This work was inspired by the modernist concept of the body as a machine. Beginning in the 1920s, this idea would appear on posters, and in anatomical books and popular science journals, illustrating the human body as a factory populated by tiny workers, operating machinery representing organs, glands, and biological processes. The 1920s were a heavily industrialised time, and by using the technology that people saw in their factory jobs every day, these images taught people about how their bodies worked, in a language they could understand and relate to. They visually reflected the individual’s place within this industrialised society, while also placing industrial technology inside the individual.

We live in a post-industrial West, in which the technology which dominates our lives is no longer based in the workplace, but instead serves as a platform for leisure, entertainment and distraction. The machines we relate to, and reflect ourselves within, are phones and laptops, not industrial machinery.

So how does the machine body of the 2020s function? Are the little people inside our heads still working away in efficient factory-line roles, or are they a bit more isolated, staring at their screens, and trying to get used to their strange new workplace?