You Have Been Upgraded (2015-18)

The rules are unwritten. The implications are huge. Stop being normal.

In 2015 we were commissioned by the Contemporary Science team at the Science Museum in London to create an interactive, performance installation to explore the emerging field of “biotechnology” and “human enhancement”.

We created a large scale “expo” event, hosted by the fictional start-up company Unlimited Enhancement Technologies (UNET) at which museum visitors could meet  scientists at the forefront of the field, try out demos of the latest biotechnologies and ask questions about the impact of these advancements on the future of humanity.

The centerpiece of the Expo was a keynote presentation by UNET’s CEO Evelyn Musk who outlined her vision for a world in which scientists, artists, academics and entrepreneurs collaborated to create the most advanced prosthetics, brain implants and smart drugs to restore or improve physical functions and heighten or repair damaged cognitive function. UNET’s strapline is the deliberately provocative command to “Stop being normal”.

Over the course of 5 days, more than 4000 people visited the Expo at the Science Museum and took part in a conversation about the social, ethical, cultural, political implications of these emerging ideas and technologies. It was a huge success and led to it being recommissioned in 2018 by Manchester Science Festival.

This time we developed the format to include ‘on the sofa’ interviews with researchers, cyborgs and philosophers as well as commissioning a new Human+themed artwork from tattooist Rebecca de Cadorette that was completed live on the night. Read the detailed write up of the event from The Mancunion.
To coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics (and before the COVID 19 pandemic) we had been intending to create an even bigger event with more scientists, research and emerging technologies on show – expanding Evelyn’s central keynote to an hour long, immersive experience and (in partnership with the companies and institutions showcasing them) create Virtual and Mixed Reality experiences of the technologies for audiences to try out.

These plans are currently on hold but if you’re interested in working with us on this next version of You Have Been Upgraded, please contact Alice Massey, Executive Producer