september 3rd, 2012

Michael Johansson
Some Assembly Required – Crescent scale 1:1, 2007

michael johansson

‘As a child I was fascinated by building models. I remember breaking off the pieces from the surrounding plastic sticks that were leftover from the casting process and subsequently gluing the pieces back together in the right order by following the instruction manual. A real bicycle is turned back into a space of imagination’.

Toys ‘r’ us – dinghy scale 1:1, 2006

michael johansson

‘A boat and related equipment are joined together in a welded metal frame. everything is painted in a unifying plastic layer to resemble the surface of a model kit. the real boat is transformed into a model of itself, and its original purpose has given way to something else’. Michael Johansson also made other household equipment like a bed, hairdryer and lawn mower. He even made a diving suit!

Some Assembly Required – Hard Hat Diving, 2011

michael johansson

This DIY art makes me think of the DIY trophies of ply beech wood from the designers of Big-Game.

big-game designers

But they also exist in the regular urban design jungle as cardboard models.

cardboard trophies

Transgenic Life found in the Smithsonian Institute

oktober 4th, 2010

center for postnatural history

Arabidopsis thaliana is a small unremarkable plant found growing along roadsides, in fields and wastlands of the northern hemisphere. Its apparent simplicity and relatively quick growing cycle made is a good candidate for researchers studying genetics during the middle part of the 20th century. In the 1970′s Arabidopsis thaliana’s life and habitat changed rapidly. Researchers at Stanford University had developed a technique for using bacteria to insert foreign genes into the genome of Arabidopsis. In doing so, Arabidopsis become the first “transgenic” plant. With the advent of the commercial biotech industry in the 80′s, the familiar plant began taking up residence in climate controlled research labs all over the world. It is now considered one of the “standard model organisms” which scientists use to try and understand life, and engineers use to try to find new uses for life.

A single specimen of Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana rests in the species’ “United States” collection folder in the botany collection at the Smithsonian. Wedge amidst its wilder relatives, it is an oddity amongst its closest kin, but also within the Museum of Natural History on the whole where it remains possibly the only genetically engineered specimen within the collection.

Source: The Center for PostNatural History

The Center for PostNatural History is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge relating to the complex interplay between culture, nature and biotechnology. The PostNatural  refers to living organisms that have been altered through processes such as selective breeding or  genetic engineering. The mission of the Center for PostNatural History is to acquire, interpret and provide access to a collection of living, preserved and documented organisms of postnatural origin.

Interactive Hunting Trophies

juli 28th, 2010

France Cadet
Hunting Trophies, 2008

France Cadet Trophy

Cervus Elaphus Barbarus (North Africa Deer)

Hunting Trophies is a collection of 11 hunting trophies hung on the wall. They feature the most frequent species used in taxidermy for the realization of wall trophies, mainly deer and cat family. Instead of being real taxidermied animals they are chests of modified I-Cybie robots.  An infrared sensor allows the robots, each in its own way, to detect the presence but also the movements of visitors. As you approach, the robots turn their heads in your direction, their eyes light up, come too close and the robot suddenly growls. The closer you get, the more aggressive its behaviour.

France Cadet Trophy

France Cadet Trophy

The New World Order

april 11th, 2010

Bob de Graaf
On the Crossing of Species, 2010

bob de graaf




Bob de Graaf made a catalogue of different parts of animals and objects which he found in his surroundings.
‘My collection can be used to create a new order of species. By using the natural lifecycle of animals in everyday objects an evolutionary up-cycle can replace linear production systems. By breeding animal-like objects or object-like animals, we can construct a practical class of species.’

bob de graaf

Vanescrew (Synthia) Slotta, 2010

bob de graaf

Pieron (Artogeia) Napil, 2010

bob de graaf

Homo Stupidus Stupidus; The Missing Meme

mei 27th, 2009

missing link

Ida – Researchers from the University of Oslo have suggested the specimen, which was found 95 per cent complete, may be the root of anthropoid evolution, when primates were first developing the features that would evolve into our own.

Discovered in Germany, Ida is so well preserved that even the outline of its fur can be seen. An incredible 95 percent complete fossil of a 47-million-year-old human ancestor has been discovered and, after two years of secret study, an international team of scientists has revealed it to the world. The fossil’s remarkable state of preservation allows an unprecedented glimpse into early human evolution. Discovered in Messel Pit, Germany, it represents the moment before anthropoid primates–the group that would later evolve into humans, apes and monkeys–began to split from lemurs and other prosimian primates. This groundbreaking discovery fills in a critical gap in human and primate evolution.

Maarten Vanden Eynde
Homo Stupidus Stupidus, 2009 A.D.

homo stupidus stupidus

homo stupidus stupidus

Richard Dawkins
The Ancestor’s Tale: A pergrimage to the dawn of Life
, 2005

Just as we trace our personal family trees from parents to grandparents and so on back in time, so in The Ancestor’s Tale Richard Dawkins traces the ancestry of life. As he is at pains to point out, this is very much our human tale, our ancestry. The Ancestor’s Tale takes us from our immediate human ancestors back through what he calls ‘concestors,’ those shared with the apes, monkeys and other mammals and other vertebrates and beyond to the dim and distant microbial beginnings of life some 4 billion years ago. It is a remarkable story which is still very much in the process of being uncovered. And, of course from a scientist of Dawkins stature and reputation we get an insider’s knowledge of the most up-to-date science and many of those involved in the research. And, as we have come to expect of Dawkins, it is told with a passionate commitment to scientific veracity and a nose for a good story. Dawkins’s knowledge of the vast and wonderful sweep of life’s diversity is admirable. Not only does it encompass the most interesting living representatives of so many groups of organisms but also the important and informative fossil ones, many of which have only been found in recent years.

Dawkins sees his journey with its reverse chronology as ‘cast in the form of an epic pilgrimage from the present to the past [and] all roads lead to the origin of life.’ It is, to my mind, a sensible and perfectly acceptable approach although some might complain about going against the grain of evolution. The great benefit for the general reader is that it begins with the more familiar present and the animals nearest and dearest to us?our immediate human ancestors. And then it delves back into the more remote and less familiar past with its droves of lesser known and extinct fossil forms. The whole pilgrimage is divided into 40 tales, each based around a group of organisms and discusses their role in the overall story.

– Douglas Palmer –



Richard Dawkins first introduced the word in The Selfish Gene (1976) to discuss evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. He gave as examples melodies, catch-phrases, and beliefs (notably religious belief), clothing/fashion, and the technology of building arches.

Meme-theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection (in a manner similar to that of biological evolution) through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance influencing an individual entity’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Theorists point out that memes which replicate the most effectively spread best, and some memes may replicate effectively even when they prove detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.

A field of study called memetics arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that scholarship can examine memes empirically. Some commentators question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units.

Contemporary Cuneiform Script

november 5th, 2008

Toine Klaassen
Untitled, 2005

Toine Klaassen

This work consists of rusty nails put on the ceiling composing the names of different global corporations like Shell, Pentax, Texaco, BMW….

Toine Klaassen



The 196th Law (“an eye for an eye..”) of Hammurabi, King of Babylonia, using graphics, in three different modes of cuneiform script, illustrating the evolution of signs over time. The first is the original Old Babylonian version (around 1750 BC), the second is in Neo-Assyrian signs (around 1000 BC), and the third is in the classic Sumerian signs used about 400 years before Hammurabi’s reign. Below that follow a transliteration into Akkadian and a translation into English.

Original Old-Babylonian

old babylonian Cuneiform Script


Neo Assyrian Cuneiform Script

Classic Sumerian

Classic Sumerian Cuneiform Script


šumma awīlum
īn mār awīlim
īn šu


If a man
the eye of a son of man
eye his
they will destroy.

The Family Tree of Science

maart 22nd, 2008

family tree of science

A visualization showing the structure of scientific knowledge.
by Boonsri Dickinson

To show how information builds up and flows among scientific disciplines, Columbia University computer scientist W. Bradford Paley, along with colleagues Kevin Boyack and Dick Klavans, categorized about 800,000 scholarly papers into 776 areas of scientific study (shown as colored circular nodes) based on how often the papers were cited together by other papers. Paley then grouped those nodes by color under 23 broader areas of scientific inquiry, from mental health to fluid mechanics.

1 Social Scientists Don’t Do Chemistry

The bigger a node is, the more papers it contains. Heavily cited papers appear in more than one node. Black lines connect any nodes that contain the same papers; the darker a link is, the more papers the connected nodes have in common. These links create the structure of the map and tend to pull similar scientific disciplines closer to one another.

2 Birds of a Feather

Paley refers to his map as a “feather boa”—the feathers being gently waving strings of key words that uniquely define each node’s particular subject matter. In tiny type, the word string “percutaneous tracheostomy, material review, autoimmune pancreatitis, and dialysis catheter,” for example, swirls off a node in the infectious disease area. Unlike the carefully calculated placement of the nodes, the team’s arrangement of the word strings on the page was left mostly to aesthetics.

3 The Road to Knowledge

The map doesn’t show the road to breakthrough discoveries, but it can be used to determine which areas of science are most closely connected to one another, as well as which are the most—and least—intellectually vital and productive. Advances in mathematics are few. Medicine, on the other hand, dominates the lower half of the map.

4 No Science Is an Island

…except maybe organic chemistry. One might assume that this bane of premed students is closely tied to medicine, but the map shows that the route from organic chemistry to health care requires more than one pit stop through fields like analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, biology, and even earth sciences. In fact, all of chemistry is a bit of an inside job. The links between the nodes of different chemistry disciplines are darker than other links because the disciplines tend to contain the same papers.

5 The Friendster Element

On the map, computer science is linked more closely to social sciences like psychology and sociology than to applied physics. “If you trust it for a minute, it does make intuitive sense,” Paley says. Social networks like Friendster depend heavily on software programs, while social scientists frequently rely on computers for statistical analysis.

source: Discover Magazine


The Tree of Science
from The Golden Encyclopedia, 1959

The Origin and Development of Life on Earth

februari 2nd, 2006

1. The Uniformity of Life

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was one of the first who saw the uniformity in all living organisms. He did extensive research on plants and animals and found so many comparability’s in structure and chemical composition that he came to the following conclusion: ‘probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form (oervorm)’
Right now we know that this uniformity of life originates from DNA (DeoxyriboNucleid Acid) which can be found in the core of every cell. Certain parts of this DNA is copied into the messenger-RNA (RiboNucleic Acid). This copy leaves the cell-core into the cell-liquid to be transformed into endosperms. This is the central dogma of Biology.
The hereditary material from humans consists of +/- three billion construction toes (bouwstenen); the total length of DNA in every cell is about two meters. A cell is about hundred micrometer big and the core is just a small part of it. In order to store two meters of DNA in the cell-core, the DNA is folded compactly into chromosomes with the aid of some endosperms. Each of the 23 pair of chromosomes that we all have in every cell-core, exists of one long folded up DNA-molecule. To get an idea of the the incredible density: if you take all the DNA from all our chromosomes from all our bobycells, you can make a line which is one hundred times the distance from the earth to the sun.
The amazing part is that all this DNA originates from an original DNA string of two meters, of which we all started when we were conceived.

Now the question is which is the most recent common descendant of all plants, animals, moulds and micro-organisms that ever lived on this planet?
What was it? When did it live? And where did it come from?

2. From Soup to Pizza.

RNA is a barrier of hereditary information, but can also influence molecules. RNA is just like DNA a string of nucleine sour. It is build up out of sugar, phosphate and nitrogen bases, but consists usually of one string. DNA has two. RNA arises more easy than DNA, it is extremely flexible and occurs in different qualities. Some forms of RNA have functions, just like some endosperms, which can accelerate a chemical reaction: so called ‘catalytic functions’. Basically RNA can preform both functions of DNA and Endosperms. Therefor RNA can be the chicken and the egg at the same time.

To make molecules, like RNA- molecules, you need to have atoms. The basis material for the creation of life is given by nucleo synthesis, the forming of new atoms. This occurred during core fusion processes, just after the Big Bang, and during the formation of new stars.
With many different atoms a chemical evolution can take place. But in order to start this process the atoms need to be put together. This could have happened by the impact of meteorites, who could have delivered simple organic connections.
It is generally believed that a comet consists basically of a loose conglomeration of frozen gases with embedded material similar to that found in the carbonaceous chondritic meteorites, and consequently that comets may be nearly pristine samples of the original solar nebula1−5. Thermal processing within comets could have played an important part in determining their present state; in particular, we find that liquid water might have been available in some comets over geologically and biologically significant spans of time. It follows that a cometary origin is not excluded for some thermally metamorphosed meteorites and asteroids, that comets may contain quite complex organic molecules, and that comets may have played a role in the origin and conceivably even in the subsequent evolution of terrestrial life.

It could also have taken place under the crust of the earth, deep under the oceans. By shifting the tectonic plates the atoms could have gone to the surface and started to make molecules. In the classical ‘prebiotic soup’ model of the origin of life, biomolecules are seen arising abiotically on the Earth and then interacting randomly in solution to form proto-cells. This model has encountered increasing difficulties, however, and recently several alternatives have been proposed. In some of these models, it is postulated that proto-cells evolved from simple biomolecular complexes originally attached to mineral surfaces, especially those of pyrite. The subsequent evolution of these complexes has been likened to embryonic development. Pyrite is a connection of sulphur and iron which were always abundantly present on earth. All chemical reactions necessary to create endosperms from simple anorganic molecules, can take place on the surface of pyrite. Here the ‘soup’ becomes a ‘primitive pizza’.

An alternative theory is the one of clay particles. The involvement of clay surfaces in the origin of the first genetic molecules on Earth has long been suggested. However, the formation of these polymers was not sufficient by itself to initiate the evolutionary process leading to the appearance of life. These macromolecules had to persist in primeval habitats so that their biological potentiality could be expressed. So maybe both theories intertwine somehow. Pyrite could provide the necessary atoms and create a basis where the process can occur, and clay particles could provide the cover for hazardous influences from the outside. Since there was no ozone layer at that time the deadly UV radiation killed any possible life on earth.
These findings indicate that primordial genetic molecules adsorbed on clay minerals would have been protected against degrading agents present in the environment and would have been in the right conditions to undergo evolutionary processes.

First came single-celled organisms, bacteria, that lived mostly in mud and water until they did something that radically changed the earth: they produced their food through photosynthesis. Cells could now remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and with the help of sunlight combine it with water to make sugars. This was a major breakthrough for life on earth: the waste product of this photosynthetic reaction is oxygen.

Restauration du Lac de Montbel, 2003

Maarten Vanden Eynde restauration

Maarten Vanden Eynde

In 2003 I went to France to restore a dried out lake near the city of Montbel. The bottom is clay and dries out more and more every year. The white restoration paste is plaster. The work existed only temporary and was destroyed in spring, when new water came and filled up the lake again.

The Genealogy of Genetology.

november 5th, 2005

Maarten Vanden Eynde Genetology genealogy