By Evan Ackerman
This fish tank is a real object, designed for a real (albeit conceptual) purpose. I’ll tell you all about it after the jump. But first, take a good look at that picture, and see if you can guess what you think is going on… From the perspective of the girl, or the fish. My first thought? Those fish are in trouble, ’cause that girl is thirsty.
This fish tank is part of a project called “gifted,” which explores the genetic modification of children from a child’s perspective:
The project raises questions about how children might use their own fantasies and dreams to imagine an alternative genetic future, and questions whether it is adults or children who are really in control of the technology. The prototypes I have created help to materialise an imaginary future in which a child’s ability is considered before birth and influenced via training and parental supervision throughout development. More specifically, I have explored the possibility of a genetic modification which enables children to absorb higher levels of oxygen, thus enhancing concentration, focus and calmness as well as improving athletic ability and improving general health.
The children were asked to imagine the implications of a modification to the H1FA gene, one of the seven oxygen sensing genes, which would enable them to survive for longer with less oxygen. The main benefit from the perspective of the children was the prospect of being able to swim and survive under water for longer, and being able to change their interactions with one another as a result of this new imagined world. During a brainstorm, the children imagined sea creatures they wished they could become.
What sort of sea creatures, you ask? Here’s a piece of conceptual artwork based on these children’s fantasies:
Bizarre. Almost as bizarre as this fish tank… Almost.