Viewing entries tagged
Sport

BlueDot Festival

BlueDot Festival

This weekend, I had the chance to speak at the BlueDot Festival, an amazing science, art, and music festival at the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. My talk was part of a programme of events curated by Josh McNorton at FutureFest and I focused on the era of human enhancement and how it's playing out in the world of sport. 

 

Smart Cities, Smart Sports

Smart Cities, Smart Sports

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My talk from the City Events programme in Paris this week. There was a lot of talk on alternative sports events, perhaps cities are tired of multi-sport mega events, which they don't own and can't fully exploit or get behind. Plus a little film I made of the BMX demo.

What's trending at #ECSS2014?

What's trending at #ECSS2014?

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In July, I ran a social media and sport workshop at #ECSS2014. Here's a video made from the congress, where I talk a bit about social media...

And here's the prezi from the workshop...

 

 

 

Sport Accord Convention: Youth Club [VIDEO]

Sport Accord Convention: Youth Club [VIDEO]

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The Sport Accord Convention is talked about as the United Nations of Sport, where all Federations come together. This was my second year of being a speaker at the Convention and I chaired a session called the 'Youth Club'. It was the first time ever that the Convention had put together something like this and the average age of panel members was approximately 23 years old. It was a great session and the feedback was awesome.

Doping & the Tour De France [VIDEO]

This month, I have written an essay for Routledge publishers, introducing a theme for their journals focused on doping and cycling. Here's a video primer for the essay and the video's transcript, produced by Routledge:

Hello, my name is Andy Miah and I’m a Professor of Ethics and Emerging Technologies at the University of the West of Scotland, where I direct the Creative Futures Institute. This video is in relation to an essay I’ve written for Taylor & Francis the publishers, who this month are publishing an edition on sport that’s focused particularly on doping and cycling in line with the Tour de France that’s happening in the next few weeks.

Within this thematic month, a range of articles are published that deal with the history and the politics, the sociology, the science and technology of doping, and it’s been an interesting process to read some of the backlog of articles within the publisher for the last four years. The research is just enormous in this area. Doping is perhaps one of the central issues for the world of sport today; it has been for quite a long time. But these essays reveal, really, just how far the research has come, and how much more there is left to do. Philosophers are still debating the definition of doping. We’re still figuring out what this means, and that becomes harder as the technology evolves too: would surgical implants constitute as doping, would laser eye surgery be included? What sorts of things are athletes likely to do that are going to change that definition? At the same time, how is society going to develop its relation to body modification and enhancement? In a way that changes that as well. So these are quite challenging issues, not just for sport but for society too. And yet doping’s still one of those topics where people aren’t sure how much is going on. How big a problem is this for the world of sport? How much of it is a public health problem too? So many of the articles grapple with the complexity of this, given the vast uncertainty of really what’s taking place, and there are considerable differences of opinions about how bad that is.

Now, the Tour de France has always been rife with discussions about doping. One of the essays reminds us of the 1998 sit down where riders protested the police raids on the Festina team by sitting down in the middle of the 17th leg just, I think, in complete dismay at the way cyclists are treated. For me one of the key issues has always been how athletes give up their privileges just for sport: freedom of movement, physical privacy is lost in the pursuit of drug testers and dopers, and one of the questions that arises from this is how far we’re prepared to go to test people for drugs and doping. Now you might say ‘we’ll go as far as we need to – we need to make sure there’s a level playing field and competitors are playing in the same sort of way’, but we’re already testing kids in high schools. How far do we test people before we start to think ‘this has just gone too far – we need another strategy’. So many of these articles do grapple with that complexity, and reveal to us just how far the anti-doping authorities still have to go to really address this issue.

They’ve got a tough job ahead of them. I think the biggest problem they face is that the world’s moving on too – it’s not just a question of what’s happening in sport anymore. We live in a world where, twenty years ago, people were up in arms about GM products - today people are less concerned about that – so there’s a sense in which technologies that are new, that are controversial, become accepted or more acceptable. In a world where we have genetic screening, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, ways in which we are tampering with biology before day 1, before birth, then what sense will there really be of having a policy that tries to protect people from enhancement, or to ensure some natural playing field where athletes compete? I think this has really got to go back to basics and really think about what sports are all about. We care about seeing extraordinary performances, we put athletes in a position where they have to use technology to do this – in fact, many sports are constituted by technology; they wouldn’t make sense without them – so we can’t just quibble over the details as to which technologies we like and which we don’t. But aside from that, we get lost in the concerns about harm and the risk to health and so on, which have been part of the history of the doping debate and its broader contextualization within the doping war.

So I think when we consider where this might go, where all this research may take us, a number of the articles point to the fact that this intractable problem is only likely to get worse. So we need to rethink the problem. We need to rethink our approach to the problem, and consider what other strategies there might be to level the playing field, or create a kind of level playing field that we value. If that means allowing everyone access to everything, that might be a better solution. That doesn’t mean we need to encourage people to take ridiculous risks with their health, but we perhaps monitor the health risks of performance-enhancing technologies; we set up a world pro-doping agency as well as the world anti-doping agency, the responsibility of which will be to invest into safer technologies, allow athletes access to safer, more informed ways of performance-enhancing for their sports. If we do that, then yes, some athletes may get harmed anyway, but they may get harmed less, and that seems to be a better situation. So enjoy the articles, enjoy reading just how far this body of research has come in 40 years and how much more difficult the problem is today than it was back then. Thanks very much.

Oscar Pistorius is more than just a fallen hero

Oscar Pistorius is more than just a fallen hero

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This entry was initially published as a blog piece, but later in the Huffington Post

It was only a few days ago that the world of sport was talking about nothing but Lance Armstrong. However, the case surrounding Oscar Pistorius dwarfs any kind of doping scandal, past or present.

A lot has been written about how the tragedy will mean the loss of a hero for the sports world and for people with disabilities. But, Pistorius isn’t just any old sporting hero. He is the most important athlete of the 21st Century and this fallen idol will mean that our social world will suffer a little longer from prejudice than it would otherwise have. Unlike most athlete superstars, Pistorius transcended what happens on the field. Debates about him were of significance for society at large.

His capacity to rival the speeds of so-called able-bodied athletes brought into question the use of that term at all and made us believe that a bionic Games that was faster and better than today’s was just around the corner.

In this world, it would be the technologically modified athlete we celebrate and it would be a world where disability no longer mattered. Everybody could compete on a level playing field and sponsors would fund Paralympic sport as much as Olympic. There may even no longer be a division between the two. There would be only one Olympic Games and only the best athletes competing.

This is now all jeopardized by the fact that Oscar was the only Paralympian campaigning to bridge the two Games. No other athletes have made this case and so the issue may simply disappear from the headlines. The IAAF may have an easier time because of these events and the world of sport may generally breathe a silent sigh of relief that there is nobody else pursuing the same campaign.

Just before the London 2012 Olympics, I wrote an article saying that Pistorius would be the most remembered athlete of the entire Games. I think this is even more likely now, but obviously for very different reasons

This is the second most tragic element of the circumstance, after the loss of a human life. An athlete whose entire future was still yet to be written, but which promises so much, seems like it is now etched in stone.

Unless Pistorius finds a way to redeem himself through the trial, then we may never know how much the world has lost by his absence in public life. It wouldn’t be the first time that a celebrity has later found sympathy from the public and managed to recover their place as a role model.

Oscar Pistorius is so young, with so much still ahead of him -  as an athlete, an advocate, and an ambassador - the entire world will be made worse of by this recent, horrific event, if no recovery is possible.

Future Sport

Talk given at the Royal College of Art for their Design Interactions programme.

La lutte antidopage, un "dogme inquiétant" pour certains

La lutte antidopage, un "dogme inquiétant" pour certains

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Interview for Stephanie Pertuiset @AFP on the Yannick Noah headlines around doping, published by a range of French newspapers, including Liberation & Le Temps. Here are some of the quotes from the raw invu in English:

1) Former tennis champion Yannick Noah said he is in favor legalizing doping to stop hyprocrisy. In France, every one shot at him, saying basically that doping is a really bad thing leading to Circus Games. Do you think it is a taboo nowadays to say something like that ?   Why antidoping has such be legitimated ? 

"Anti-doping is a worrying kind of dogma, which leaves little scope for serious ethical debates about elite sports practice. Anyone who speaks against it is quickly shunned by    the sports world, but enough people have made this kind of argument now. It's time people listened to what's being said - anti-doping is broken."
2)  I found you were quoted as saying the fight antidoping is at the opposite of its own objectives. Can you explain why ?
"Elite athletes are placed in a situation where they need to find a way of gaining an edge over their competitors. Inevitably this will involve using performance enhancing technologies and we have to act responsibly and recognize that this is a situation that the sports world has created. As such, it must take responsibility for developing more effective enhancements, which are available to all. As well, if the goal of anti-doping is to protect athletes from harm, then it fails. Instead, athletes pursue products on the black market and put themselves at even greater risk than if the doping technologies were legalized and under medical supervision"
3) WADA, national antidoping agencies and governments always put in front the so-called health issue. Do you think AD is a real health issue or led by others motivations ?
"All sports are a risk to health, with or without doping. Some doping technologies may increase that risk, but that increase could be moderated considerably if doping were out in the open. Health risk in itself is not a good enough reason to ban doping, there has to be something more too it - the moral dimension - and this is really not a robust reason to prohibit many doping forms"
4) The way the tests are done, all the wherabout system, the breach in intimacy… could all these things have an ethic justification according to you ?  
"Not at all. We find ourselves in a world where kids in high schools are being tested for sport related drugs. How far are we prepared to go in violating personal privacy to attempt to protect a level playing field? I think it's gone too far and, like Yannick Noah, sympathize with the idea that a change is necessary"
5) Do you think sport can keep living in its own square while the rest of society is taking substances to be better an more performant ?  
"Far from it. The world of sports is soon going to hit a massive road block with anti-doping. We live in a world where the use of human enhancement technologies - from laser eye surgery to cognitive enhancements  - are becoming features of 21st century living. What value will anti-doping have in an era where everyone has been genetically selected and optimized? None. Sports need to make changes soon, or risk being completely redundant activities"

The Ethics of Sports

The Ethics of Sports

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Unknown to me, I have a chapter in this Reader published by Routledge. My chapter focuses on the doping debate, arguing that concerns about health risk still dominate the ethical debate.

Olympics + Doping

The Olympics, Doping and the Meaning of Sport: Performance enhancement technologies and the changing boundaries of human natureDate: Wednesday 5 October 2011, 6:30pm to 8:30pm Venue: The Millenium Room, The Carriageworks, Millennium Square, Leeds

Speakers: Dr David JamesProfessor Andy Miahand Professor Jim Parry

 

£5 waged/£3 unwaged on the door

With only a few months remaining before the London 2012 Olympic Games, British athletes are preparing hard in pursuit of a record haul of medals. To help them better the 47 won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an army of coaches, doctors and psychologists is at hand, along with a thriving sports technology industry, all backed by an unprecedented level of public and private investment.

National ambitions aside, we all want to see exceptional performances from the world's best athletes, such as Usain Bolt’s record-smashing sprints. Yet sometimes we are uneasy when athletes shatter old records, fearing it is artificial aids, and not the athlete’s individual effort, that accounts for the achievement. We seem to be hanging in a precarious balance between expecting a superhuman performance and fearing the crossing of nature’s boundaries.

When particular technologies have been 'too successful', such as Graeme Obree’s bicycle and riding position, or polyurethane-coated swimsuits, they have been banned for giving an unfair advantage. Some, like Rebecca Adlington refused to use the new swimsuits for ethical reasons even before they were banned, claiming they are a form of ‘technological doping’. And with such high stakes to play for and constant advances in medicine, the temptation of actual chemical doping looms as large as ever, and it is hard to demarcate precisely the line between legitimate medical treatment and unfair artificial advantage.

Many take such a hard line against doping, calling for life bans from the Olympics for athletes like Dwain Chambers, who has long served his sentence. Others point out that sport is a very unnatural pursuit, and the intensity of training and competition has become such that no doping techniques are as dangerous for the athlete’s body as the sport itself, many ‘doping’ techniques being necessary to restore the athletes’ body to a healthy state. Some argue that, as enhancement technologies become part of everyday life and the line between medicine and body enhancement is blurred, it will become increasingly difficult to keep them out of sport. They believe we should allow all sorts of enhancement technologies provided they are safe.

So where should we draw the line between the artificial and the natural in sport, between effective sports equipment and ‘technological doping’, between legitimate medical therapies and illegitimate, performance enhancement treatments, between the struggle to excel and the need to have fair and balanced competition, between the urge to go beyond the boundaries of human nature and the fear of losing our humanity?

Pigs Bladder Football

Artist John O'Shea is a dear friend and a great young artist whose latest work is titled 'Pigs Bladder Football'. I Chaired a debate during the #ANDfest about 'Fanaticism' inspired by his work. I also took part in making a pigs bladder football, while also doing reasonably well in keepy uppies, captured in this stunning action shot ;)

Find below a few shots from the weekend:

The game of Pigs Bladder Football

 

The shop on boldstreet

Pigs Bladder Football

John getting things ready

Pigs Bladder Football

Inflating the bladder

Pigs Bladder Football

John working on a podcast

John O'Shea 'Pigs Bladder Football'

New Statesman

This week, NS ran a mini Q&A about an event where I'm speaking ni Leeds next week. We'll be debating the future of sport, as part of a satellite event in the Battle of Ideas this year. I'll also be speaking in London at the Battle on 29 and 30 October. Join us if you can!

London 2012: the first Transhuman Games?

On 24th January, 2011, at 630pm @UWScreative will be hosting an 'inspired by London 2012' event at the CCA in Glasgow, host city for ICSEMIS 2012.

TOO BOOK YOUR PLACE, CLICK HERE

The event is FREE to attend and open to all. It will bring together a scientist, an artist and a philosopher (me) in conversation about the way in which athletes bodies and minds are being transformed by technology.

Today, elite sports find themselves in increasingly unchartered waters. More than ever before, athletes are using technology to optimize their biology for performance and many of their methods are not even tested for by the authorities. From genetic tests for sport performance to the use of superhuman prosthetic enhancements, this subject reaches parts that present-day anti-doping rules cannot reach.  These technologies have changed elite sports, as we know them, but the next decade promises even more of an overhaul to what we think being good at sport means.  As we approach the London 2012 Games, this debate will consider the ethical implications of new technology in sport, asking what distinguishes the cheat from the innovator. We will ask whether the debate about the ethics of athletic performance is all but over, as the winners' podium makes space for the transhuman athlete.

Going beyond the familiar debate about doping and anti-doping, this debate will consider how far biology has been pushed by technical systems and what Jacques Ellul called the technological society. It will include Dr Yannis Pitsiladis, who works with the World Anti-Doping Agency on genetic technologies and live artist Francesca Steele (pictured here in an image by Simon Keitch www.simonkeitch.com), who became a body builder as part of her most recent performance work.  Along with me, we will consider how we ought to regard the future of sport and how it will function in an era of transhuman enhancements.

The event is presented by the University of the West of Scotland as part of 'Knowing Sport: The science behind the medals', a public engagement initiative of ICSEMIS 2012 (Glasgow) supported by PODIUM and Research Councils UK, Inspired by London 2012'.

Speaker Biographies

Dr Yannis Pitsiladis is a Reader in Exercise Physiology at the Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences in the College of Medicine, Veterinary & Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow and founding member of the “International Centre for East African Running Science” (ICEARS) set up to investigate the determinants of the phenomenal success of east African distance runners in international athletics. Recent projects also include the study of elite sprinters from Jamaica and the USA and the study of world class swimmers (e.g., why are there very few black swimmers?). He is a Visiting Professor in Medical Physiology at Moi University (Eldoret, Kenya) and Addis Ababa University (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). He is a member of the Scientific Commission of the International Sports Medicine Federation (FIMS, and a member of the List Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). He is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Francesca Steele has performed and exhibited work nationally and internationally since graduating with a BA in Fine Art from Northumbria University. She was awarded the Belsay Hall Fellowship in 2006, and has spent time as an artist in residence in various sensitive research, medical and rehabilitation settings including The Centre for Life and PEALS, in Newcastle and Horticultural Healing (a rehabilitation project for clients with acquired brain injury) in Plymouth. Francesca has performed at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and Arnolfini, Bristol amongst other UK and international venues. Her work has been featured in a range of publications, most recently Marina Abramovic and the Future of Performance Art (Prestel 2010). Currently Francesca bodybuilds specifically as part of her arts practice. The preparation for her current work began in October of 2008, since that time Francesca has trained as a bodybuilder. She won the title of Miss Plymouth in September 2009 and Miss West Britain (Trained Figure) at the National Amateur Body Building Association (NABBA) competition in April 2010, in May of that year she placed in the top six at the British Finals. From these experiences she has continued to develop her arts practice, through video and live performance work. Notably Routine, which was performed at The Pigs of Today are the Hams of Tomorrow (January 2010) and then the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow (March 2010).

and here's my sport biography :)

Professor Andy Miah, PhD, is Chair of Ethics and Emerging Technologies in the Faculty of Business & Creative Industries at the University of the West of Scotland, Global Director for the Centre for Policy and Emerging Technologies, Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, USA and Fellow at FACT, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, UK. He is co-editor of Sport Technology: History, Philosophy and Policy (2002), currently on sale in the IOC Museum. He is author of over 50 papers on technology and sport and is author of ‘Genetically Modified Athletes’ (2004 Routledge), the first book to address this new science of human enhancement. He often gives pro-enhancement arguments, the most enjoyable of which was giving one such address to the IOC President Jacques Rogge and the Queen of Sweden at the Nobel institute in Sweden.

FIFA World Cup

The new world cup football has attracted considerable controversy as a technological artifact that may change the expected fortunes of the competitors. The discussion about its influence takes me back to my early writing about the ethics of technological changes in sport.

In this case the first relevant consideration is to recognize the historical context of the change; for this isn't the first time such a story arises in advance of a world cup. In fact, it is quite common for a headline about a new technology to dominate the media coverage of a sports event days before it begins and in 2006, the new football design for the world cup received similar attention.

From swimming suits to  bicycles, the media's technological narrative on sports technologies works to destabilize audience expectations, thus heightening the competition's drama. The implications of this uncertainty is further articulated by the morally outraged experts and fans who are invited to explain how this unknown quantity could change everything, short of indicating that it is the end of the world as we know it. These stories have considerable marketing value for events that thrive on the prospect of surprise. One may even conclude that publicity of this kind is strategically designed to create more interest in the event.

Yet, aside from how the new technology may affect the media's narrative about the sports event, there are very real consequences to changing technologies in sports, which have a bearing on what we regard to be fair. However, the challenge to our understanding these consequences is that their full impact may remain unknown for some time to come. Consider the change from leather to plastic helmets in American football, which was designed to reduce the risk of head injury. While it did have such an effect, it also led to a greater recklessness in competition due to perceived greater safety. In turn, this led to athletes taking greater risks and their experiencing a greater prevalence of other serious injuries. Alternatively, changes to the javelin in the 1980s completely changed the requiremenets of the sports such that a new generation of thrower emerged. Sports are replete with examples of how technologies re-skilled the contest.

The world cup football has been variously criticized as a ball that will make it much harder for the goal keeper, furthering the idea that this redesign intends to create more goals and make for a more exciting competition. The Adidas presss release notes that:

"The “JO’BULANI” also features the newly developed “Grip’n’Groove” profile which provides the best players in the world with a ball allowing an exceptionally stable flight and perfect grip under all conditions. Comprising only eight, completely new, thermally bonded 3-D panels, which for the first time are spherically moulded, the ball is perfectly round and even more accurate than ever before."

England coach Fabio Capello is reported to have said that the England players are unhappy with the ball, since it is faster and lighter than previous balls. Yet, why should this be of any concern to the spectator or the players? As long as all teams are using the same ball, the competition remains fair, so why should it matter?

One of the reasons for being concerned is that, by changing the conditions of the competition, governing bodies may cheat players out of a tacitly agreed contract that the competitions would operate by the rules agreed by all parties. To understand how grave it might be to change the technology, consider if FIFA had launched a football the size of a tennis ball, or the shape of a rugby ball. What would be appropriate and reasonable reactions then?

Rightly, people would claim that such a transformation changes the conditions of the sport in such a way as to make it a completely different test of abilities. In turn, athletes would claim that they have trained for a particular type of contest and that the new design creates a different one, which they had not agreed to play. To this end, the concern  is less about fairness between competitors and more about the legitimacy of a governing body to change the conditions of a practice without the agreement of its members. Yet, what often makes these matters even more complicated is the widespread disagreement about the impact of the change. Thus, designers stress that this is the most 'consistent' ball that has ever been designed. In this sense, they appeal to the idea that players have previously been playing with balls that have not allowed their full talents to be demonstrated, since the balls are not always performing in the same way.

From this appeal, we learn that what matters about some sports technologies is that they should always perform in a predictable manner. Indeed, this is why we see balls changed at regular intervals in such sports as tennis where their use can diminish their ideal properties. Yet, it is also interesting to note that we also witness athletes using this to their advantage, which is why, also in tennis, players may choose to serve with the same ball each time, for as long as they can. In such moments, the athlete is making a strategic judgement about which ball is best, which the other player may not recognize or may perceive differently depending on their unique performance. If absolutely predictability cannot be ensured, then it seems reasonable to purse new designs to optimize this condition. Yet, when a technology is introduced too late for players to adjust, or if the new technology is too radical a change, then the athlete's preparation may be undermined, thus creating circumstances where the new rules - the new ball - cheat the athlete out of a previously agreed upon set of conditions.

Sports treat different technologies in different ways. Sometimes, athletes are given the chance to choose their preferreed apparatus within a set of specified guidelines. For example, football players can choose which type of boots they wear and this may be decided on the basis of perceived importance (though it is often decided mostly by who is the chosen sponsor). On other occasions - like the World cup football - players are expected to align their talents with a technology that is given to them by the governing body. It is not quite the equivalent of tossing a coin to see which teams cope best, but it does introduce additional uncertainty into a competition where otherwise world rankings may determine outcomes.

In most cases, what unites new sports technologies is their common pursuit of reducing the uncertainty brought to the playing field by unforeseeable environmental changes. This is why when, in football, the ball unexpectedly hits a tuft of grass in the field and bounces over the goal keeper into the goal, we marvel at how unlikely the occurrence may have been, but ultimately feel a sense of injustice at its having happened. The same is true of goals by deflection. This differs from when a player unexpectedly exhibits an unusual and unpredictable performance, like a remarkable maneuvre around players leading to an exceptionally beautiful goal. In such cases, the unpredictableness of sports is celebrated as a moment of witnessing something extraordinary.

Yet, perhaps the best part of a surprise sports technology is that it offers fans some explanation for their team's failures which will permit them, four years later, to tune in again with a renewed sense of hope.

DaDaFest

Speaking today at DaDaFest09 for a panel titled 'Art with an edge' with Debbi Lander, Tom Shakespeare and others.

Some notes from the day:

DaDaFest 2009-11-28

Alexa Wright, artist

Photography of people with acquired disabilities

Sky tv wer recording magnolia prize in 1998 - when they discovered I had won, they did not want to show the work

“Ok to show physical difference in a scientific context, but when it is in an artist context, it was somehow unacceptable”

“image of me the author of the work who incorporates the otherness that these bodies represent”

“inclination to desexualize people with physical disabilities”

Skin (2001) - research at hospital - medical photographs - not just documenting skin conditions, but beautiful photographs - led to a photo and  text work - skin as acceptable, social surface - interface between me and rest of the world - what happens when surface is not ‘polite’ - invu 10-12 people, photographed 5 - digital snap shots - fabrics to complement - re-appropriating medical photographs and inserting into different contexts - trying to make beautiful.

Noella - psorasis -

June -

Cover Story (2006) - installation  - work about the face - what it would be like to live without a legible or viable face - identity invested in the face - originally used in Norwich for UK Science week (2006) - needed to be accessible and function in public space - visual cue: a blob that slowly becomes a face - try to read the face: its age, gender, race, etc - to assign character in history - second video: taking fragments from people speaking about their faces and bring together, narrated by someone who has no unusual face

Q&A

Nazis used photography to identify profiles and types

The re-imaging of disability: Different art, different audiences, different artists

Tom Shakespeare

Disability is at heart of human condition

Happy for non-disabled artists to make work about disability

Instead of ‘disability’ use ‘predicament’

Traditional: art with disabled people

Representationa: art about disabled people

Radical: disability art by disabled people for disabled people

Individual: artis who happens to have a disability

Existential: art as a tool for thinking about disability, by anyone for anyone

John Keats - ‘negative capability’

Cathy Come Home - Ken Loach - homelessness - led to ‘shelter’ - art can bring home an issue in a way that academic may not

What do disabled people need? -understanding of shared humanity - recognition of social barriers - acceptance

Mona Hatoum (1998) Untitled (wheelchair) - clinical medical wheelchair - cannot self propel - uncomfortable - push handles are carving knives - disability, anger, relationships between carer and cared for - tool for thinking - title: does not prescribe

Julian Germain - bioethics, genetics - family photographs - generations - resemblance - single sex - all wearing same shirts - heredity write large - can see how genes determine them - personality

Christine Borland (2001) Progressive Disorder - drawings of young boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy - boy getting to his feet - from 19th C doctor -

Aidan shingler - www.oneinahundred.co.uk - Rorschach blocks - one is a butterfly - 1 in 100 experience schizophrenia - butterfly reflects the joy of the condition - psychiatrist often wear bow tie - ‘The Butterfly Collector  - commentary on psychiatry -

Elio Caccavalle - MyBio, Utility Pets - use art to think of futures - interested in genetically modified animals - xenotransplantation - how develop products to help negotiate bioethical challenges -

Tom Shakespeare, The Wrong Birth (after Fuseli), 2007 - original has a horse - in original, was a goblin - mistaken idea that night mare meant horse in your dream - concern that was about the fear of having a disabled child - in terms of prenatal diagnosis - every pregnancy is tested - now more aware of possibility of having a disabled child - whatever she chooses, have to take responsibility - didn't want to comment on it - just wanted to realize it - I didn't actually sit on her chest, we photoshopped it - image 1.5m wide - photography by Keith Patterson - Jack Lowe did photoshop -

Tom Shakespeare, The Good Death (after Mantegna), 2008 - dead Christ - limited tonal range - Christ laying on slab - early years of perspective - radically foreshortened -so much so that the man could have restricted growth

Tom Shakespeare, Figure with Meat (after Bacon), 2009 - from Velazquez pope on throne - most interesting part of picture is the meat - hard to access - meat markeing board sent these images.

Benefits of this work - explores, depends, challenges, interpret science for wider audiences - bring disability to mainstream - reveal emotional and relational - questions about ethics and responsibility, difference and identity - complex, nuances, simultaneous: show not tell

Not keen on notion of disability art

Reveal emotional and relational

Glenway Westcott comment on Walker Evans (1938): for me this is better propaganda than it would be if it were not aesthetically enjoyable. It is because I enjoy looking that I go on looking, until the pity and the shame are impressed upon me, unforgettably.

Muscular monkeys prompt sports doping fears (2009, Nov 12)

Muscular monkeys prompt sports doping fearsLinda Geddes, reporter

A gene therapy that appears to bulk up muscle mass and strength in monkeys - reported today in Science Translational Medicine - will undoubtedly raise fresh concerns about the potential for gene doping in sport.

We already know that some athletes use drugs like erythropoietin to increase the amount of oxygen their blood delivers, and steroids to bulk up muscle mass.

The big advantage with gene doping is that it should be harder to detect. That's because it's difficult to test for a protein that the body already produces, especially when its levels naturally vary between individuals - which might explain why some people are inherently better at sports than others.

In the new study, Janaiah Kota and colleagues at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, used gene therapy to add extra copies of the follistatin gene into the leg muscles of monkeys. Follistatin has been previously shown in mice to block myostatin, a protein that decreases muscle mass, resulting in bulked up "mighty mice". Monkeys injected with the gene also seemed to bulk up, and when Kota's team analyzed their leg muscles with a device that measures force, they found that the muscles injected with the follistatin gene were also stronger than normal muscles.

They hope the approach could eventually be used to treat the severe muscle weakness associated with neuromuscular disorders like muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis.

Indeed, the drugs companies Amgen and Wyeth are already experimenting with drugs called myostatin inhibitors in humans, with some promising early results.

Such studies have already prompted fears about the potential for myostatin inhibitors to be abused by athletes hoping to gain the competitive edge. If gene therapy can achieve similar outcomes in humans, such modifications will be even harder to detect.

The World Anti-Doping Authority has already prohibited the use of gene doping within their World Anti-Doping code, and while there is currently no hard evidence of athletes using gene doping to improve performance, there are strong suspicions that they will start doing so soon - unless someone figures out a reliable way of detecting it.