“A New Biology for a New Century”
The text begins by discussing the human race’s focus historically being strongly dominated by physics. As of the late 20th century and into the 21st, this focus has shifted and biology has “become the underlying paradigm of engineering. It discusses concepts of emergence and self-organization in relation to the discipline of architecture and promising, related, and instrumental techniques for design, manufacturing, and construction.”
I feel that this text and the Responsive Architecture text from last week / this week have a lot in common. Both discuss materiality and the potential to unfold new forms of material environments for living, new neighborhood and city models. I wish the text would have focused less on large architectural forms and more on morphogenic design for smaller works, not that a few weren’t mentioned. Artists seem to be participating in the new synthetic biological paradigm by actualizing new forms for cultural environments and sustainable living. I find the more interesting of these projects and ideas to be coming from artists like Theo Jansen working on producing new material organisms rather than focusing on new architecture. As beautiful, well researched, and executed these biologically modeled architectural structures are (like the photo Andrew Posted), just because it looks like a cell under a microscope doesn’t mean it is build with materials that can grow beneficial cells for our environment. I find a lot of these architectural forms to be pleasing to the eye but not anymore beneficial to the environment. Though as we read in the previous fabrication text, there are architects combining both design and beneficial material functionality (solar power generating ‘skins’ for heating etc), there seem to be more structures focused on the visual appeal rather than the ecological need.
In the beginning of the text, there is a small blip about Dyson discussing the access to do-it-yourself kits. As interested as I personally am in this movement and the focus of biological art, I sometimes wonder when DIY Kits and ‘at home’ garden/plant engineering projects, will change the face of art, be it good or bad. I often find myself struggling with the idea of DIY Kits becoming forms of art, as beautiful as the final products and kit designs are, in the end, I feel like DIY projects, are just that, projects or utilitarian tools. Its hard for me to often couple even the most aesthetically beautiful and well thought out/constructed kits with fine art. It’s a tough reach for me because I think that the movement towards self sustainable and more environmentally conscious living is and should be a large focus of our interests as human’s working towards fixing an environment in which we aided in destroying, but at the same time, I just don’t see many of these works (specifically related to the DIY kit movement) to be (A)rt in many cases. Though, I’m sure a large majority of the art world would disagree with that last statement. Regardless, I think there are a lot if artists coming up with interesting solutions to ecological problems via kit form, I am just concerned that a lot of art will become lost in a group of ikea’d commercial products.