Fantastical Bodies and How To Wear Them

By Kai Speed // 

For this project, I worked in collaboration with my supervisors Dr Steve Klee and Dr Kirsten McKenzie, as well as co-researcher Heather Sunderland to generate data concerning the psychology behind body image. Using Dr McKenzie’s existing research into body image, Dr Klee and I were tasked with creating a series of ‘fantastical bodies’ ranging from humanoid to anthropomorphic, alongside a relevant landscape and contextual descriptor. These bodies would then be presented to experimental subjects, who would be asked to choose which body they felt would survive best in the given landscape, as well as which they would choose to inhabit.

Throughout the project, we faced a lot of challenges that we had previously not considered, such as the influence of differing art styles between Dr Klee and I, as well as the influence of small details such as facial expressions within these art styles. We also wanted to be as inclusive and diverse as possible within our representation, leading to a lot of discussion regarding characteristics of race, gender identity and body size.


Overall, this project has helped me a lot, as it had given me a lot of confidence in areas of working outside of my course and studies, as well as confidence in the value of my own artwork and ideas. It has also opened up opportunities I had not considered, such as the possibility of my art being used in scientific and psychological areas of study.


*To view Kai’s research poster and presentation recording, please click on the thumbnails below: