Wednesday, 16 March 2011

3D printing (the real and the virtual)

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment