[ISEA2009] Paper: Laura Boffi – Bioinstincts


“Things must be pushed to their limit, where quite naturally they reverse themselves and collapse. At the height of value, we are nearer to ambivalence”. _Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic exchange and death

The work looks at the recent progress in biotechnology and regenerative medicine and how it may change the way man perceives life and death. The objectivity and the rapidity of the science seem to prevent humanity from building any cultural meaning around it. Especially when man confronts himself with the new ways of experiencing death in the age of biotechnology and regenerative medicine, he seems not to be able to establish any symbolic exchange between life and death that could make the passing acceptable as a shade of life and as a reversible event of life. What if we could envision symbolic meanings of our new passing and build a material culture around them?

Nowadays the way we perceive death is quickly turning from the idea of a natural event in everybody’s life into the feasible possibility of controlling our passing through the intervention of science. I wonder how we would cope with death in the society we live in, where biotechnology and medicine seems to be able to neutralize human mortality. I try to foresee future rituals that man could perform around death. From setting different scenarios around the way we perceive death in our actual age, I build up social fictions and new objects that I design specifically for them.

  • Laura Boffi Design Academy Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Full Text (PDF) p.  542-550