Evolution is Intelligent Design: Neo-Functionalization

As is my wont, I like to highlight examples of art and design that either demonstrate or are inspired by evolutionary theory. While some of the elements of

by Stefano A (CC 2.0)
Nacho Carbonell Interpretative Portrait?

Nacho Carbonell‘s “Evolution” collection could be interpreted as an expression of abiogenesis, the emergence of biological entities from non-biological chemistry is NOT technically a part of evolutionary theory. Instead, I choose to view these works as an expression of neo-functionalization.

Neo-functionalization describes the process by which a gene stumbles upon a new function that is distinct from its original function. If that new function is beneficial, selection can very rapidly entrench that function in the genetic code.

In much the same way, Nacho Carbonell’s furniture starts as one “non-furniture” shape and discovers a new function, which finds discrete form rapidly.

'evolution' - the bench, 2010 paper mâché, iron structure 105 x 200 x 95 cm each piece is signed edition from galleria rossana orlandi, milan

Lovely. This bench would certainly look better in my garden than a few kilobases of coding DNA.

Author: Josh Witten


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