Stone Age of Biology

Stone Age of Biology

Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr & Guy Ben-Ary

The Stone Age of Biology posits that we are in the midst of a major technological shift in which advancements in biotechnology will radically alter our way of life in ways we cannot possibly imagine.

The image series features mouse muscle cells and fish nerve cells grown over hydrogels shaped like prehistoric stone artefacts borrowed from the The Western Australia Museum. Each artefact was scanned in three dimensions using a touch sense scanner, which allowed for the creation of miniature hydrogels.

One of the first technological advancements that acted as a major step in the transformation from hominid to contemporary human was the use of stone tools. The effect of this advancement resulted in a selective pressure in human society; individuals were more likely to survive if they: possessed the cognitive ability to plan ahead, the mental capacity to envision 3D models of finished tools, and the physical acumen to construct these tools. For them nature became a raw material to produce tools. This mental shift separated humans from nature for the first time, and we never looked back…

We are now entering period of technological advancement, this time with biotechnology. For the first time we are treating life—in all of its conceptions, including ourselves—as a resource for new biological tools that will be part of our industrial society.

What kind of mental shift we will go through? How will we treat our biological bodies? How will we perceive manufactured living matter? How much technology will invade the body and how much of the body will invade technology?

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