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Artist and DJ Doooo finds beauty in flesh with his everyday object art

TextAlex Peters

From coin purses mouths to severed finger stamps, Doooo’s human flesh items transform the mundane into the uncanny

From digital artists to photographers, body sculptors and hair stylists to make-up and nail artists, in our Spotlight series, we profile the creatives tearing up the rulebook in their respective industries.

You may have seen them on social media. Perfectly formed parts of the body, floating, detached from their usual fleshy context, which are then revealed to be ordinary, everyday items. An anatomically precise jaw complete with teeth and stubble opening up and having coins inserted into it, a severed finger unveiled as a stamp, a nose-shaped shot glass.  

It’s uncanny. The absolute mundanity of the objects transformed by this fleshy coat, features eerily separated from the rest of the face and torso, the boundaries between the human body and technology collapsing, becoming ever more blurry.

These human flesh items come courtesy of the madman brain of Japanese music producer and DJ Doooo. Doooo first ventured into body art for his debut album PANIC when, inspired by horror and science-fiction movies, he made a human flesh MPC for the record’s cover. From there he went deeper into the concept, expanding into appendages, fuelled by his fascination with the body. “I want to tell everyone that the human body is really interesting,” he tells us. “If the nose could be removed, it would be a shot glass, right? If you look closely, it's such an interesting shape!”

Here we chat to Doooo about his work, inspirations, and creative process. 

Do you remember the first time you were conscious of your appearance?

Doooo: Yes, I remember. The children screamed at the train platform. So for the first time, I started being conscious of my appearance.

Growing up, what informed your understanding of beauty and identity and the way you presented yourself visually?

Doooo: In Japan, I was influenced by manga artists Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, Shintaro Kago, and ukiyo-e artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa. I also love the work of Chris Kanningham and HR Giger.

Why are you an artist? 

Doooo: The people I found cool were artists, so I wanted to be like that too. I want to be someone who impresses someone.

How would you describe your work and what you do?

Doooo: DJ and music producer. My human flesh items were born in the process of making music. The human flesh items have also appeared in my music videos and created my character. But recently, I am often introduced as ‘Mad Scientist’.

When did you start creating the flesh objects?

Doooo: I started making human flesh items after my first album PANIC, which was released in November 2017. The human flesh MPC used for the cover of this album was inspired by The Fly (1987). I thought it would be fun to combine fly and human.

The human flesh items were my idea and design and then my partner's Amazing studio JUR forms them. They also run schools, where anyone can learn special moulding techniques. 

Why do you think people had such strong reactions to them?

Doooo: It’s because people thought my work was crazy. I'm glad to have such a reaction.

What is it about bodies that interests you?

Doooo: The human body is really interesting. For example, when I look at the nose by itself, I wonder why it became like this. I want to tell everyone that the human body is really interesting. 

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

Doooo: My ideas come from everyday life. For example, when shopping, I think it would be interesting if the coin purse was a human part. It's funny that a coin purse eats coins, so I want to make it a mouth shape. After that, I put the design on paper and work with my partner on the details to complete the final image.

Is beauty something you try to capture in your work or something that you reject? What is your relationship to ‘beauty’?

Doooo: My work would not be complete without ‘beauty.’ If it was a human flesh item without ‘beauty,’ I don't think many people would enjoy it. The fusion of the idea of making daily necessities into the human body and the elaborately created appearance of the items is beautiful.

How do you think our understanding of the human body has shifted with the evolution of technology?

Doooo: The appearance of a small camera that can shoot the inside of the body and a super slow camera makes it possible to see the human body. Everyone is interested in beauty and health, but maybe not so much about the human body itself, so I think everyone can get a lot of inspiration from such technological advances. This is fantastic.

Do you think technology and the human body will continue to be merged together?

Doooo: I think so. As great technology is developed, something useful and interesting for the human body will be developed. Medical and beauty are good examples of things that are familiar and useful to everyone. 

What are you currently working on?

Doooo: I'm working on the next human flesh art and the next album. What makes human meat art is a secret, sorry. Please look forward to the next one.

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