Speaker Profile: Cyborg Foundation's Moon Ribas

At the foundation of every groundbreaking moment there's a Pioneer.  At the Pioneer Mode Conference, we are bringing you the individuals who are on a mission to transform industry pain points into exciting opportunities to grow, design, and revolutionize.  Our Speaker Profiles are a snapshot of the people behind the ideas of the future. 

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Meet Moon Ribas. She’s a choreographer, dancer and a cyborg. Yes, you read that correctly. But don’t worry she’s not secretly building an army that will overtake the human race. At least… not in the way you’d expect.  

Ribas, along with her partner and childhood friend Niel Harbisson, is one of the co-founders of the Cyborg Foundation. The Cyborg Foundation is an international organization that encourages people to extend their senses through cybernetics. In addition to providing extrasensory modifications, the foundation also defends the rights of cyborgs and aims to promote cyborgism as an art movement. Ribas challenges the idea that humans are limited to a predetermined set of abilities with which they can create and perceive. It's safe to say if Ribas did want to build an army, it would be a collective of artists. 

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Ribas’ first foray into cybernetics was a pair of self-created kaleidoscope glasses that allowed her to perceive color without shape. Not feeling as invested into extending her sense of color she began to experiment with movement. She went on to create a pair of earrings that could detect movement either in front of or behind her in the form of vibrations. However the device proved too stimulating, which led her to create her final extension; a seismic sensor that vibrates whenever there is an earthquake. Ribas has been living with the device permanently implanted in her elbow since 2013 and regularly uses it as inspiration in her choreography.  

Not only does Ribas’ sensor allow her to interpret dance in a unique way, it also allows her to communicate in a language that is deep and largely unexplored. Past inventions have even allowed her to express movement based on the average speed of activity in each city. But what exactly does this all mean for art? It seems like the future of creation and perception is filled with uncertainties that are hard for us to imagine despite our tech-centered society.  What is certain is Moon Ribas is an innovator, artist, and activist at the forefront of uncharted territory. Ribas is an incredible Pioneer pushing us towards shedding our preconceived notions of existence. And we can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon.  

by: Amanda Pickens for Pioneer Mode