June 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Situated on the thin line between art and design, Sasha Pohflepp’s project entitled Zero Park presents a fictional landscape, in which the flora and fauna have been restored to a natural state of wilderness. The visuals are accompanied by the voice of an unknown narrator. The ambiguous speech progressively reveals the fact that the landscape, which at first seemed natural, may in fact be artificial, hiding its true purpose of private rocket fuel production. This, in turn, casts doubts on the identity of the speaker: a naturalist, a synthetic biologisist or the billionaire owner of a technology corporation with ambitions to reach outerspace. Pohflepp’s intention is to question the role of synthetic biology: i.e what do we consider to be the natural state of an ecosystem or what are the different human agendas at work in the design of nature.
The subject of this work reflects current dominant concerns and general sense of apprehension on the private, hidden applications of emerging practices in science and technology, particularly synthetic biology. But more than just its subject matter, its structure also reflects current views in science that shape our contemporary worldview.
In The open work, Umberto Eco posits that: “In every century, the way that artistic forms are structured reflects the way in which science or contemporary culture views reality.” He then goes on to give examples of this by connecting medieval art, and its closed, single conception to the dominant scientific view at the time: a hierarchy of fixed objects. Baroque art, with its openness and dynamism reflects new scientific awareness, and “by giving up the essential focus of the composition (…) were mirroring the Copernican vision of the universe”. Pohflepp’s work is composed of a myriad of elements: there is a visual component, an audio component and a narrative that unites them in a completely twisted revelatory perception. The interdisciplinary nature of the work mirrors the contemporary world of science where different disciplines combine their specific knowledge (eg. biotechnology) in order to develop hybrid solutions.
May 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
Our current project, Sustainable futures, requires us to explore the relationship between technology and the contemporary environment. I decided to focus my research around bacteria. Recent studies demonstrate the massive impact they have on the environment and the potential beneficial applications in many areas of medicine and ecology that in depth knowledge and wider acceptance of their processes may bring. In order to better understand the subject matter and the wider context of sustainability, the relevant disciplines that formed my field of study were: microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry, ecology and environmental chemistry. This gave me insight into the properties of some species of bacteria, their interactions with the environment as well as intra-species and inter-species behaviors. It also led to a broader understanding of their role in the early evolution of life on earth. The angle that I developed in order to bring the narrative to life required a better understanding of some historical events and economic concepts, which, in turn, led to expanding my field of study with further reading into the following disciplines: history, philosophy, political economy and economics.
November 4, 2013 § Leave a comment