Possible Bodies


Item number: 017
Item title: MakeHuman
Year in which the item emerged culturally or was produced industrially: 2008
Entry of the item into the inventory: 11/2014
Activities in which the item participated: GenderBlending, Un/ruly Bodies, Posthuman Glossary
Inventor(s) for this item: Possible Bodies

MakeHuman is '3D computer graphics middleware designed for the prototyping of photo realistic humanoids' and has gained visibility and popularity over time. It is actively developed by a collective of programmers, algorithms, modelers and academics and used by amateur animators to prototype modeling, by natural history museums for creating exhibition displays, by engineers to test multi-camera systems and by game-developers for sketching bespoke characters. Developers and users evidently work together to define and codify the conditions of presence for virtual bodies in MakeHuman. Since each of the agents in this collective somehow operates under the Modern regime of representation, we find the software full of assumptions about the naturality of perspective-based and linear representations, the essential properties of the species and so forth. Through its curious naming the project evokes the demiurg, dreaming of 'making' 'humans'to resemble his own image, the deviceful naming is a reminder of how the semiotic-material secrets of life's flows are strongly linked to the way software represents or allows bodies to be represented.