In 1929 Frank Eugene Austin invented the first commercially sold ant farm, otherwise known as a formicrium in the scientific world. However wasn't until this March 2014 when ants first entered space. This debut sponsored by NASA in collaboration with Deborah Gordon Ph.D. of Stanford University. The objective was to compare behavior differences and group behavior in ants living in normal gravity and then in micro-gravity conditions, along with interaction rates, density, and path shape. The hypothesis is to use this data for robots.
I call bullshit. This is some crazy baby boomer kid who had an ant farm and was inspired to become a mad scientist, or better yet an astronaut. The end goal, ants in space purely to observed how dumb they look floating around. Sure it seems simple and there may be some potential positive outcomes for the data analysis and discoveries, but is this worth the price tag; a million or billion dollars. Next up for space will be dust mites, germs, and then on the opposite end of the spectrum blue whales and elephants. Let's not forget their are plenty of neglected and starving animals as well as people on earth.
One commercial and or lucrative outcome out of this, is that ant farms no longer require sand/dirt, food, and water. With the new Fascination Toys, TVQuariam, and Antworks Illuminated Gel Ant Farm all you need is ants and electricity; as well as $20-$40 clams. The clear plastic container is filled with a transparent clear gel which acts as the water, food, and soil for the ants. However ants are sold separately. Apparently this gel was invented and used in space, however my research concludes this is far fetched.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.