The Twelfth Man is a set of adaptive narratives that imagine how disruptive future technologies might drive the mathematical quantification of sport, the metamorphosis of enhancing both athletes and fans, and the contradictory social response that follows. The project is a personal examination and critique of the perception and normalization of performance enhancements in professional sports and a look at how biological and mechanical systems of change can be designed and implemented.
It is not inconceivable that in a not-too-distant future, drastic genetic and mechanical enhancements will not only be possible, but also socially permissible, and massively desirable in athletics. Lance Gracie Performance Enhancing Pharmaceuticals looks at how athletic enhancements would be sold as a service, promising success through safe & effective biological modification to athletes and their fans upon entering competitive sports. Gracie seeks to find the limits athletes will go to achieve greatness in conjunction with the drastic measures a fan will endure to achieve proximity to the athletes they celebrate or even to help the team they love win.
The Twelfth Man seeks to put the viewer/character in a unique predicament: when novel devices/enhancements are normalized into existing rituals and practices, it challenges orthodoxies of “natural” athleticism. The question then becomes, not if we should enhance ourselves, but how much.