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Bodily Materials

It is very easy to forget that our bodies are simply constructed from the chemical elements, like everything else around us, both animate and inanimate. We are made from materials, and we live in continuous exchange with our material environment. We take in the chemical building blocks of life, firstly from our mothers and then from our food. It is fascinating to imagine where the materials in our bodies have come from, and what they might have been before they were us.

We also surround ourselves with materials that are central to the health, functionality and comfort of our bodies: from supplements, implants and prostheses through to clothes and spectacles. This selection explores how the materials of, in and around our bodies become part of us, and how we in turn shape them.