,
[00:38:36] Nir Hindi: [00:38:36] so first of all, I’m very happy to hear that university actually invited you to create, to host a workshop. It means that this young generation actually is exposed to your ideas and hopefully will take it forward maybe. Or join the movement of accepting this type of emerging technologies with our bodies. so Manel, you mentioned you are going to improve your fins and your Moon. Are you working on something else?
[00:39:02] Moon Ribas: [00:39:02] Uh, yeah, actually, um I, I took the implants of the, of the seismic sense out.
[00:39:09] Nir Hindi: [00:39:09] On Instagram again, live.
[00:39:10] Moon Ribas: [00:39:10] Yeah. Yeah. I had to share it now because I had this project for almost seven years having this I wanted to have a change, a radical change. And I guess the most radical thing I thought I could do it was to take them out. So, this is what I did and it was actually very, very scary because I thought that everything would change.
[00:39:31] And then that happened to me in a very weird thing, because I had the implants. And then when I took them out, I could still feel the vibrations of the implants inside me. So I had this. Phantom effect for, for some months. So I was like, uh, we, we joked about another, maybe I was like a Phantom cyberog because I didn’t have the implants where they feel good, feel the next sense.
[00:39:56] And now I’m thinking of a new sense and maybe something related to the ocean to something that I also see, no, like the planet so much, almost everything is water, but we know so little about it. Actually, this, this past months, I been studying to take my boat license. So, you know, to navigate in the under sea and, uh, hopefully to, to know more about this.
[00:40:25] How the ocean and then thinking, how, what, what could I feel there? So in a way, I have been, in earth, And now I’m moving to water.
[00:40:34] Nir Hindi: [00:40:34] Nice. When you had it, you also moved between earth and moon and that’s, I think the real moon that you sense the moon itself. And that I think for another even conversation, but we’ll definitely make sure two ad.
[00:40:45] The links to your different projects and profile on our home page. So you touched on an interesting point and I want to hear maybe your thoughts on that. You actually said, okay, I had the sense for seven years, but now I can find something else. While evolution gave us 5 senses. That basically we can, we have them as, as a standard with your approach.
[00:41:05] Actually, we can change our senses. Manel, you think that at certain point you also would like to change your sense. So currently you’re happy with the fins.
[00:41:13] Manel de Aguas: [00:41:13] I’m happy with the fins. but I, I know I’m also a person that, uh, likes to evolve a lot, but that’s up in part why I really liked the rain now because rain it’s like something that to me means like the change, knowing the renewal of things.
[00:41:29] And to me, You know, way to be connected to the rainy is, to be like renewing myself all the time, you know, is another way of changing myself. And I don’t know, I don’t know if these, uh, constant change, uh, with the rain and my life it will make me happier forever, you know, because I will be always changing anyway.
[00:41:54] Or not, or maybe i will go for a bigger change. I don’t know.
[00:41:58] Nir Hindi: [00:41:58] Did you get both from this one or maybe one to find them? Yeah. we’re getting into the end of the conversation and I want to hear maybe your thought as an artist about technology in general, how do you feel technology may be influencing us or where do you think technology will go because you’re taking a much more experimental approach with a technology, not necessarily totalitarian approach to technology. And I’m just wanting to get your thoughts about what’s happening today with technology and society.
[00:42:32] Moon Ribas: [00:42:32] I think with this, uh, coronavirus and everything, I have like two feelings, one, I think that it’s actually the future is non-technological at all, planes will stop the, I think the internet maybe also will stop and we will go back to just the staying very close moving like we, our grandparents used to live. Sometimes I have these, this feeling that this is this era that we’re experimenting.
[00:43:06] It’s. It will last. for example, they have, which are, I remember talking with Niels that 3D printing, 3d printing is I think the most revolution thing that exists now that you can’t really bring everything. Uh, so the way that we deal, the way we do things, it’s, eh, it’s, this is actually will change how we, how we interact every day.
[00:43:31] And then, yeah. And then the other way is that. I guess that it will be that the people won’t have phones in their hands, that it will be much more, everything will be much more robotic, I guess.
[00:43:43] Nir Hindi: [00:43:43] Yeah, two weeks ago, actually we hosted in our podcast, the creative director of Stratasys is one of the leader market in three D printing.
[00:43:50] And they have a program that work without this, in order to explore the future of three D printing and actually from a project that they have with a designer, I think they actually developed a new technology that allowed them now to print organs. So now they’re working on developing new organs. So yeah, totally I think there is a lot of potential over there. So for you moon to two things about technology and society. One, maybe we are eliminating technology and going back to living a more simple life or more human to human life, which by the way, are very connected to what you are saying. And the second part is that we have a lot of what to expect from 3D printing..
[00:44:30] Manel, what are your thoughts about the technology? Society? The future?
[00:44:35] Manel de Aguas: [00:44:35] Yeah, I guess the X is like lots of futures in this way. Like we can see the both paths that Moon described. I think that like cite that grows now. It’s like, it creates the same thing to the other now, because in the end it’s the same coin.
[00:44:53] Let’s say different different sites. But yeah, you mentioned more like a future where if we can go out home, like I think as this pandemic, I guess we have to get ready for future ones, you know? And it’s like, I imagine that maybe there will be one day that we have to spend a year or like long, you know, or more in inside our houses.
[00:45:21] In the other way of going out would be like virtually in meeting your friends, like in a virtual room while you’re sending, you know, like, or laying in your, in your bedroom. So I guess we’re moving. More into a technological world. I think also like considering the history, like we’ve been doing this, I guess these will still happen, you know, because it’s like, since we started like the creating the knife and all this stuff, this was already, you know, like a modification of.
[00:45:58] Well, I don’t know, like, like kind of creating technical or, you know, tools, uh, to, to survive or to whatever. And we have technology nowadays and I think we’ll start exploring with the technologies and being more involved with them.
[00:46:16] Nir Hindi: [00:46:16] So,
[00:46:17] Manel de Aguas: [00:46:17] yeah,
[00:46:21] Moon Ribas: [00:46:21] yeah. There’s also the this thing that. Everything changes very fast, which, which they, they do. They, it’s very different when I grew up that now. But, but sometimes, yeah, I think society also takes long time to accept things, because I remember like the first time Neil had the antena, they then did it so obvious with a vibe five years, everything.
[00:46:43]And it’s still 15 years later and now people are doing conferences about cyborgs with that, it’s like, we have the feeling that everything will be very different. Maybe I have this idea that everything will be very different, but actually it won’t be that different. You know, some of them have these things maybe for my grandchildren will be very different.
[00:47:02] My, my children in, I don’t know, in our lifetime, I’m not, I’m not sure.
[00:47:06] Nir Hindi: [00:47:06] Yeah. I think that, you know, at the end human basics, love, desire, hate, anger, the same feelings we had five or six or 7,000 years ago and most likely we will have also in the future. And at the end, I think that humans are humans. We respond to things maybe differently in different periods.
[00:47:27] guys, I want to say big, thanks for taking the time and sharing your thoughts, talking about the different challenges, opportunities. I definitely enjoy it. I hope you enjoy it as well. So any last thoughts or message you would like to the listeners to get something inspirational?
[00:47:47] Moon Ribas: [00:47:47] I usually how i end up. Sometimes like the, the decision of how to use technology. It’s ours, I think. Uh, so there’s, we feel that, uh, some, everyone else is the same for you. And I think it’s important to, to take responsibility. And you are the one who decides how you to use this technology and to use what you have around.
[00:48:15] Manel de Aguas: [00:48:15] Yeah. And I think that, uh, for the listeners, I think that, yeah, The people doesn’t need to be afraid of technology, you know, and that the cyberog future, because in the end, we’re very, like we’ve watched like society have to watch a lot of scifi movies and actually it’s not that like, not that way at all, you know, we are not terminators.
[00:48:38] We are coming to the world, you know, and it, you know, in the end it’s like it’s one eye. I think we will have the freedom to decide if they want to become cyborgs to unite with technology or not. And I think, yeah. Just to end, like yeah. That maybe to meet us today could be like an example that how diversity is growing now and I, yeah.
[00:49:05] And how we have to respect this diversity that is coming because it’s not, you know, it’s just different diversity of the planet. Yeah.
[00:49:14] Nir Hindi: [00:49:14] And I think with this2 optimistic message, we will end moon. Thank you very much.
[00:49:19] Moon Ribas: [00:49:19] Thank you so much.
[00:49:20] Nir Hindi: [00:49:20] My name is thank you very much for your time and stay tuned for our next episode.
[00:49:28] Moon Ribas: [00:49:28] bye.