The biomechanical roles of skeletal muscle and their tendons are diverse. Perhaps most intuitively, muscle is regarded as a biological ‘motor’ that provides the work required for accelerating the body and overcoming aero- and hydrodynamic forces. With detailed biomechanical analyses, more intricate roles of the muscle-tendon unit have been uncovered, ranging from energy recyclers, to shock absorbers and capacitors. The functional scope of muscle-tendon tissue makes it an attractive choice for exploring bio-machine integration. Research and cross-disciplinary collaboration at SymbioticA offers a testbed for scientific and artistic exploration into engineered muscle-tendon constructs and the broader philosophical debate surrounding their place in ‘semi-living’ machine systems.