Artistic visions for prosthetic design XIII - Design Ping Pong

The situation escalates. This is a bit like the old Photoshop Ping Pong.

I had just completed spray painting my sockets.

But then, after Becky had e-mailed me about this earlier and now that she and Holly had posted their projects' work, their old worn out wooden look started to sink in and I started to like it in my own way. Decay, an organic feel to being used up, but also resistance to adversity, ongoing presence after physical adversity - showing that that is how my arm feels inside, how I feel inside started to become an issue.

But I never liked wood to be a structure that is visible as my prosthetic arm. Wood is too tangible, too physical, to concise and too specific for my taste. Emotionally it would pull me down, I had tried that earlier. I had already figured out also that I needed my prosthesis to transcend known materials.

I wanted something artificial in a sense that no direct association but only references would be possible. The more one digs into the emotional aspects, the more the situation is deadlocked: How do I present strength when there is weakness? How do I present relative comfort in suffering? How to be boldly shy about a clearly visible item that is supposed to be hidden? How to show prosthetic prowess when all that happens is prosthetic decay? What about not telling the truth is lying? What lies are comfortable? If things are bad, why not make them look a bit bad? If things are ugly, why not touch up visible ugliness? Why paint clear symbols, flags or shapes when really animal-like gut feelings dominate us? What design hides constantly added small defects best? What lessons have I learned from previous applications of added decay?

So I sand papered the previously red socket. Then I applied structured rubbery paint to it, stuff that would create a bumpy structure. Then I sprayed it black. After that, I applied this beige yellow greenish color. After it all had dried I sandpapered off some of the structured bits leaving valleys coated with all colors and mountains eroded.

This resulted in a cool somewhat corroded looking appearance. All of a sudden, my arm had obtained a very new quality: it did not get more beautiful in any average sense, but so much more lovable. To me and in relation with my prosthetic arm, a new feeling that I had not expected initially. Starting to modify prosthetic appearance allowed me to eventually get here. This look, this is really close to my heart.

Virtual artistic collaboration. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design XIII - Design Ping Pong; published 25/01/2010, 01:49; URL:

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1604154332, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Artistic visions for prosthetic design XIII - Design Ping Pong}}, month = {January},year = {2010}, url = {}}