Hacking the Human Body_Picnic ’07

7 10 2007

 On the 28 sept I went to the conference “Hacking the Human Body” at Picnic ’07 in Amsterdam thanks to the free ticket Regine gave me for present (thanks Regine! I promise you that with my thesis I will make money not art).

picnic pass

Picnic ‘o7 is an annual event highlighting the latest cross media content and technology developments. I joined the meeting about the introduction of biotechnology in art and design, hold by Regine Debatty, Adam Zaretsky and Michael Burton.

Regine introduced the topic with some visions of modified bodies and she asked her guests to give their forecasts on the topic… 

Adam Zaretsky_ he is a teacher and practiotioner of VivoArts, a politically charged field that combines art and biotechnology. Here there are some reflections on his work:(to update)

Michael Burton_ he graduated in Interaction Design the RCA. He has been developing a project called The Race, questioning our future evolution as super organism responding of the change of our own environment in the current age. We are more than our DNA, we are a complex symbiosis with bacterias, micro-organisms and we should try to adapt to the new conditions considering them as part of our body and ecosystem. The biotechnology so should be a mean to modify bodies to better host them since they are essential for our health.

Michael Burton focused its design in improving the transmission of these bacterias to humans, such as:

 # new kind of bioengineered pets that could favourish the transmissions of bacteria to humans thanks to their fur;

petdander

# bioengineered human bodies that could store a large amount of micro-organisms in their cavities, surfaces, hair; 

 fingernails.gif          fingernails2.gif          praying_mantis_wig2.gif                                                   

# objects/clothes thanks to which humans could be more easely infected by the animals near them. 

wearable birds feeder            cow-inocu.gif          maggottherapyselfharm2.gif         

What I really like of Michael Burton project is:

# his deep research in the developing biotechnology and its consequences on society;

# his way of questioning the relevance of DNA: “are we only our own DNA?”;

#  his rethinking the use of biotechnology for a purpose that differs from the usual scientific purposes;

# his vision about the changing of behaviour of mankind due to the changing environment and the modified body;

# the real need he finds in the current age of manipulating the body in order to follow our evolution and let men live in this environment;

# with his project he affirms that the application of science is justified only by humanity needs;

# his taking position, even ethical;

# his mixture of last biotechnologies with the symbiotic” healing” relationship between man and animals, which comes from the old use of maggots in wounds;

# his project is not a simple object, but is a vision, a social fiction, an in-progress plot of future scenario that involves the change of behaviour from men;

# his direct and not complex way of present/show his project with pictures, videos, texts (see his website at http://www.michael-burton.co.uk).

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