The internet like a black hole that sucks up everything and metamorphoses landscapes, animals, and memories into pixels. Google recently created a map and street view of a small city in Japan, Namie, which is in the nuclear exclusion zone from the 2011 Tohuko Earthquake. Everyone, including the earthquake victims, can now travel to Namie, which remains only as a memory in the digital cloud. What determines our image of “nature” is not only National Geographic and BBC documentaries, but also Google street view.
Dave Lee, a technology reporter at BBC News, experimented with hiring a women for $5 in order to get the coveted Facebook status: ‘In a relationship with’. “Sophia” – not her real name – offers her services as a make-believe girlfriend through the website Fiverr. According to Lee, many men hire fake girlfriends to look better on social networking sites or to make their exes jealous. Though Sophia was not real, for a few days she was “real” to Lee’s friends and acquaintances on Facebook.
Here is a next natural form of body modification, a 3D printed tattoo. Maria, a 23 year old girl from the Netherlands, printed her skin with a design made from stem cells. For her, two diagonal lines mean rebellion and one horizontal line means peace. For Maria, these three ambivalent lines represent the state of utopia.
During the London International Tattoo Convention, I interviewed Dr. De Jong who performed the operation. He was a tattoo artist until his 30s and has been trying to find a new form of self expression. He confidently said “Tattoo is a very ancient form of fashion and we need to use a new means to express ourselves. I am sure this 3D printed tattoo will soon be fashionable in Amsterdam and Tokyo and will spread across the world”.
This story is actually a fiction; the photo is from Ted Partin’s book Eyes Look Through You. But perhaps it is not entirely a fiction, but a fictional reality. Think about Stelarc’s Ear on Arm, or 3D printing technology branching out to bone, organs and skin. People already do astonishing things with their bodies. Why not 3D-printed modifications?
Last week a fine selection of in-vitro meat connoisseurs gathered during a ‘Meat & Greet’ workshop at Eindhoven University of Technology. We exchanged perspectives, shared knowledge and explored speculative design opportunities of In-Vitro Meat with a philosopher, biologist, design students, and a documentary director. Below are some snapshots.