How extreme should our solutions to save the planet be? Tate Williams reports on some ideas from the fringe including shrinking humans to the size of chickens and giving us cat eyes so we can see at night without electric lights, at Medium:
Imaginative minds are exploring some strange and audacious solutions to our worst environmental problems. They are not, however, for the faint of heart, particularly if you have a strong attachment to the human body as it currently exists.
Biologists have already been toying with the idea of engineering endangered species to make them more resilient, or even resurrecting certain extinct species. But there’s a set of artists and scholars taking the concept of green bioengineering much further, imagining new species of synthetic, beneficial creatures and even biologically modified humans that leave a lighter footprint on the planet.
This idea of manipulating biology to tackle environmental problems can trigger an odd combination of exhilaration and horror. But it also forces us to face just how difficult these problems are. And while they are hypothetical and some admittedly preposterous, the ideas are rooted in real science, and get us thinking about the level to which we’re willing to tinker with nature, and ourselves, for the health of the planet.
For artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, design can play an important role in this discussion, as it helps us grapple with what the future of biotechnology might look and feel like beyond the scale of a petri dish, and therefore explore what we want or don’t want it to become.
Her latest project is curating the art exhibit Grow Your Own…Life After Nature, now showing at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, which asked artists, designers and scientists to provoke discussion around the future of synthetic biology. One of her own installations, Designing for the Sixth Extinction, imagines a fictional fleet of manufactured organisms we might set loose on nature to assist in restoring biodiversity…
[continues at Medium]