In 2007, researchers uncovered what appeared to be the oldest prosthetic appendage, a wood and leather toe from Thebes dated to 1069 – 664 BC. Since then, many thousands of years or war injuries, deformities, and illnesses have necessitated countless other prostheses. Over the years, many of them have been designed to look increasingly subtle, to meld seamlessly with their owners’ bodies, but here are a few more elaborate, artful versions that are at once creepy, intricate, and intriguing.
Perhaps designed more with function than aesthetics in mind, the prosthetic hand of Göts von Berlichingen (or Götz of the Iron Hand) is nevertheless a remarkable example of elegant design. After losing his hand to cannon fire in 1504, Götz acquired an armored hand that allowed for protection and flexibility in holding everything from “a sword to a feather pen.”
Made from brass and steel, this Victorian prosthetic hand (1850-1910) allowed for flexible wrist and finger movement. The London Science Museum claims that “the rather sinister appearance of the hand suggests the wearer may have disguised it with a glove,” which, to me, is a shame; it’s open structure and contoured perforations display both an aesthetic sensibility and sense of technological modernity.
Looking to outfit her in something other than sprinting blades, Alexander McQueen designed these wooden boots for the Paralympic athlete Aimee Mullins in 1999. Mullins modeled them, along with a leather corset (that to me, evokes the part of vintage prosthetics that molds to the body) and ruffled skirt for his No. 13 show.
The two sets of limbs below were created by the artist Sophie de Oliveira Barata as part of The Alternative Limbs Project, which provides wearers with limbs ranging from the hyperrealistic to the “surreal” and “unreal.” The first of these pieces, coated in Swarovski crystals, was created for the Ice Queen role of the 2012 London Paralympic Closing Ceremony. The second is dubbed the “Wooden Arm,” and supposedly features hidden compartments.
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Jack Dracula, otherwise known as Jack Baker, is known to many outside the tattoo community for his iconic portrait taken by Diane Arbus. To those within the tattoo community or familiar with the history of tattooing, he is known for his work with Brooklyn Blackie on Coney Island, his shops in Camden and Philadelphia, and as a sideshow attraction in Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus, Hubert’s Dime Museum, and Amusements American Carnival.
Prior his death on January 18, 2011 at the age of 75, Daniel Schwartz conducted a number of interviews with Dracula about subjects ranging from his first tattoo to his childhood memories. Below you will find a selection of these interviews. Be sure to check Schwart’z Youtube channel to see more.
“Jack’s First Tattoo”
“Jack Baker on his Facial Tattoos”
“Jack’s Last Tattoo Shop in Philadelphia”
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The Whitechapel Gallery sees a retrospective of British artist Sarah Lucas, the often overlooked YBA who rose to fame alongside fellow Goldsmiths graduates Damien Hirst and Gary Hume in the early nineties. Appropriating everyday forms such as furniture and foods suggestive of male and female genitalia, he work goes beyond the art historical tradition of the ready-made, merging symbolic objects these with contextual references from British tabloid culture that defined the era, transforming the British stiff upper lip into a subtle smirk, provoking a stifled discussion of sex and sexuality.
The retrospective sees the artist work the London gallery with a selection of these defining pieces, from an opening, masturbating mechanical arm, through a physical timeline of her works to most recent towering phallic forms, Penetralia.
The exhibition runs until 15 December 2013
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From the early childhood Fyodor Ivanovich Tolstoy was always characterised as violently tempered. This became fully evident when, after graduating from the Marine Corps, he entered military service (for some reason not in the navy but in the Preobrazhenskiy regiment), where he soon managed to distinguish himself by shooting a son of an aristocratic family in a duel. The position of Tolstoy soon became very poor – a rough punishment should be committed immediately. It was obvious that in such a situation in order to avoid investigation and trial the best way was to hide. Without thinking, he took the place of his cousin, who, in a group of Kruzenstern and Lisyansky had to participate in a colossal circumnavigation – the first in the history of Russian navy. That trip made him an American. Fedor’s behaviour during the voyage was extremely unpredictable, he amused himself as he could. One of the stories is connected with the stop near Nukuhiva island. A local craftsman tattooed his body literally from head to toe, only his head and foot were free from Polynesian figures. For those days for a man of noble origin it was a completely wild performance, but Tolstoy was very pleased with what he did. And later, in St. Petersburg, the demonstration of his tattooes was a favourite sight for his close friends. After dinner parties Fedor would undress to the waist in front of the audience, and then accompanied only by men he would retire to a private room, where completely naked, he would display his body covered with knotted ornaments depicting fantastic snakes and birds.
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Kim Kardashian’s feet
wikiFeet is a website of endless photographs of celebrity’s feet. As the site’s homepage disclaimer says, “wikiFeet is a collaborative site for sharing, rating and discussing celebrity feet pictures and videos. We only allow opening galleries for women over 17 who are listed on IMDb. … We do not allow uploading adult content of any kind. uploading such content will get you banned!”
Created for people with foot fetishes, the website is collaborative; anyone can upload photos as they please of various celebrities feet. There are no photos of mens feet on the website, all of the photos of feet either show naked feet or feet wearing shoes that show off a little bit of skin. Members can rate the celebrity’s feet out of a rating of stars; 5 stars means that the woman has ‘beautiful or gorgeous feet’, three stars means that they have ‘ok feet‘ and one star classifies feet as ‘ugly’. Besides from there being quite literally hundreds of thousands of photos of celebrity’s feet there is also a section where members can post their favourite videos of feet in movement.
The website is democratic in its set up; anyone can join, contribute photos or comment. There is a strange stagnancy to the images though, high heeled feet on the red carpet, sandal wearing feet stepping out of limos or screen shots from film or television with many of the images cropped at the bottom of the women’s body making most of these photographs look anonymous.
The vast range of celebrities is so endless that even the most vaguely established pop star to reality personalities from every corner of the earth appear on the website which exhibits the expanse of its visitors and the diverse nature of the foot fetish. It is interesting that many of the photos contributed to the website are of paparazzi photos which have been taken with the purpose of surveying these women’s lives on the basis to create gossip or prey on what they are wearing but these images have been turned around unknowingly for the satisfaction of foot fetishisers.
The monotonous nature of many of these feet however bring out the strong opinions of the foot fetishists, with arguments taking place between members over the attractiveness of certain celebrity’s on an hourly basis.
Because of the enormity of data that exists on this site alongside its popularity we have created a small interviewed the founder of wikiFeet, Eli Ozer to find out more about this celebrity foot fetish and its community.Nicki Minaj having a pedicureWhen did you start wikiFeet?I started working on wikiFeet in August of 2008
Why do you host images of celebrity’s feet and not everyday people?I’ve always had a fascination with women’s feet, and it was hard to find pictures of them online at the time. There were a couple of sites dedicated to celebrity feet, but they either had very few celebs or required a membership fee. wikiFeet started out as a sort-of personal collection of mine, and in time I’ve added features and attracted more visitors. I’m guessing the need for a site featuring celebrity’s feet rather than everyday people comes from curiosity. We see them on television and movies, they seem so perfect.. one can’t help but wonder whether or not their feet are as perfect..Why did you decide to make the website collaborative?I made the site collaborative for two main reasons.
1. There are many celebrities I don’t know about and I wanted to let people open galleries for their favorite celebs.
2. Letting the visitors handle the content freed me to focus on adding features and making the site better.
also, it’s nice knowing that the site can run on its own without me having to keep it fresh all the time.
How many images are uploaded everyday?About 500-1500 pictures are uploaded to the site daily.
What do you think makes a popular pair of feet?It’s hard to say exactly what makes popular feet, because different people look for different things.
usually feet that are symmetrically shaped, smooth skinned and well taken care of are the most popular ones.
And what do you think makes an unpopular pair of feet?Bunions, dead skin, oddly shaped toes and overall neglected feet are the most unpopular ones.
The site’s visitors expect celebrities to take care of their feet (saying they can afford it), and get agitated if they don’t :)
How many people visit the website a week?About 700,000 people visit the site a week.Visit wikiFeet here!
Paris Hilton’s feet
Beyonce Knowles’s foot
During the second world war in one of the palaces of Tsarskoye Selo, a group of Soviet soldiers found a room decorated in a frank erotic style. According to witnesses , one of the walls was entirely hung with wooden phalluses of various shapes, a range of chairs, desks, and screens all decorated with pornographic images supplementing the whole appearance. Soldiers didn’t loot anything or destroy anything there, on the contrary, they made a dozen of documentary photos.
Most of the pictures were lost in the fire of war, but some of Hermitage personnel also confirm the existence of the parlour, noting that Catherine the Great even made a bodouir for Platon Zubov, but it’s unlikely that it could reached the 20th century. It is also known that the collection of erotic art belonged to the Romanov family was catalogued in 1930s . The evidences indicate that the objects were only shown to a selection of visitors. But the catalogue was lost. Like the whole entire collection, it was allegedly destroyed in 1950. However this small selection of photographs still exist:
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