Leonardo Reviews: Vital Forms

Review of Vital Forms by Jennifer Johung

Shows how the intersection of biotech, art, and architecture are transforming the world we live in

The title, Vital Forms alludes to the now outdated philosophy of Vitalism. Vitalism believed in a fundamental difference between living and non-living objects, as Johung reports in many instances throughout the book, the supposed difference between living/non-living or organic /non-organic is being shown to be false. One instance is the work of Rachel Armstrong using Protocells in biological architecture applications (p. 100); these cells have no DNA but can do most things biological ‘living’ cells do. It seems to me that these cells will play a major role in the stabilization and rehabilitation of our planet.


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