Giving a Hand (and Arm)
During the fall semester of 2008, 21 SVA MFA Designer as Author students were given an assignment by Allan Chochinov to create designs for upper limb prosthetics. “Through readings, research, and an incredible group of guest critics including Aimee Mullins, Jon Kuniholm, Frank Wilson and Elliot Washor, the students attempted to put a dent in what may arguably be one of the most daunting design challenges imaginable—to design a better prosthetic arm,” he writes on the new website devoted to the outcome. “The students took different approaches to the problem: some attacked it directly with mechanical improvements to existing prosthetics. Other students offered devices and garments that introduced alternative modalities or provided new functionality. Some students took a more abstract approach, creating formal, often sculptural, gestures as a way to help us think about the notion of ‘prosthetic,’ while others took an extremely conceptual approach to investigating the paradigms and cultures around prosthetics and amputees.” Above and below are some of the approaches, which are distinguished on the site as Decorative, Playful, Utilitarian and Awareness. (Above: Hands of Wisdom by Dohun Park; below: Backpack Strap by Matthew Heckart; bottom: Toobers & Zots by Mariana Uchoa).