the genetic code of everyday things

A while ago, we posted an YouTube video of artist Theo Jansen’s astonishing Strandbeests, the huge, mechanical walking beests made of PVC pipe that are propelled by the wind. Jansen considers to himself to be grappling with a new form of life. In this video, he talks about the reproduction of the Strandbeests, and echoes an idea that is in the wind these days: our everyday products are the result of an artificial evolution that is similar to natural evolution. It’s what Norwegian designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen’s was exploring in her toast spoons…a sort of genetic code inherent even in inanimate objects. We owe Stuart Mason Dambrot, the concilientist|futurist we shared a cab with a while ago, for introducing this idea to us when he slyly sent us both links in the same email. The Jansen video, above, makes the concept really understandable:

“The strategy of the StrandBeest is that they charm the people. They seduce people to make them and they also seduce me to make them…

…Well, you know the wall between seduction and force is very thin, so you could say they force people to make Strandbeests.

3D printing is a way to multiply StrandBeests very quickly, almost the same way as real nature multiplies. You could see the zero’s and one’s as the genetic code of the Strandbeest and they make it real just as reproduction with humans is the same thing. Now think of the possibility that you can download the genetic code everywhere in the world and reproduce the Strandbeests…It is a miracle.”

We’re looking around at the things around us, the things we make daily – this website for example – and wonder at their inbuilt code and DNA,  and how just how it works in the creative process, in our improvised lives…

………..

……then, flipping through an ancient copy of David Allen’s Getting Things Done, a book about prioritizing as a key to productivity, we happened to stumble on this:

“What is the core DNA of your existence, personally and/or organizationally, that drives your choices?”

Video link here.

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