Sophie de Oliveira Barata, the London designer who started the Alternative Limb Project, is reinventing the way the world sees prosthetics. Her original bespoke limbs, (like the Snake Arm that amputee Jo-Jo Cranfield wears above) are reminiscent of surrealist works of art, yet serve an important function for the person who wears them. Oliveira Barata hopes that her re-imagining of alternative limbs will help people with disabilities feel more powerful and in control:
“It’s drawing attention to their disability in a positive way … Rather than people seeing what’s missing, it’s about what they’ve got … Having an alternative limb is about claiming control and saying ‘I’m an individual and this reflects who I am … Generally the whole technology is moving towards trying to recapture a lifelike limb that looks realistic and also acts realistic in motion. In this instance I’m doing the complete opposite and I think it does capture that whole childlike imagination — it’s like being a superhero with super powers.”
I could not love this concept more. I’ve been obsessing over this concept of limbs as art since I saw amputee athlete Aimee Mullins in a pair of ornate, glass high heel legs in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle.
Click through to see more of Oliveira Barata’s arresting prosthetic limbs. [CNN]