Human Body Shop by Eliot Postma


Royal College of Art student Eliot Postma has created a conceptual project where pets could be used to harvest human organs for transplants.

Called Human Body Shop, the project includes proposals for models to commemorate the sacrificed animals, which would be made of the cremated remains set in resin and mounted on a plinth made of the pet's skin.

See also: Life Support by Revital Cohen, a conceptual project about turning animals into medical devices. See Dezeen's top ten stories about animals here.

Here are a few more details from Postma:

In memory of our pets

Cremated sheep's remains set into clear resin

With organ donor shortages across the globe, Eliot Postma explores a future in which pets are engineered to grow replacement human parts.

This doll questions a new relationship between pet and owner, happily living side by side until a transplant is required. Once an organ has been harvested the doll is made as a memorial to the pet. The cremated remains are set into a clear resin model of the pet and stand on a plinth of the sheep's skin. The subtle human mutations acting as a reminder of the reason for its existence and sacrifice.

Eliot presented this product in the Royal College of Art Architecture show as part of a wider project called 'Human Body Shop'.

Posted on Monday March 8th 2010 at 2:40 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Pao

    This is honestly a sick project. I agree with art “pushing the boundaries” and exploring new territories but honestly, why inciting the abuse of animals? Why not harvest human organs in humans and explore that result? Not enough courage to “challenge” so many boundaries?

  • geronimo

    well the idea itself is pretty scary

    great that really new stuff will be presented. more underdog stuff.

    the establishment is everywhere available anyway…

  • j

    An interesting proposal.

    This is contradictory however to the way we currently use animals. We’ve eaten meat since pre-historic times, but in modern culture there is a very out of sight out of mind attitude towards animal consumption. Before the first organ transplants we relied on meat, but never created shrines like this to commemorate the animals we ate. It’s unrealistic that we would do so for a less important use of animal flesh like organ farming.

  • tanya telford – T

    i think this is about a very complex & difficult subject area, i can’t help but want to ask – “should this really be grouped into architecture?”,

  • Mauricio Duarte

    Might be more sustainable to implant donkey ears on human heads, in order to clariffy that people with so much cappacity, apply than selves with characterless proposals.

  • If it were possible to create organs and tissue suitable for humans through genetic engineering, the basic process of cloning would not require animals to act as hosts.




  • Damian

    cry & hate as long as you want but stop it with the caps.

  • hmmm….

    j Says:
    ””…we relied on meat, but never created shrines like this to commemorate the animals we ate….”

    Not true! I was in a museum last week looking at Eskimo pottery that serve as prayers to dead reindeer. People have always used objects and images to pay thanks to animals – goes back to cave painting.

    I’d like to ask… why do all the Royal College Students have this thing going on with animals? Why aren’t they interested (en masse) in other ethical topics?

    I really like the sculpture – but I’m not sure what the whole message is. Should we pay thanks to animals?
    Why if it’s dead.
    Is this just a commentary on where we’re at?
    In which case thanking animals in this way is quite a pathetic gesture… is that the idea?!?

  • pim

    Strange that people would be opposed to using animals to save the life of a human. I am sure they would think differently if their liver was failing.

  • alessandro

    Would the sheep have to wear shoes?

  • eye+

    rather repetitive, the real process has been already tested in the early 2000’s.
    There are also cases where the body of the patient itself can be used as a harvesting field. This basically has nothing to do with genetics and it is categorized as plastic surgery I guess.
    anyway RCA is an art school and i’m surprised to see the description of the work. This is more of a 50’s surrealist sculpture than a conceptual project.

  • jack the ripper

    even I find it sick and disturbing …
    wait for PETA to react now …

  • OG

    I hate this too. haven’t we humans used animals for our selfish needs enough? this is really taking it one step further. and i agree with patrick y wong, if this is possible we don’t need animals to serve as hosts.

  • jack the ripper

    no Pim . sacrificing someone else ‘s life – even it has four legs – to save someone else IS very strange .unless the donor consents of course .

    would like to know what animals have to say on this .

  • urbanlegend

    this really is sick.. leave dead animals dead

  • PPPP

    Sick / crying / disturbed / >>>>!! I love it.

    The use of animals in medical research and treatments goes back thousands of years; so to be so disgusted by this is simply naiive. Organ replacement is a sector of medical care which is both growing and under resourced. If architects are the only people considering the social and design ramifications for this, then so be it.

    Those of you who believe that architects just design slick boxes or curvy buildings are much misinformed. The role of the architect is to constantly explore and question the way the world functions, and make design proposals both in response to how it is, and preparation for what is to come. If this includes thought provoking products / websites / monuments / key rings… whatever … to communicate a sophisticated scenario then so be it. Too bad some of you just don’t get it!

    Architecture students who make imaginative and provocative use of research should be congratulated and don’t deserve some of the drivel that has been written here.

    Nice one Eliot

  • hallo

    At Wageningen University (The Netherlands) they are investigating ways to grow meat. In the future they might be able to print meat with a machine.
    Harvesting meat from animals will not be necessary in the future.

  • oh …. and I’d like to add that the idea of using of animals for growing (the shapes of) human body parts went out of date in 2004. (We all remember the mouse with the (shape of) human ear implant)

    There is now the possibility to grow in vitro – with working blood vessels. The growth of tissue over the form of body parts will be done artificially – so this animal sculpture describes a dystopian future not a possible reality – like J.G. Ballard or like Tony Dunne (RCA) was talking about way back then – but the science moved on, and we’re not going to use this method not least because it’s so controversial. (and yes – I know the meat industry is ‘controversial’ … but as with international tobacco law – you can sell this disgusting product in a country, but you can’t introduce a new variation on it. Eg. The U.K. sells cigarettes – but cannot now introduce Scandanavian ‘snus’ which is much much safer and would save many people from lung cancer, simply because it’s another tobacco product.

    So this animal is not a future that’s going to happen…. is this just a twisted scince fiction (of a fantasy future)? It’s nice then as a story and for what it says about why we grow animals for meat – but not for this fantasy about body parts.

    Come on Royal College – what’s the obsession with the animal thing?
    Why not Climate Change? Capitalism? War? Famine?

  • tanya telford – T

    well,……i know i couldn’t do this or ask this of any of my past or present or future pets and i also believe that an architects work does not just involve designing slick boxes or curvy buildings. Is this project communicating a sophisticated scenario, not sure, with out the information above I would read the sheep object as somehow or other representing genetic modifying but beyond that who knows (that’s how i see it),

  • eye+

    i guess this guy just got what he wanted, 2 pages of comments!!
    i personaly see no difference between this and a prehistorical sculpture of a horse with a man’s head etc,.. with an addition of a couple of semi-trendy hollywood sci-fi words stuck to it. c’mon look at the piece for 10 seconds..

  • tk

    Well. This is called Art.
    For better or worse, it is supposed to provoke awareness and discussion or arguments on the subject – in that sense the artist has already proven to have done a great job. On the execution itself I think it is a beautifully crafted piece of art. With emotion.

  • Tomás

    This is a concept project and I really think that who does just a concept have to think deeply. At least if he doesn’t want people to think that he found enough interesting or disturbed a sheep with shoes.

    How may animals you have to reinvent to get all human organs, compatibilities, why a sheep and not a pork, why don’t you use a human body and why do you use a sheep? Where are the boundaries and why?

    Please next time less pictures and more text.

  • tanya telford – T

    for me, i guess if i saw this piece in a gallery with out the text i would take it to be a piece about some or other part of mans (humans) relationship with the animal kingdom at present, although which part im not sure,

  • tanya telford – T
  • @TK

    “tk Says:
    For better or worse, it is supposed to provoke awareness and discussion or arguments on the subject ”

    What is the subject?
    We are not going to use animals to grow human body parts. That’s an old sci-fi idea that was superceded in 2004. Like jet powered cars.
    What is the subject?

  • kp

    Actually this research is very much going on, and by no means sci-fi, as it is more efficient than growing in vitro.

    One example –

    More text to explain the project might help avoid misunderstanding, but great subject matter and execution.

  • lanvy

    BRAVO!!! Fantastic idea….finally honest and true functional art.

    I am so very humor by the faux stance on humanitarianism. Humans have been sacraficed on slave wages to make available cheap technology, cheap clothes, cheap shoes…and cheap resources for our fanciful creations. You guys are now skrieking about an idea. HOW ELITIST.

  • Why does the lamb have to die after you take it’s ears and feet off?
    Isn’t that a bit cruel?

  • Adaro

    Let’s humour ourselves by imagining some aliens landing on earth and start using us for the same purpose. ^_^

  • I just don’t like the idea of putting up something like this.