Monday, November 12, 2012

Bio-Art: Victimless Leather.

After playing more Pokemon White 2, I was once again reminded of PETA. For eff's sake, humans are omnivores, but does that really mean that we need to use animals for clothes? We in the modern world like to think that we're a bit more advanced than that. 

Well, it turns out that we're a lot more advanced than that. This is a miniature leather jacket...grown from rodent stem cells.It is two inches long and lives in a bio-reactor that serves as a "body" to keep it from decaying.Surprise surprise, it was done by the Australian SymbioticA as part of their Tissue Culture and Art Project.

Along with "Disembodied Cuisine," "Worry Dolls," and "Pig Wings," "Victimless Leather" is part of a series on PETA's dream world: a futuristic vision in which no animals are harmed except for the occasional lab rat or frog. It puts viewers into direct confrontation with the fact that, yes, humans use animals for weird things like clothes. It also puts forth the idea of a living garment - albeit one that can only survive in that little bubble up there.

The jacket itself consists of living mouse tissue over a polymer modeled after a coat. Once the polymer base has degraded, the flesh retains the shape it was mounted on. In theory, this could at least create sheets of victimless animal skin for sewing, if not remove the need for sewing altogether. It would save people a ton on sewing supplies, if not alleviate some suffering in the world.

Could this really replace leather, though? Leather has been a sign of prosperity for some time now. It's expensive, and cows are also useful for meat and milk. I also have to admit that there's a certain thrill to having something genuinely made from a dead animal. Until the elite stop wearing leather and start wearing coats made out of mouse cells, leather will retain its status as a classy fabric. Sorry, PETA.

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