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A STAGGERINGLY SMALL WORLD BELOW

DESIGN

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It turns out that people will happily eat ‘nanotechnology’ and freaky science if it comes in a cone. The point of the cloud project is both to communicate modern science at a popular level, and to break through some of the hysteria surrounding the subject ; during this summer the van also hosted discussions with prominent scientists and thinkers in the field. Zoe says that her whole neighbourhood

" ( Ginsberg ) fantasises about a world in which the hybrid organisms re-invigorate human biology, creating new-wave pathologies such as luminescent kidney stones or pollution sensing lung tumours. "

has now become nano-savvy as they have watched she and Cat decorating and fitting out their van on the street outside her house. Instead of taking to the street, Daisy Ginsberg has been taking to the laboratory. In her Synthetic Kingdom project, she examines how synthetic biology – nanoengineering that takes its material components from the living world – might be classified, and where to draw the line between the natural and artificial. Her Tree of Life bears a new branch – Synthetica – and she fantasises about a world in which the hybrid organisms re-invigorate human biology, creating newwave pathologies such as luminescent kidney stones or pollution sensing lung tumours. The human body becomes a site of production – in Nano Ecologies she pictures the substances exuded by the body ( sweat, dead skin, other unmentionables ) as harvestable and nutritious nano-particles that can form part of a micro ecology: in her scenario this involves feeding such substances to a goose that in turn lays eggs for the human donor to eat. Interest in nanotech and the field of human harvest is not unique to the design courses at the RCA. Over in Eindhoven, Mike John Thompson’s graduation project Growing Pains imagined the potential for adapting the living skeleton – cultivating the body’s own material during life to provide custom-shaped bone products – such as a pipe or work tool – to be retrieved after its death.

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“What would be the utility of such machines ? Who knows ?” Richard Feynman

Amateurs prodding around in the field of nanotechnology quickly hit the broad Rumsfeldian plateau somewhere between the known and unknown unknowns – a vague awareness that they basically know nothing about the field, but are not quite sure of just how enormously ignorant they are. Is it folly to imagine that designers should be fully engaged with every scientific aspect of an area ? Is it enough that they understand the properties of a new material or technology, and then work out the ways it might interestingly be harnessed ? As the science involved becomes increasingly specialised, it seems logical that

some kind of interface evolves to allow designers to fi nd a role for these new technologies in the world beyond the laboratory. In 2006 BASF, the worlds largest chemical company, opened up its Designfabrik – a dedicated facility for designers to communicate with their scientists. The result has been two of the most prominent industrial design launches of the past two years – Konstantin Grcic’s

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Daisy Ginsberg's pollution sensing lung tumor

Next Page 02. 03.

Ginsberg's take on unlimited energy: The Luminaire The New Tree of Life

The Nano Issue  

Belgium: Me, Myself & I — Lifestyle: Lonesome Cowboys — Fashion: Mole Men — Design: When Right Met Left — Culture: Micro Mad — The Design...

The Nano Issue  

Belgium: Me, Myself & I — Lifestyle: Lonesome Cowboys — Fashion: Mole Men — Design: When Right Met Left — Culture: Micro Mad — The Design...

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