Written by Debbie Mollenhagen


Designer living has become designing life. I often ask myself: did it taste like the real thing? But when I open my eyes I see a world where plastic grows on trees and where everything tastes better than the real thing. A world which has been replaced with a copy of itself. When I was living in Australia I knew a girl who didn't know where sultanas came from, which I thought was odd. After all, she was 15. How is it possible? I guess to me that was like buying one of those lemon squeeze things which came in the shape of a lemon, and thinking that they grew on trees. Plastics don't grow on trees or do they?

Enjoy. Suddenly out of nothing, something fell from the sky. I found myself confronted with a piece of deformed fruit, I paused for a moment and tried to remain calm. I didn't know what to do so I did what came naturally, I yelled back at the sky and told her that the fruit was not acceptable and that I would not eat it. Why should I, I thought? I demand more, I know my rights! I want to be able to express what I expect in my relationship with what I buy. How do I make a fruit more compatible with my needs? Then I remembered this thing fell from the sky, I didn't buy it and besides in real life fruit has already been designed to accommodate my needs.

We have become our own gods. The sheep Dolly scenario suggests physical evidence of a world, which has been replaced by a copy world. "Makabilty" and "Transhumanism" were introduced as concepts which were soon followed by the discussion about origin. If we were to clone ourselves, what would the new concept for creation be? Linear thinking became old fashioned and everyone started to consider things in circular terms, which was all okay because it complimented the cyberspace idea. Internet promised a horizontal hierarchy which failed because designers where mostly capitalists which where employed by capitalists. They did however implement the bottom-up concept, but for the most did not utilize the potential of the idea. Experiencing as a collective was a symptom of the new medium and increasingly more people fondled with the reinvention of belief. Intelligent design propagated a scientific ground for god and at the same time utilitarianism led to the making of movies about million dollar babies. Originality was abolished and self-reflection became the only thing left to discuss. Neomodernism would save us all!!!

I rejected designer moods and opted for therapy. I also often referred to the question "did it taste like the real thing?"


Plastics do grow on trees. Scientists identified a gene which may soon allow plants to provide the basic raw materials for new types of plastics. The use of the gene allows plants to package and store materials in their cells with no detrimental effect on the plant's health. We have been historically limited to the number of polymers which we can create from petroleum. Plants are really amazing chemical factories that produce a mind boggling array of interesting chemicals. We can exploit that ability by using genomics to identify the genes required to make these compounds and, by using biotechnology, insert them into crop plants. But some monomers are difficult to make from petroleum using standard chemistry.

Reconstructing the universe. Computer simulation started in the 1950s when electronic computing machines first became available. Today, computer simulation is used extensively in science as a tool to evaluate models of real (physical, chemical, or biological) systems. "System" is scientific terminology for the part of reality under study, which can be anything as small as a single molecule or as big as the universe itself. A model contains information about the constituents and properties of the system, as well as established scientific principles. The model is implemented as a computer code. Reality, once translated into algorithms, becomes accessible to numerical investigation. Controlled experiments in silico provide new and profound insights into the workings of nature. Comfortably sitting behind a computer we can create new molecules, too small to be observed, and we can study the stars, many light years away. Computer simulations provide us with powerful, efficient and safe ways to study, to analyse and to reconstruct the world around us. Understanding the mechanisms of complex systems opens up possibilities for manipulation. This is especially true for the microscopic world of atoms and molecules, which includes proteins and DNA, the basic building blocks of life. Molecules in cyberspace— better than the real thing!

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