Jonah is joined by Anastasia Synn this week to discuss biohacking, the future, and the shocking side of magic. Anastasia is a biohacker, magician and stunt performer with 26 implants in her body that she uses in her performances and day to day life.
Anastasia’s journey into magic began after seeing Chris Angel’s special on TV. His special led her to seeking out a magic store and purchasing the standard starter trick. While performing behind the bar she worked at, Anastasia quickly realized that she was drawn to the more visual magic. After discovering needle through arm and seeing people’s reactions, she knew that wanted to perform magic that would elicit that visceral, shocked response from her audience.
Biohacking & Magic
Biohacking is the practice of changing your chemistry and physiology through science and self-experimentation with the goal of enhancing your body. In Anastasia’s case, she’s a Grinder – a person who alters their body by implanting cybernetic devices like magnets or NFC chips.
So how can you apply biohacking to magic? Anastasia explains that the limit is really your creativity and how far you’re willing to modify your body. By just implanting magnets throughout her body, she is able to perform or replicate magic tricks that use magnets to operate. RFID and NFC chips allow Anastasia to control switches with a flick of her finger or have information instantaneously fed to her. Being a relatively new field, there is a lot of potential to explore with what can be done.
If you’re worried about safety, Anastasia assures listeners that it is safe as long as you’re smart about it. She tests and sterilizes everything that goes in her body; she knows where everything is coming from; she isn’t just sticking things into her body with the hopes it might work. While she might consider herself a guinea pig for the new tech, she isn’t stupid.
If you are interested in learning more about biohacking you can check out the biohack.me forum where biohackers congregate. If you would like a reputable source to purchase chips, Anastasia recommends Dangerous Things (don’t let the name throw you off) and finding a person who does body modifications to install them if you’re squeamish.
Shocking the Audience
If you’ve seen her live, on Fool Us, or just a clip of her performing, you know that Anastasia doesn’t shy away from the weird, body horror-esque magic that throws back to the Chris Angel era. Whether it’s a needle through her arm or pulling out an absurd length of string from her chest though, Anastasia is always looking to find the humour in the uncomfortably shocking magic. Her goal is to not make people unsettled in this era of unsettling news, but to make people recognize the comedy behind what she’s doing.
What do you like about current magic? What don’t you like?
Anastasia likes and doesn’t like the easy access to magic online. While she enjoys the fact that anybody can get into magic without being met by a barrier, she also recognizes that barrier made people have to fight to learn and discover the secrets of magic.
Take Home Point
Please don’t be queasy, the future is not as scary as it seems. I promise.