Visual Arts and Film Studies: The Designs for an Overpopulated Planet: No 1, Forager
Asked what inspired them to make this design, the artists said they imagined human beings extracting nutrition from non-human food by combining a synthetic biology and new digestive devices. These digestive devices are presumably designed in the form of digestive systems of other mammals, insects, fish and even birds. In the Foragers design images of human beings are extracting food from the sea by use of synthetic tubes connected to a reservoir.
In this design, the artists are inspired by the desire to predict the preferable future of human beings when the population is too high to feed. In the design, images of human beings are seen sitting at the shore of a water body holding synthetic tubes which are dipped into the water body. The pipe heads are fixed into floaters and the images are squatting and their hands as if performing some mechanical operations from their end. At the feet of every image, there is a reservoir that stores probably whatever is being extracted from the sea. The container and its synthetic ‘esophagus’ and all its mechanism is painted in jungle green and the sea body is bluish; as usual with water bodies. The persons are painted black that makes them silhouettes or images. The background is white and this emphasises the details of the design.
The design elements are synthetic and depict the objective of the designers.There is an assumption that the United Nations estimates the world
population growing to 9 billion by 2050. If these estimates are true, then it means the biggest challenge in the world will be food security and thus food production. In this design, the artists did not think of food production enhancement; they speculated a preferable probable extraction of nutrients from the surrounding. They supposed a situation where human beings would be using synthetic systems to extract food from large water bodies like seas and oceans, just as fish do. According to the artists Dunne and Raby (2009:1) the probable extraction could be done by the use of microbial stomach bacteria created through synthetic biology. This synthetic system would be enhanced functionally by the electronic and mechanical devices. The resultant system will be effective in maximising the nutritional value of the urban environment, and this will solve problems of diet which at the time will be escalating as a result of limited diet and food insecurity. This design impacts on the story of the effects of globalisation and population outburst in the world. The design kick starts a prediction of the state of the world by 2050 and especially the future of food. The artists assume that as the population grows and the food gets scarce, a group of people called foragers would get together. The group will consist of synthetic biologists, horticulturalists, hackers, and guerilla gardeners who will develop external devices as models of digestive systems. Instead of relying on the governments and the industries, the foragers will design digestive system that will be capable of digesting leaves, grass and other things that human beings bodies can not digest today. This system will convert grass and leaves to fit into the state of human food. The experience of being an audience of this design is inspiring