Corpus 2.0 by Marcia Nolte



Corpus 2.0 by Marcia Nolte is a set of seven portraits illustrating how the human body could adjust itself to the design of products, including a hole in the lips for smokers (above) and an extended shoulder for holding a phone (below). Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.


Other proposals include a ridge in the nose developed for wearing glasses, ears moulded to accommodate earphones, a thumb with an extra joint for sending SMS messages more efficiently and a foot adapted to create the same posture as wearing high heels.


The project is exhibited at the graduation show at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands this week, as part of Dutch Design Week. See our Dutch Design Week 08 category for more graduate work from Design Academy Eindhoven and other shows.


Here's some text from Nolte:


If we look back into the history of evolution, we see that our body adapts to changing circumstances. Today we see that these circumstances often adapt to our body. In this case the design is usually reacting on the individual needs and less on surviving.


Corpus 2.0 is a version of the human body, influenced by factors like developments in technology, but also fashion phenomena, ways of living and products.


Corpus 2.0 is looking for the possibilities of the new designed body and notices potential directions. The question remains if good design is still necessary, and how the human body will adapt to this.

Noseslope: is the adaption by wearing glasses. If design will react on this, new forms of glasses can exist

Shoulderholder: Shows the possibilities of wireless technology and being mobile. Since then we can do a lot of things at the same time, for example calling and driving at the same time. The shoulderholder will work as a third hand.

Headphone-ear: Maybe there will be only one form of the headphone on the market. For people who want to be connected with music all day, the ear will adapt to its form.

High-heel foot: Also way of living is getting in to our body. With these feet a women can feel confident all day.

Smokinghole: Smokers will get this hole in their mouth because it is their friend. Since it is a problem of society, smokers can recognize each other and feel kind of connected.

Touch-it thumb: It’s about technology which is concentrated on the thumb, like text messaging, car-keys, television, computer games. It is already said that in three generations the thumb will be bigger and stronger.

Dezeen Book of Ideas out now!

dRMM is included in our book, Dezeen Book of Ideas. Buy it now for just £12.

Posted on Friday October 24th 2008 at 4:12 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • modular

    Holy crap! :O

  • God this images are kinda disturbing! It’s an interesting idea but I can’t stand to read all about it because I can’t get the photos out of my head..! Going to go look at lolcats or fluffy kittens or something… Might comment again once I’ve recovered!

  • lana

    ok, i got it!
    the human body, or any other living being adapts to its/their habitat/environment! but shouldn’t design avoid this? shouldn’t design consider the living being habitat? isn’t good design influenced/inspired by human body needs, nature and habitat/environment?

  • sc hu yl er

    I wish my body could adjust itself to keep my lunch down.

  • kingmu

    a fascinating study.


    Great idea,

    I would have one with hole in stomach to feed food through so you dont have to chew and dont have decay tooth so dont have to go to dentist
    well done belgium students, waiting to see more ideas in future..

    • Anna

      Yes, but that takes the enjoyment out of the taste of all of the delicious food out there!

  • matt

    that’s really good, congrats!

  • Our bodies had already been heavily modified by our own designs, so changes such as these may not be unlikely. Our feet can hardly walk in the wild without shoes anymore. People who are used to high heels can hardly walk with normal shoes. And people who play guitars know how that would change your fingers.

    I can foresee how we will have to buy and implant Apple-branded iEars in future to listen to any sort of DRM-encrypted music.

  • sandro

    thinking of a shoulder that can hold your cellphone while within a couple of years we might even have no more cellphones!!.
    redesigning the human body to meet the needs of poorly-designed products is not a smart idea at all. I personally think that these images show fundamental problems that lie beneath a number of products that we use in our daily lives rather than demonstrating possibilities for changes in our bodies. we have to consider that all transformations of the human body were actually made through thousands of years of evolution and an invention that would be around for 100 years or so can not change or shape this process. imagine if people that were born in the age of pen and paper had their bodies modified to that technology!! they could not face the life we have today and they could not either reach the point we have reached now.!
    unfortunately I have no specific details of this project but the way it is explained in this article doesn’t convinvce me at all. you take the human body that has evolved through Millions of years of evolution (that happened to provide human beings with the possibility of life) and redesign it to fulfill a need that is related to a product that has a relatively short expiration date?!

  • Boo

    Of course this is all irrelevant because the human body can do all those things with no adaptations whatsoever:}

  • Jeremiah

    I think this is a wonderful project. I also, like many others, find the images somewhat disturbing, but this is good. I see this less as a hypothetical evolutionary design, as the text describes it, but rather as a critique on modern design and the social norm. Perhaps an extra joint in the thumb would be great for text messaging, but maybe just coming up with a better way to text message, or something better than text messaging altogether, would be a better solution… Might not be the point of the project, but it is excellent either way.

  • atomant

    this is like aeon flux where one of the characters underwent a surgery to land on all fours like a frog.

  • sc hu yl er

    Cheers Sandro.

    A “critique on modern design and the social norm?” Please. At best, it might be a critique on the biological norm; a critique that is unnecessary and arrogant, even hypothetically.

    Also, has anyone else noticed that Dezeen has taken to editing our comments? Not just approving or disapproving them, but selectively removing certain elements or our statements? I find that immensely disappointing.

  • pilar

    great idea!
    We should have thought about it earlier. It’s not always about designing superb things…Sometime we have to think abaout ourselves adapting in such a weird way!

  • @sc hu yl er:

    Yes we have started to be more strict about the comments we publish, and to remove rude or inappropriate elements of comments that are otherwise valid. We don’t consider this censorship: it’s just about good manners. Please help make our job easier by avoiding being abusive in the first place and we won’t have to do this.

    Most designers who send us material to publish welcome a bit of healthy debate but there’s no reason for some of the language people have been using lately. Please consider the feelings of others when you post comments. If you don’t like the work in a post, please explain why, rather than simply slagging it off!

    See the recent debate on this subject.


    Marcus, Dezeen

  • oxo
  • Azeem

    Good until it remains a study!!

  • morbid images… i am finding them quite disturbing… i guess it is a natural instinct against (d)evolution…… interesting study though…

  • Reinier

    I was taught at school that evolutionary modifications only take place if these would increase the chance of succesful offspring. I would say, not the case here. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to eleborate on what does determine human evolution nowadays when no longer physical characteristics determine survival and amount of offspring?

  • kingmu

    I’m completely in support of this new policy. The entire world could benefit from a bit of good, old-fashioned manners. I applaud you for taking this stand (because I can imagine how you all must have fretted over it). I come here for inspiration and to be lifted up, so this only encourages me to visit more often. Thank you.

  • laibach

    absurd idea that provoces people to respond. It took al lot of time for nature to design a human body. We design objects to make our living easier, and we have to think that way, objects can change, should we?

  • shun

    Q: Are we not men?
    A: We are devo

  • Jeremiah

    @ sc hu yl er

    It is a critique of the social norm. Why do we need to text message? Why do women feel the need to wear high heels? Why are smokers relegated to shame by others? It has become the norm in society today. And why should our bodies adapt to modern design? Design as a practice is about problem solving, so why is it that we surround ourselves with “design” that may server some purpose, while actually causing more problems. Design should adapt to us, not the other way around. So I do see it as a “critique on modern design and the social norm” and I find you argument against that opinion, which is something we all are entitled to, shallow and pointless. Have a nice weekend.

  • Joaquin

    Could’ve been sculptures or sketches, not photography.

  • Grotesque

  • Boctaoe

    I would say the designers don’t understand evolution that well. None of these modifications are needed to survive and thrive.

  • Emma

    Evolution does not just occur because some adaptation is helpful; it happens because a genetic mutation/adaptation gives the organism with this adaptation reproductive benefits, since the adaptations are passed on to offspring genetically. This means that people with “noseslope,” for example, would have to be more attractive than those without, and/or would have more children. This of course would have to continue for many, many generations. So in the first place, a significant # of people would have to find people with these mutations more attractive than people without, and in the second place, we’d probably have developed an alternative to glasses by the time this nosesloped population emerged. Therefore, the concept ignores practically all evolutionary science and is purely fanciful in its relationship to evolution.

    However, the images are still intriguing, and presented as a different sort of commentary or in a different context than evolution would be quite interesting and thought-provoking.

  • I’m with Jeremiah – I think it’s a very clever piece on social norms and mores. I don’t really think any of these mutations would come about because I don’t see any of the conditions being ubiquitous enough among humans to push mutation – for example, while millions of us listen to music privately, some of us use earbuds, others all-encompassing half-cauldrons, and everything else in between.

    In response to Boctaoe, evolution doesn’t necessarily pick and choose only modifications that are conducive to surviving and thriving. The vast majority have of course, but only because over the course of history – if they weren’t – that species would die out. Therefore, we don’t see any of those. In today’s world though, that’s less of a factor. We care for those who otherwise would die, leaving us with less of a need to develop only mutations keeping us alive. Evolution simply helps a species more effectively utilize its environment over a great period of time. If, in that environment, we need less help from our bodies to survive and are constantly exposed to other things, we’re just as likely to develop efficient ways to utilize those as well.

    My two cents anyway :)

  • Props to Emma for both beating me and saying it better!

  • Kim

    Weird and monstrous.
    The idea of the post-human, the cyber-modification of the body is really rooted in the 90’s.
    While Body scarification, piercing and other pre-body-plugins for digital mutants or Primitive civilizations are a long time fascination amongst anthropologists. (tatoos, extending body parts, or reducing them) For this you have the very interesting

    I still think that the concepts shown in this projects are somehow shallow, considering its materialistic approach, and its clumsy concepts.
    What it shows is the reversal of the usual dialog between the machine (the design) and the body (user).
    What it implies is that the body becomes a product, a consumption material, a merchandising product. Like anything material, it implies its obsolescence, then its destruction in the sake of vanity and branding. While the designed object becomes a sacred instrument, sanctified by the body and its adaptation.
    This is the ultimate fetishism of commodity.
    People as lampshed, or soap, people’s identity and political opinions dictated by branding. That sounds so post-human, so 90’s !!! and so 1940’s…

    I find it clumsy because it sounds more like a cultural approach than an evolutionary approach. Evolution takes millennium, modifying the body has always been around, in almost all civilization.
    If I was Marcia Nolte, I would talk about cultural body modifications, it would be more appropriate, and maybe more interesting, and realistic. it would as well enrich here concept.

  • Tom

    Instead of a hole in the lips, smokers should evolve a hole in the front of their necks to accommodate the eventual tracheostomy breathing device they will need.

  • moir.deox

    That shoulder looks nasty

  • B B

    See, there’s this entire discipline that deals with how to design products that suit the needs of humans, not vice versa. They call it “ergonomics.” You might want to look into it. It’s kind of a big deal. I mean, not that your ideas aren’t intriguing, just that they’re kind of…obsolete.

    Cool Photoshops, though.

  • WOW!!!!, well this is a good approach for evolution, but technology changes a lot, this is never going to happen.

  • sara

    awesome work…
    true facts!!

  • mary de groot


  • Teodora

    This is not about what the modern things can do to you (with your body) it is an analogy with the way we think about our little or big prosthesis and how we surround ourselves by them, creating our “next nature”. An analogy with an adapted transformation of man’s thought and sensitivity.

  • Sara Makki

    This is verry intersting and verry effective visually!! Great concept. two BIG thumbs up !

  • schneider

    i can’t believe people on here are actually assuming that the designer thinks this is really whats going to happen to our bodies.

    its a fun and interesting project, but it surely wasn’t meant to be a correct vision of the future!

  • Nina

    For exemple, the one with the hole for the smokers doesnt make sense
    explication: the evolution iswhen people who didnt have (randomly) something that is needed to survive die, and the other stay and evrybody become like them.
    for exemple if the food is situated up to 1,5 m , the ones who are smaller will die.
    Here, the ones who have a hole for cigarets will disapear fast and the other will stay.