A visionary performance artist who has designed her own prosthetic limbs will visit Australia for the first time this weekend to share her approach to the body as art courtesy of QUT and the World Science Festival Brisbane (WSFB).
Latvian-born Viktoria Modesta is often labelled the world’s first widely known amputee pop artist. She had her left leg amputated below the knee at the age of 20 after years of problems resulting from damage caused during her birth.
The decision to do so was hers and she says it freed her up to take control of her body and pursue her creative and musical ambitions.
Modesta calls herself a ‘bionic artist’ and has since taken the world by storm with work she describes as post-human and post-disability, bridging performance art, music and fashion with technology, science and medicine.
Following her performance as the Snow Queen in the closing ceremony of the London Paralympics 2012 wearing a diamond encrusted prosthetic, she teamed up with the Alternative Limb Project to help design a series of prosthetics that she wore in a 2014 UK Channel 4 video collaboration titled Prototype which has had more than 11 million views on YouTube.
Her various prosthetic limbs, which include a jet-black spike, a stereo leg with built-in speaker and another with embedded LEDS to create a light show, are a perfect fusion of fashion, art and functionality.
Modesta will talk about ‘the body as art concept’ at QUT’s signature WSFB event - Innovation by Design: Geeks, Style Gurus and Sciencepreneurs on Sunday 24 March at QPAC. She will join a group of innovators to explain the science behind their inspirations, from wearable technology and smart fashion to medical and engineering devices.
Panellists include QUT’s Distinguished Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher, director of the QUT-based Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the ARC Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing, and Dr Alice Payne, a senior lecturer in fashion in QUT’s School of Design whose research centres on environmental and social sustainability throughout textile and apparel industry supply chains.
Modesta’s appearance at the World Science Festival Brisbane will be followed on Monday afternoon by a panel discussion at QUT’s Creative Industries precinct on The Liberating Possibilities of Technology.
“Viktoria’s work in creating Protype for the Channel 4 #BornRisky campaign was extraordinary – the video has been viewed 16 million times on the network’s Facebook page and has redefined our notions of beauty,” said Professor Gene Moyle, Associate Dean, International and Advancement, Creative Industries Faculty, QUT.
“Her futuristic approach on 'the body as art concept' saw her selected as a Director’s Fellow at MIT Media Lab which has led her to collaborate on a more academic level with artists working with technology and science, architects and multiple cultural institutions worldwide.
“Viktoria has proven disability is no barrier to stardom and we are thrilled to be hosting her as part of QUT’s participation in World Science Festival Brisbane.”
Professor Moyle will join Modesta for the panel discussion at QUT, along with fashion lecturer Icaro Ibanez-Arricivita whose current research project explores the Aesthetics of Prosthetics with the aim of developing a framework around the aesthetic dimension of technological human augmentation in a transdisciplinary collaboration between fashion, industrial design and health, as well as Dr Laini Burton from Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Dr Burton’s research centres on body politics, bio-art and design, fashion theory, performance, and body/spatial relations.
The panel will be moderated by Academic Program Director for the QUT School of Creative Practice and Senior Lecturer in Art History/Theory, Dr Courtney Pederson.
QUT is an academic partner of #WSFB2019, with the Creative Industries Faculty leading its participation
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