sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces

the artificial limb project: turning prostheses into art 

 

Founded in 2011 by Sophie de Oliveira Barata, The Alternative Limb Project merges technology with art and science to celebrate body diversity in new, creative ways. Drawing on her ten-year experience building medical prostheses, Barata creates highly advanced artificial limbs, each doubling as captivating art pieces that ‘explore themes of body image, modification, evolution, and transhumanism, whilst promoting positive conversations around disability,’ she writes. Her work has been displayed in international museums, galleries, exhibitions, and events.

 

To design her creations, Barata collaborates with specialists in 3D modelling, prostheses, electronics, and other new technologies. Some of her clients include paralympic athletes, musicians, models, performing artists, and video game companies.

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
‘Vine 2.0’, a tentacle-like design powered by sensors + electronics via Bluetooth | image © K Holden

all images courtesy of The Alternative Limb Project

 

 

an eclectic body of work

 

Barata’s designs are incredibly eclectic, ranging from tentacle-like limbs powered by sensors to neo-classical marble extensions and 1920s-inspired wooden ‘casts’. While consistently trying to maintain a balanced ratio of ‘comfort-function-aesthetics, some of her creations tend to more artistic than functional. Projects can last between a month and several years, depending on the scale of the collaboration and the type of technology involved.

 

More importantly, The Alternative Limb Project intimately involves the client in the design process — from detailing and coloring to material finish. Usually resorting to silicone as a base material, the artist also works with variations of carbon fiber, 3D-printed brass, and leather.

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
a neo-classical aesthetic (marble & gold) – in collaboration with Lucky Love | image © Alun Callender

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
image © Alun Callender

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
‘Anatomical Leg’ for ex-serviceman Ryan Seary | image © Omkaar Kotedia

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
hand prosthesis made of 3D-print brass, jet fusion plastic, & leather for Linden | image © Alun Callender

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
‘Synchronised’ is made from electroplated gold carbon fiber | image © Omkaar Kotedia

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
silicone-based ‘Snake Arm’ for British swimmer + speaker Jo-Jo Cranfield | image © Rosemary Williams

sophie de oliveira barata reimagines artificial limbs as wearable art pieces
‘Phantom Limb’, a 3D-printed and carbon fiber arm for James Young | image © Omkaar Kotedia

the-alternative-limb-project-designboom-full

‘The 20:45 to Lover’s Rest’ installation + performance | image © Omkaar Kotedia

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