All photos by Carlos Pareja, courtesy of Joe Dekni

this artist got a piece of machinery implanted in his cheekbones

i-D meets the Spanish cyborg pushing the boundaries of body modification.

by Raquel Zas
24 October 2018, 2:05pm

All photos by Carlos Pareja, courtesy of Joe Dekni

This article originally appeared on i-D Spain

The more entrenched technology becomes in our lives, the more people are beginning to think that cyborgs are just the logical next step in the evolution of humanity. Naturally, some people are choosing to put themselves at the forefront of this, by converting parts of their bodies to machinery.

One of those guys is artist Joe Dekni, who last week got a piece of machinery implanted in his cheekbones. The artificial organ was based on the echolocation sonar used by bats to identify objects in their environment, and is meant to allow Dekni to feel the vibrations of his surroundings. The operation took place at the Transpecies Society space in Barcelona and was part of a performance piece that also included an audiovisual installation.

At 22, Joe calls himself an "artist, or perhaps an alchemist," and attributes the ability to introduce this permanent addition to his body to Neil Harbisson — the first person to have been legally recognized as a cyborg by a government. "I was intrigued by the idea of being able to perceive the paranormal or the invisible. I decided to develop my sense of echolocation, which animals like bats or dolphins already have naturally," he explained to i-D Spain after the performance. The artist decided to make his operation public in an attempt to demonstrate that furthering your senses is just another option that people can have today — "just another way of living," as he put it.

"The first thing I felt upon receiving the vibrations was a burning sensation followed by a feeling of satisfaction. It was similar to what you might feel when getting a tattooing but more intense. Then I felt happiness and pain at the same time," he added. "Cyborg technology is offering us a look into the unknown. My purpose with this project is to perceive the nonphysical or paranormal so I can find further avenues of self-development."

Hopefully, in the future, cyborg technology will help more people improve their lives. And that is ultimately the goal of Harbisson's Cyborg Foundation: "to be part of the progress."

More images from Joe Dekni's performance below:

Neil Harbisson
Neil Harbisson
i-d spain
joe dekni
i-D International
cyborg tenchnology
Transpecies Society​