Dressing Like A Superorganism
- Text: Lucas Mascatello
The future is a gelatinous ocean, and it will belong to the jellyfish. More resilient than the fish and mammals, they were here before us, and will be here long after we’re gone.
The Portuguese Man o' War is not jellyfish at all—like us, it’s a colonial organism made up of many small polyps which have become physiologically linked and depend on one another to survive. Together, we have become a blob of hyper-capable, connected people, without order. The internet has made humanity into one big dumb superorganism—a unified and formless blob barreling into the future.
Jelly futures describe a kind of transhumanism in which we share a soft, sticky, and slimy collective body. The items explored here anticipate this shift and challenge traditional ideas about materiality and form. They are tools and accessories that help us reach beyond both our bodies and the familiar. Just as the Tide Pod’s obscure form has been absorbed into the jelly exterior of the Raf Simons Ozweego, the forms we consider solid are being infiltrated by the amorphous and illegible.
We need one another to survive, yet we all long to stick out and be individuals. The jelly future is codependent by necessity—here our bodies and minds are intertwined, whether we like it or not. As objects gather history they will also evolve to exhibit their complexity as a layering process. Here, a clutch can also be a new shirt in its packaging . A Jimmy Choo is also an Off-White shoe. The magic of the jelly future resides in its ability to make something new out of constituent, seemingly disparate parts.
It’s not that people willfully submit to collectivism, it’s that it cannot be avoided. History, culture, and style aren’t linear anymore—we do not move ahead, but rather in circles and ellipses. The blob just gets bigger. This nebulous future requires new ways to make contact with one another and our surroundings. Our relationships to our own bodies and their boundaries must expand in order to break down the barrier between internal and external, organic and alien. The collagen mask is synthetic. Like a leech or a barnacle it attaches itself and becomes part of the body. We create a homeostatic bond with the stranger for mutual benefit. The cycling short is padded with a gel that mimics flesh and extends your ass into a baboon-like shape to make your ride more comfortable. The polyurethane jackets turn your mushy skin into an impermeable synthetic barrier. Bodies are deforming in soft, impermanent ways. This is about individuals and objects alike becoming more complex through aggregation.
The standard formal qualities about what’s living are being challenged and replaced. Formlessness is the future, existing on a continuum from lifeless to sentient. Goo is non-sentient formlessness. This kind of bio-futurism describes new kinds of synthetics and materiality. Here, inorganic items adopt organic qualities. The surface of a bag is oily and flesh-like—the pink mush Neo wakes up and is filled with nutrients. The material states we recognize will be challenged. Between solid, liquid, gas, and plasma is goo—both a connective tissue and a new state unto itself. We explore how it sounds through ASMR videos, how it feels through interactive refrigerator membranes, how it tastes and smells through endurance gels. We are interacting with synthetics that erase the boundaries between real and fake by adopting organic qualities.
The jelly future finds its own level. Just as synthetic things adopt organic qualities, so too will organic things begin to adopt synthetic qualities. Along with new forms, our bodies will be modified to allow for new sensations. We will find novel ways to gamify and play with nature, whether it be making glow in the dark bunny rabbits or a biotechnological virtual reality game. This is about exercising creative power over the body and creating more direct ways for it to interface with our surroundings and other people. While latex clothing creates a second inflatable and stretchy skin, it also extends the frontier of the body itself. A fake ass has successfully absorbed the alien into the body in order to expand its boundaries.
The details, flaws, and differences that help us stand out are obscured in the jelly future. As we are brought together into a collective gelatinous body, unity itself acts as a kind of smoothing process. A seamless surface has infinite depth. What is glossy challenges its own corporeality by making what’s solid appear fluid. Reflectivity and sheen are ways of deflecting interrogation from the exterior. Whether we like it or not, contemporary culture is nothing more than involuntary preparation for absorption into the jelly future. There, we will all be together.
Lucas Mascatello is an artist and brand strategist based in New York City.
- Text: Lucas Mascatello
- Images/Photos Courtesy Of: Lucas Mascatello