My chapter contribution, "Biomimetics: Emulation and Propagation in Post-traditional Ecologies" is part of the collected essays in: Second Nature: Origins and Originality in Art, Science, and New Media, Rolf Hughes, Jenny Sundén (eds.), published by Axl Books, Stockholm (2011). Download here>
Book Abstact: With the practices of art, science and technology increasingly converging, the concepts of origins and originality raise some of the most pressing questions in contemporary research, including issues of agency and accountability, hybridity and identity, intellectual property and oeuvre, intention and authority. These, and a constellation of related philosophical, economic, aesthetic, legislative and political concerns, are today subject to rapid reconfiguration due to the current pace of technological and theoretical change. Second Nature accordingly brings into a productive, interdisciplinary dialogue scholars working at the intersections of art, science and technology. Contributions explore how technologies of reproduction alter the meaning of concepts such as origin and originality, and how the borders between what we think of as “authentic” and “fake,” “natural” and “artificial,” are under constant negotiation and transformation. Interdisciplinary – and transdisciplinary – research demands rethinking our existing discursive and methodological orthodoxies. Second Nature arrives as a timely response, illuminating contemporary debates concerning digital and biological reproduction, nature and technology, art and authenticity, criticality and hybridity.
Chapter Abstract: The strategy of applied biomimetics has been heralded as design innovation inspired by nature. The inclusive process takes in phases of bioprospecting, biophilia, and emulated biosemiotics to arrive at an implementation of engineered design that ideally might carry implicit biological/environmental sensibilities. Applied elements from this strategy can be found in cybernetics, therapeutics/medicine, structural engineering, militarized intelligence and now in the propagation of new media art practices. While the idealized practice emulates a platform of honoring/sustaining the original thru the preservation of context, the extended practice in post-traditional ecologies frequently crosses the lines of biopiracy and sustains a distancing spiral of simulacra thru a re-wiring of ecological consciousness.
This essay examines the intent and impact of applied biomimetics across a spectrum of creative and technological-mediated processes through three comparative lenses: as the scientific characterization of natural biological systems; as historically-rooted sociocultural performances/practices and as contemporary engineered-design and creative media-based expression. The objective of comparison through these three perspectives on the biomimetic approach to the appropriation and emulation of natural systems is to align the phenomena and practice within the contextual realms of traditional and post-traditional ecologies as a means of characterizing the distance between origin and derivative in this creative biocultural practice.
Contributing authors include: Jay David Bolter, Jenny Sundén, Rolf Hughes, John Monk, Boo Chapple, Ron Broglio, Maria Chatzichristodoulou (Maria X), Karin Wagner, Francois-Joseph Lapointe, Martin Epoque, Timothy Weaver and Eugene Thacker,
Second Nature: Origins and Originality in Art, Science, and New Media, Rolf Hughes, Jenny Sundén (eds.), ISBN 9789197859882, 262 pages, soft-cover, English, 2011
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