Birth Sleeves? New Editions

26 September – 7 October 2023

Late Opening: Tuesday 3 October, 6-9pm

Tony Tempest (detail)

This September, award winning artist Jonathan Armour is returning to Bermondsey Project Space to exhibit his second solo show. Following on from Birth Sleeves? last October, the ‘New Editions’ build on the trans-humanist idea that one day we will be able to upload our human consciousness into a device which can then be relocated into a new body, whether naturally born, modified or artificially created.

Taken from Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon, ‘sleeves’ are the term used for bodies that serve as a receptacle for the human consciousness. The body an individual is born with is called their Birth Sleeve. In the creation of this new exhibition, Armour has been influenced by Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the history and theory of architecture MIT, who said:

What develops over time is something like an ontological crust, a place where our traditional sense of identity toward the outside condenses and contains our sense of Self.*

Armour sees the skin as an interface between the person and the world around us. 

Historically the flaying of the human body resulted in the death of the person. We’re not used to seeing the body fragmented in these ways. However the digital nature of our operation gives permission to step away from the association with death and the tradition of removing the skin in one piece. Instead it has become a celebration of the lives of these mature sleeve donors whose skin has witnessed and recorded their lives.

This exhibition, Birth Sleeves? New Editions, is a celebration of the opened sleeves of 7 people from across the diversity spectrum, aged 50+, whose skins have witnessed and recorded their lives in a myriad of ways, some through their own choice, some resulting from bio-technological intervention but mostly from the abrasion of engaging with life as they progress through it. The exhibition will feature seven new ‘sleeve’ prints on silk, as well as a new body of digital works.

*from “The Digital Stockholm Syndrome in the Post-Ontological Age”, by Mark Jarzombek, 2016, (University of Minnesota Press).


Tuesday 3 October, 6-9pm

Enjoy a mimosa while talking and walking around the ‘Sleeves’.

Bermondsey Project Space and Jonathan Armour warmly invite you to a late opening of the artist’s new solo exhibition, Birth Sleeves? New Editions. At 7pm, Jonathan will walk visitors around the exhibition giving an informal tour of the works, with many opportunities to ask the artist, and the models, questions about the project. Mimosas and pastries will be available.

This event was originally planned for Wednesday 4 October, but was rescheduled due to the industrial action affecting National Rail and London Underground.

Bari Goddard – in the making.