Wednesday, November 5

I LOVE the skin-tissue you’re wearing

Recently, I was sent an email from the ever-exploring Justin Polera concerning a subject matter that, at the time I found quite repulsive. After some friends and I had a gasp at the visuals included in the article, I thought it only right to let this concept sink in a bit deeper before deciding to erupt with opinion.

I glanced back at the subject line to discover that Justin had named this email ‘Ethical Leather: I think you’ll find this interesting…’—and I did. More specifically, the small writing in question is actually titled: Clothes that Grow from Living Tissue. That’s right folks; it has finally come—well, not exactly. The article described the scientific experiment as an art piece, with strong implications that this should be taken seriously as a future substitute for leather!

To sum it up quickly: Researchers from The School of Anatomy and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia and a team of scientists, Oran Catts, Ionat Zurr and Guy Ben-Ary, developed an art piece made from immortalized living cells, shaped into what appears to be a small growing coat—in a bubble glass tube. The reality of this repulse shines bright light on the fashion world, as we never think twice as animals are slaughtered, so we can literally wear them.

The question is, why am I repulsed by the site of a small skin-coat in a test tube, but not the leather shoes I was wearing moments before I sat down to type? Often new technologies are shunned by many, only to live through the resistance and become part of everyday life. However, judging from the reaction of the people around me when I opened the email, I don’t see this as being one of those phenomenons.

Now, I get it, researchers—I do. While it certainly would take the winner for Completely Outstanding Science Fair Project, I don’t see this as a wave of the future. Somehow, this process would need to be saturated into culture before I, or most of the people I know, grab their charge cards to get the hot new test-tube grown skin coat that just came out. (Although, Pleather does make a killing—but no one ever said it looks good. Oh right--because it doesn’t.)

The article finishes with a quote: “Some may call it art, some say it’s horrendous yet some will call it science. In any context, it is still thought-provoking.” To me, it is all of those things; an amazing scientific feat, a mind bending art piece--and yes, I’d call it horrendous at the first glance. Though all of these ideas ring true, there is something beautifully provoking about the whole idea.

Original Article Source:

-Ryan Beshel