Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The influence of biotechnologies

Elio Caccavale is a product and interaction designer who explores the relationship between biotechnologies and our reactions to the "transhuman". He developped a series of toys that symbolize the emergence of biological hybrids.

MyBio bunny, MyBio glowing fish and MyBio jellyfish glow bright green when illuminated with a UV light, demonstrating how scientists have used GFP as a fluorescent indicator for monitoring gene expression in living organisms; MyBio reactor cow shows how cows produce proteins in their milk for pharmaceutical drugs (this is symbolized by the "milk thread" attached to the cow's udders); MyBio goat has a spider web attached to the udders demonstrating one animal making the natural product of another.

As Nicholas Negroponte said in Wired, beyond Digital, 1998: "The decades ahead will be a period of comprehending biotech, mastering nature, and realizing extraterrestrial travel, with DNA computers, microrobots, and nanotechnologies the main characters on the technological stage. Computers as we know them today will a) be boring, and b) disappear into things that are first and foremost something else: smart nails, self-cleaning shirts, driverless cars, therapeutic Barbie dolls, intelligent doorknobs that let the Federal Express man in and Fido out, but not 10 other dogs back in. Computers will be a sweeping yet invisible part of our everyday lives: We'll live in them, wear them, even eat them. A computer a day will keep the doctor away."

Now that the new technological stage described by Nicolas Negroponte is prominent, I study the materiality perceived through these technologies. I believe that this modification of our perception of the environment is developped through our experience with the digital.

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