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Grinders (2016)

Kassel Dummy Award 2017 - third prize

We were all both fascinated and disgusted by Grinders, ‘an encounter with DIY cyborgs’ by Hannes Wiedemann. There is something absolutely repulsive and yet current and relevant about this community of ‘body-hackers’ who perform the somewhat disturbing ritual of implanting devices and gadgets into their human body. Wiedemann portrays body-hacking by mingling an almost surgical distance with a visceral approach and he does it with great balance, blissfully staying out of poignancy and judgment. A disquieting feeling of cyborg lust is perceivable on the few faces that appear in the dummy. I once met a very talented artist affected by schizophrenia who believed the government had implanted a microchip under his skin to spy on his subversive life, as he had been part of an extremely leftist movement during the Italian Years of Lead. Who would have thought that what can be seen as the paranoia of a problematic activist artist of the 1970s could become, decades after, a real fetishistic ritual of people who take pleasure in having a mechanical or electronic device embedded in their body?

- Federica Chiocchetti, The Photocaptionist


In rural small towns in the United States hackers are working on merging man and machine. They develop devices and gadgets to implant into their own bodies, becoming guinea pigs of a transhuman future. Their risky experiments and strong faith into technology’s emancipatory potential challenges science, medicine and ethics equally.

Berlin-based photographer Hannes Wiedemann followed the US-american bodyhacking community in 2015/16. The age-long myth of enhancement, the future, and innovation, today, is predominantly illustrated via an aesthetics of smooth interfaces; he offers a counterproposal with makeshift arrangements, dirty interiors, and ruthless high-resolution images of corporality.

‘Grinders’ by Hannes Wiedemann
1st edition
28x35cm, eyelet binding, PVC sleeve 35x40 cm
Print run: 40, numbered and signed
self published, Berlin 2016
sold out

All images © Hannes Wiedemann. All rights reserved.