The Stone Age of Biology


The evolution of technology ushered a number of major developments. These developments changed the perception of humans toward their environment. One of the very first of these changes was the realisation that stones can be chipped to form functional tools. Only the humans that could build a mental three-dimensional representation of a finished tool and who had the cognitive ability to plan ahead and manually construct the tools could survive the game of natural selection. For them nature became a resource for raw materials for tools production. This mental shift separated humans from nature for the first time, and we never looked back…

We are now, for the first time, treating living nature (including ourselves) as a resource for new biological tools that will be part of our manufactured environment.

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?

The Stone Age of Biology can be seen as the lines on the walls of our new cave. The development of stone tools transformed hominoids from being ‘intellectual apes’ to what we are now. The mental shift that made the apes toolmakers is now being repeated. The development of biological tools will change us in ways that we cannot imagine.

Technical Statement:

Muscle (mouse) and nerve (fish) tissue was grown over hydrogels P(HEMA) in the shape of miniaturised prehistoric stone artefacts. The prehistoric stone artefacts were borrowed from the Western Australian Museum. They were scanned in three dimensions using a touch sense scanner. The virtual object was then reduced in size and plotted onto modelling wax. A mould was made out of silicon which enabled the formation of a hydrogel mould.