this exhibition explores the future of the body modification

Nicola Formichetti talks about his alien contribution to the surreal 'A. Human' show.

by Jack Sunnucks
31 August 2018, 2:58pm

The Corset and The Nautilus. Photos courtesy of A. Human/Luke Abby. 

A. Human is the new exhibition already endorsed by Kim Kardashian, which asks what’s next in body modification. No, not more piercings, or tattoos of Spirited Away characters — these fleshy protrusions are more akin to the work of Thierry Mugler, if Mugler was outfitting the next Alien film. Artist and designer Nicola Formichetti contributed his own piece, which looks like a set of reptilian horns for the shoulders — he got the very un-reptilian Andreja Pejic to model them for him. The exhibition opens September 5 in New York — here Formichetti talks about his life-long obsession with the future of our bodies.

Body modification and a kind of android future are things that have always interested you — why is that?
I always loved to think about the future, and I’m obsessed with science fiction and the fantasy world. Being between reality and fantasy, the blurred lines. How to change the human anatomy. From ancient, traditional body modification, to punks. And aliens! I just think it’s so interesting.

Right, it’s both ancient and modern — body modification isn’t a new obsession.
I’m obsessed with ancient aliens, futuristic aliens… I recommend you go on this website Oh my God! It started as a yoga website and it’s turned into this strange site where they talk about aliens and secret societies. All that stuff. That’s what I do at night, watch Gaia. I really recommend it! The episodes are called cosmic disclosure, and they talk about time travel and stuff like that [laughs].

Back to body modification. On a base level, plastic surgery has become so extreme that it’s now quite alien.
Either we’re going to be taken over by machines or morph into another being, right? One or the other, or both. So it’s kind of happening. Either nature or AI will take over. I just love to play with that idea. I’m not trying to do anything new, I’m just catching these ideas from science fiction and doing my take on it.

How did you become involved with A. Human?
I’ve been chatting with Simon [Huck], and he told me about the project. I said, “Wow, I’d love to get involved, sounds right up my street.” I’m so happy that someone is bridging the sci-fi and fashion worlds. I think it’s about time. During fashion week [laughs]! Glad to be part of it.

How would you describe the shoulder horns you’ve contributed?
I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of shoulders. Throughout fashion history, shoulders are a really great indication of where we are in time. The 80s, 50s, 40, dropped shoulders or big shoulders. For the 80s, we really talk about the larger silhouette of the shoulders giving power to people. So I was kind of going with that. What would shoulders look like in 100 years? Maybe there’s not even garments anymore. We probably are part of the garments! So I wanted to do something a little a little human, but also insectoid, or lizard. Thus the blue colors. A slight change in proportion in the shoulder changes everything. With a slight change you can really talk about the time, and what you want to say.

If you could have an alien appearance for the week, what would you want to do?
[Laughs] Oh my God! I’d love to shape shift and change my entire face to whatever I want. No particular form, but whoever I want to be. If we’re going with body modification, I’d love a bigger ass!

Nicola Formichetti