Those lucky bastards at the RMIT School of Architecture and Design get to take an elective called Plastic Futures 1 & 2. Lord how I would have killed to have taken that class. It was by far the highlight of the Design Laboratory 2040 City exhibition. I might get around to showing the rest of the exhibition, but it can't really compare with a room full of cotton wool. This is how I like my future; weird and dirty. Very dirty. Each student was given a bag of cotton wool, some thread, plastics and knitting wool. This at the end of a semester of discussions and told to come up with something in five days.
It was wall to wall post-singularity perversion and I was grinning the whole time. Crocheted coral reefs hanging from the ceiling was the most familiar thing I could find. Mostly because of the project going on at the Institute for Figuring; where they've been crocheting coral reefs for some time. It was refreshing to see other people getting into it, and not just from a feminists handicrafts perspective. They were looking at it as 'coding as nature' and discovering wonderful ways of letting the algorithms come up with interesting forms. There was some other wonderful algorithmic patterns and sculptures, such as the cardboard piece above.
But pumping up the weirdness quotient were two separate pieces that shared the same ideas were the two pieces below. The first, looked at the future of plastic surgery, and in this case, rhinoplasty. Leaving the surgeon behind, plastic surgery of the future would entail the act of biological additions to our code that would grow the 'corrections' into our DNA. This idea was ripe for corruption which they gleefully saw to.
I'm a little hazy about the next piece, but I a have understanding that children's toys would be grown to be semi-sentient, instead of manufactured in a factory. Each model had little descriptions about the toys behaviours and odd habits; rolling around and becoming fixated with sand. I'm having trouble conveying the peculiarities of this piece, but peculiar it was.
The students went on an excursion to West Australia and looked at these weird growth forms on the beach that have some odd linking to some of the first examples of life on earth. Strange rock formations in the beach turn out not to be rocks, but microbial forms that harden with each layer called thrombolites. Read more about it here, it's delightfully bizarre.
Then there was the living memory extension product called iPatch. By attaching these somewhat parasitic creatures to the body, they would absorb all unnecessary memories and thoughts, or act as a personal hard drive. They took it one step further and asked what would happen if people were to swap their patches? People memories could be wilfully planted into others.
The whole exhibition was imbued with the fun that the students must have had in projecting all these ideas into their 'logical' conclusions.