The discussion from prior weeks pointed out the momentum and synergy between art and technology carried each other via novel means of craftsmanship. The chapter on Biomedia, written by Eugene Thacker, who also written a whole book on the subject, sparked me the idea of how nature is acting as a driving force and provide inspiration for art and technology. Even though the essay has a tone that is pivoted towards biomedia in the means of the genome, the code, and their implication on art, my view here starts from a more top-down perspective.
Observation of birds, which inclined poets to write poems, helped Wright brothers to prototype the very first airplane. So, it is not surprising to see that now we have robots, mimicking and actually using living forms to navigate around. Considering that it is not the sole example, the field of biomechanics is showing us the tip of the iceberg for the posthuman. Tip of the iceberg to give ideas about posthuman MIT tissue robot. The living forms can be artificially created by stem cells. Besides, the protein synthesis depends on the genetic code: The genetic code, as Eugene Thacker states, is convenient to store, process, and represent in a computer as stated by Thacker.
The sequence that constitutes the genetic code can be altered; but, the outcome of these alterations are not possible to forecast in advance. Although this opens up the possibility of reaching the posthuman via genome research, the ethical questions around the paradigm are yet to be answered nowadays. Here, biomedia could serve as a provocative exploration tool, by cracking the boundaries of the existing definition of what is human and what is a living form. The dualistic approach of separated body and mind is compromised by the corporations who are trying to reduce human beings into code. The motivation behind is also quite material and dystopian; by knowing in advance which gene sequences result in a certain type of illness, your personal genome data can now serve the best interests of your insurance company. The consequences have already found its place in popular culture: An intro from the cyberpunk dystopian themed game Deus Ex (Eidos, 2000) provides us with a glimpse of possible issues revolving around the genetic alteration processes. The protagonist Adam Jensen acquires skills and capabilities by genetic therapies and cybernetics:
Another novelty that biomedia could introduce is a prediction of human life in the future: In the BioWall project, artists came up with a prediction of human population density in 100 years, by using the method of “bacteriography” to attract attention around issues regarding sustainability.
And for those who wants to have a tattoo, DuoSkin from MIT Media Lab, offers you a cool way of remote controlling your devices; functional and aesthetically pleasing at the same time: