COM250 Reading Reflection #2: BioMedia

BioMedia is a relatively new form of media that uses part of a living organism as the means of communication. The objective is to be able to create new opportunities within the context of media and to express different forms from that of conventional media. BioMedia is a process that uses a computer-based actuator to control certain aspects of the plant; for example, the computer can manipulate the moisture level or the temperature. Based on plant features such as health, growth, and color, a control mechanism is implemented to experiment with different properties the plant might possess.

The first article, BioMedia for Entertainment, discussed the concept of BioMedia and explained how it could be used for scientific communication. An important aspect that must be considered when connecting plants to the BioMedia system is the plant’s ability to change, as well as how quickly the speed of the change is displayed. This is referred to as the plant’s latency. Plants such as the Venus Fly Trap will have a faster latency, whereas a plant like the Mimosa will be a bit slower.

Although the first article was more of a description with applications of BioMedia, the second, What is BioMedia?, was a series of questions about BioMedia followed by a detailed description of how to apply the plant’s features and relate the results back to communication technologies. In the middle of the article, an important articulation is made. Thacker, the author, states, “biotech is specifically interested in the ways that the material components and biological organization of the body can in effect be reengineered, or redesigned…a consideration of the body as a remediation also means that it is caught, in its own unique way, between the poles of immediacy and hypermediacy.” (Thacker, 10) In other words, BioMedia allows for a tangible, lived experience, but also one that is framed by knowledge and is more abstract.

I thought that both of these articles did a good job of explaining the concept of BioMedia and how it can be implemented into scientific experiments involving communication technology. BioMedia for Entertainment was more of an informal, casual read, whereas What is BioMedia? felt more similar to a research paper or report. Overall, I learned how BioMedia could influence the human race in the future and help us with future experimentation.

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