David Vintiner and Gem Fletcher: I Want To Believe
The University of Atypical is delighted to welcome you back with the launch of our new exhibition I Want To Believe, part of Belfast Photo Festival 2021 with work by David Vintiner & Gem Fletcher. This captivating exhibition poses profound questions about what it is to be human, challenging our understanding of what a body is and how we converge with technology in a world of evolving possibilities.
David & Gem began this project on futurists five years ago, based on a curiosity about transhumanism and its implications for the future of humanity.
Transhumanism is the belief that human beings are destined to transcend their mortal flesh through technology. Transhumanists believe our biology constrains our experience of reality and refuse to accept what nature has given us. From bionic eyes to designing new senses and extending life expectancy, they are redefining what it means to be human.
Although these ideas have long lived on the pages of comic books and sci-fi novels, the movement – now a reality – is starting to disrupt industries and individuals in meaningful ways. With technology evolving at an unprecedented rate, further change is imminent. This project documents a critical moment in time as we enter the next chapter in human evolution.
The ideas explored in these images demonstrates how optimising our brains and bodies could revolutionise and redefine humanity. As human architects, we are limited only by our imagination. The profiles of transhumans are as diverse as its application, from artists and CEOs to academics and bedroom hackers, the transhumanist movement raises some important questions for us all.
While we love the efficiency and connectivity technology provides, can we embrace a future where it goes beyond our environment and enters our bodies and minds? Could we reach a point where we gift friends and family cognitive implants and new senses? If we are able to defy death, what are the implications for the meaning of life? And, most importantly, will this evolution divide or unite us?
Humans are now gods. We are able to design and create our personal evolution. But do we have the foresight to do it the right way?
Please Note: due to Covid restrictions we ask that visitors use the sanitising units, practice social distancing and wear a mask unless exempt. We look forward to seeing you and will have a limit of 10 visitors in the space at a time to allow for social distancing.
David Vintiner is a photographer based in London. His projects focus on human behaviour, exploring unique communities and events that connect people.
David’s photographs have an elegant simplicity that finds order and formality in amongst complex scenes and stories, bringing attention to place, gesture and expression. His images are gentle and honest, celebrating those pictured and seeking an emotional connection with each subject. With a constant curiosity about people’s desires, interests and passions, he is drawn to the obscure and unusual yet always placing human experience front and centre.
Alongside his personal practice David works on editorial and commercial projects for the likes of The Guardian, Wired, GQ & The New York Times. His work has been exhibited in several group shows throughout Europe and a number of his portraits are included in the National Portrait Gallery archive in London.
Gem Fletcher is a writer, podcaster and photo director based in London. As a writer, she focuses on photography, art and the creative process and how they manifest in contemporary culture. She has written for the British Journal of Photography, Elephant, It’s Nice That, The Guardian and An0ther. As Photo Director of Riposte Magazine, Gem collaborates with a global roster of visual artists to frame Riposte’s mission, making provocative and engaging content. In 2019, she launched The Messy Truth podcast, a series of candid conversations that unpack the future of visual culture and what it means to be a photographer today. In dialogue with photographers, artists, curators, commissioners, critics and editors, she discusses the complexity of image-making and its relationship to a range of topics including representation, process, mental health, power and more.
Neil Harbisson was born with achromatism, a rare disease that means he is colourblind. Harbisson created a new sense to go beyond the human visual spectrum—in 2004 he had an antenna implanted into his skull. The antenna allows him to perceive visible and invisible colours as audible vibrations, including infrareds and ultraviolets.
As a Cyborg artist, he uses his new sense to explore identity, human perception and the connection between sight and sound. He can listen to Warhols, paint with sound and write music based on what he sees around him.
‘In the same way that a sculptor uses a hammer to sculpt a piece of stone, I’m using cybernetics to sculpt my brain. I don’t feel like I’m using technology or wearing technology. I feel like I am technology. I don’t think of my antenna as a device—it’s a body part.’ (Neil Harbisson)
- We will be gathering your name and contact information at the entrance to the Gallery, which we will keep for 21 days and then delete, in accordance with effective track-and-trace measures.
- Sanitiser units at the entrance and around the venue
- Anyone who can, should wear a face covering when visiting the venue
- We request that people practice social distancing inside of the space
- We will be regularly sanitising all surfaces within the venue
- We will no longer permit the audience/visitors to gather inside of the office space to protect staff
- We will provide single use biodegradable paper cups for refreshments for events