On an alien planet,
far far away,
far far in the future,
Xen lives all alone.
Xen has to explore the environment every day for a whole year and in the evening write down what was discovered. At the end of the week, Xen sends a report to their home planet Earth via radio.
Use the blue buttons to learn more!
At times, Xen feels very lonely. That’s why Xen likes to think about Earth, where family and friends are waiting.
But that was a long time ago, and slowly the memories are fading.
When the loneliness once became so great that it was no longer bearable, Xen created a friend out of old wire and metal scraps.
Sometimes when things were boring, Xen would tell the little friend what thoughts go through someone’s mind when they are alone on an alien planet.
Would you like to hear Xen’s thoughts?
Sadly, one night during a heavy storm, the metal friend broke into a thousand pieces.
Xen has had enough of being alone and decides to do some-thing. They need someone to talk to. A buddy who can do more than just stand around. A buddy who also answers when you ask something. But to build such a buddy, Xen needs your help.
Phew, it isn’t easy to create the perfect buddy! There are so many shapes and possibilities. After all, you want to be sure when you are building someone you want to be friends with – and preferably forever.
Xen wants to know more. So, Xen sets out on a journey to faraway places and through time – specifically, through the history of Xen’s home planet, Earth.
Join Xen on this journey!
See how bodies and forms have changed over time and how different they can look.
Before traveling deep into the past, Xen makes a stop at Mark Leckey’s place in 2014. The studio of this researcher and artist is a very special place. Here Xen can get lots of ideas for Buddy’s shapes, body parts and equipment.
Which ideas for possible body parts or Buddy’s equipment will go into your collection?
Xen climbs thoughtfully into the spaceship. Together with Xen, Buddy will explore completely different planets. It is crucial that Buddy doesn’t break down again right away.
People have been protecting their bodies for thousands of years. Xen wants to take a closer look and travels first to the Middle Ages.
As early as 600 years ago, explorers, pirates and merchants sailed the seven seas. For them home was as far away as for Xen.
Xen starts dreaming. What if Xen or Buddy could jump as high as a kangaroo? Or run as fast as a jaguar?
It is important to Xen that Buddy can help on the research planet. Therefore, Buddy should be able to grasp and hold an object, and even throw a ball.
Recreating a hand that can grasp is difficult, but humans have already learned how!
Serbian engineer Rajko Tomović designed the world’s first bionic hand prosthesis: it is equipped with five fingers and a sense of touch and is called the “Belgrade Hand.” Its fingers can grasp when a control panel sends them electrical signals.
Replicating the thumb is the greatest challenge. It is the most flexible finger.
“What would a hand that only has thumbs actually look like?” wonders Xen.
Xen can easily send research reports or talk to their family – and hopefully soon to Buddy – via a chip in their body. All this is quite normal for Xen: The computer is already part of their body. But how did that actually come about?
Xen is astonished: In the past, it seems that people took their cell phones – or other small computers – with them everywhere. They often carried them close to their bodies.
“Quite a hassle”, Xen thinks to themself, and can’t believe how long and how often people stared at a small square screen back then. Their thumbs must have hurt from so much typing!
A computer that is part of your body. How is that supposed to work? Does the watch grow onto the arm, or is the chip inside the body, as with Xen and Buddy? That sounds a little creepy.
What does it mean when technology becomes increasingly important in our lives and influences our bodies? Atsuko Tanakaalso thought about this as early as 1956.
Now Xen and you have already seen a lot. It’s not so easy to say what exactly belongs to a body and what doesn’t – and where do the boundaries actually lie? Do they exist at all?
Now it’s time to build Buddy. You are completely free to use everything you have seen so far.
In the picture you will also find some sketches and ideas from Xen.
See you next time and have fun experimenting!