The MakeHuman bugreport

@ MuHKA

Leuvenstraat 2000, Antwerpen (BE)

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With : Adva Zakai, Xavier Gorgol and Femke Snelting.

MakeHuman is a popular open source 3D computer graphics middle-ware for the modelling of 3-Dimensional humanoid characters. The software is developed by a community of programmers, modellers and academics. Our interest in MakeHuman was triggered during GenderBlending, an event where a participants from various backgrounds experimented at the contact zones of gender and technology.

A signature feature of the MakeHuman interface is a set of horizontal sliders, suggesting that by interpolating settings for gender, race, weight and age, any ‘human’ representation can be ‘made’. While the neat arrangements of parameters for operating on incomparable and interconnected properties is already troubling in itself, further inspection reveals an extremely limited topology, rendering the promise of infinite possibilities a mere illusion.

Despite the suggestion that the digital dis-burdens bodies from normative parameters, software like MakeHuman actually operates on problematic categorical divisions that are all-too familiar.

Aiming to address concerns and insights regarding the way the body and the human being are being co-constructed through technology, we have started to formulate a bugreport. In the context of Daemons & Shellscripts we would like to test out and discuss a performative lecture in the making, a ‘report on the report’.

Coming from different backgrounds (Femke from media-design, Xavier from animation-art and Adva from dance and choreography), our respective inquiries about the relationship between body and technology meet at times through our practices and perspectives. For The MakeHuman bugreport we will combine those to not only convey words, but actions and images as well.

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