Sunday, 20 March 2011
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
I've been seeing more and more clips recently showing the advances in 3d printing and its new applications within science health care and manufacturing. One of the most incredible things I've seen is this talk by Anthony Atala on TED in which a new replacement human kidney is printed. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. I kept asking myself why? Why is this so intriguing, amazing even mind melding?? Am I just amazed in the technical advances 'wow look at what we are able to achieve!' No its more fundamental than that. I find myself thinking back to my studies when I wrote about Kandinsky, Post Modernism and the real and the abstract/virtual.
That line we hold so dear between the real and the virtual. It continues to evaporate piece by piece as we become more an more adapt at altering changing our environment in ever more sophisticated ways.
When one thinks of ones self 'the indavidual' one thinks of ones body 'ones body is ones self'. But all these parts/organs will soon be replaceable they are no different from mechanical parts in a car or the inerds of a computer. Complex parts yes but is the internet not complex? And complexity isn't enough anyway i.e. humanity = complexity is a very unsatisfactory equation, some times what makes us human can be incredibly simple. So ones left asking what is humanity if not physical? Is it the manipulation of data/the things we perceive deciphered through a certain code/our DNA?
If so how does the virtual and real becoming ever more intertwined effect us? You could take the point of view that we are loosing our humanity messing around in areas we should not. You might have all sorts of dystopian science fiction films swirling around your head where one is unable to separate the dream from reality where we lose some basic understanding of what it is to be human.
But thats not what I see I think the line between the real and the virtual has always been frankly ludicrous it is the very fact that we alter our world and then in turn our world alters us which defines us as humans. What is clear is that what we create is up to us and therefore we need to focus and also broaden our vision of what we want to create. That is why these video clips have such an effect on me they challenge us, they say come on you need to try harder, the world is moving at an unprecedented speed (particularly in terms of technology) and we need to keep up with it. We need to look again at what it is where doing and why it is where doing it.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
I Came home for a short visit to see dad and we went across to see Grandpa. I sat with Grandpa for a while in his bedroom looking out across the valley whilst he retold old army stories which I had heard many times before. After a short while dad came back into the room with 3 cups of tea we all continue chatting for a while whilst drinking our tea then dad asked me if I'd like to see what he's been doing in the garden “yes” I say “I'd love to.” Grandpa decides he's going to come as well so we all venture outside!
As we get to the back garden dad begins to point out which bits he's been working on and what he's done. There is a clear improvement, mainly due to the fact that he's cut down the hedge which separates the two sections of the garden this allows you to get a really good view of the valley. Whilst Dad is telling me this Grandpa is pocking his walking stick at the ground saying “I'll have to get out here and do some weeding.” This seems to be mildly irritating Dad as Grandpa seems to be more interested in the weeds than all the work he has done to the garden. At the side of grandpas house his new neighbours are re building there house, in its present state it seems quit an imposing structure with all its scaffolding up, as it drastically alters a space which I have known since my earliest childhood.
We walk down to the bottom garden along the way dad points out all the flowers in bloom. The delicate structure and colouring of some of the flowers is quite extraordinary. They are like jewels from another world. As I look at them I start to think how silly this thing called art is and how completely unable it is to compete with such natural structures which lie unknown in the corner of my Grandpas garden .
Once we are in the bottom garden we can see all the new housing estates which have been built over the last 7 years. They still sit oddly for me within the context of grandpa's garden, as this was all moorland when I used to come here as a child. It seems like we are looking down upon a different reality. I am glad to be stud at a distance from them, as they seem to suffocate me somehow. It is as if they are saying hey everything's normal everything's fine, don't worry, aren't we friendly everything is clean and shiny here, almost as if they are little mazes which people could loose there whole life within without even realising. They don't seem to work in relation to there surroundings, as if they could have been placed anywhere in the UK . Grandpa seems equally irritated by there presence. I think to my self if they seem so alien to me then how odd must they seem to him?
I decide to gather the three of us together at the bottom of the garden for a group photo the first attempt goes a little wrong as I stand in front of dads head which I realise at the last minute and try to move out of the way which makes grandpa laugh. On the second attempt I get it right but on reflection maybe the first was better! It is nice to see a picture of the three of us together (just missing Graham).
Monday, 19 July 2010
We are closed in we are trapped.
I’m sat at Liverpool docklands in front of me are rows of cars and to the right rows of lorries. I’m one of a dozen foot passengers all waiting to board the ship for an 8 hour crossing over to Belfast. I’ve decided to travel by ferry rather than plane to try and cut down on my carbon footprint.
I'm starting to wonder if I've made the right decision as I wait to board, I've paid almost double what I would have to fly and my back is now killing from carrying my rucksack across Liverpool as the train station is on the opposite side of the river.
But this isn’t just a matter of it being less convenient or more expensive for me to travel by ferry, unlike most people I love flying it is the one time when I am allowed to experience life from an entirely different perspective to see us in relation to the world we live and most importantly to be truly amazed by that world in which we live. I’m glued to the window from take off to landing. But it’s time to make a stand and as I get older I realise it is often in the smallest of deeds that we can make a change. So here I am wishing I was looking out of one of those little windows staring down at the clouds and the sea and the citys and lakes and boats and all those little things we call life but I’m also thinking that I’m proud of myself for trying.
As I bored the boat with this thought still heavily pressed upon my mind I take comfort in the fact that I will soon be able to stand at the front of the boat as we head out to sea. We enter at the very back of the boat so I begin to head through the many flights of stairs corridors, cafés, bars, and restaurants until I come to an area crossed of with a rope. There is no obvious sign post directing me outside. So I stand confused in the strangely artificial surroundings in which music no lets just call it noise fills the space. I decide to ask the man behind the bar . 'hello could you tell me how to get outside?' 'yeah just go through those doors.' I see them they look like the sort of doors that might set off a fire alarm if you open them, black with fire exit stickers on. I exit outside, seeing a set of stairs to my right I head over to them . Two men are coming down they tell me briefly ‘nothing up there mate’ hmm I’m confused. As I’m sure it should lead to the front of the ship . I follow the same men to the back of the ship only to find the same. So I head across to the other side of the ship only to find the same there. Someone in uniform is walking past I ask ‘how do I get to the front of the ship’ and he informs me that there used to be access to the front so passengers could walk about but it was decided that the space would be best used as a restaurant. So I’m left with a bench made of two metal strips I sit and look out over Liverpool. I quickly become the only person sat out side and as the boat leaves the dock and heads out into the ocean I’m the only one watching as the skyline of Liverpool disappears and the wide blue ocean opens up in front of us.
After spending so long working away in my little room at home it is a complete rush to be looking out at such an expanse of blue. But I’m angered at the layout of the ship preventing us from getting to the front, and disappointed that I am the only one sat outside. Whilst the rest of the passengers try desperately to ignore that they are sat on this tiny ship bobbing up and down on the vast ocean, just as passengers on a plane try to ignore the fact that they are moving at hundreds of miles an hour, thousands of feet in the sky.
It seems to say so much about how we are going wrong hiding in our own little worlds. I want to drag all the passengers out and make them look at the view. We must have a relationship with nature to understand our place in it. But it seems to me that everything is set against this. We need to to be shaken to be amazed! But how does one 'shake' what is required to create that change.....