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Put an Ear on it!

We as humans do some fucked up shit, especially in the name of science.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of science. My parents are both physicists and my little brother is currently in grad school to become one as well. Science was like my religion growing up, I always turned to it when I needed answers. But I am the artist of the family and feel an obligation to explore all sides, to propose questions, to deal with the moral implications. I am not exactly sure what this means but I know I am trying to open a dialog where non-scientists can discuss big issues in science, and scientists can voice there opinions without fear of creating a bias.

One fucked up thing we do is put ears on things. Mice, arms, everything would be just a bit better with an extra ear or two. One experiment that comes to mind is the work of Charles Vacanti in 1997 Massachusetts. He and his team grafted a human shaped “ear” onto the side of a mouse. The ear was actually cow cartilage cells grown in a lab and shaped in a mold that mimicked a human ear. Sounds like some artist shit to me. The graft was a scientific breakthrough, the first time lab grown cells had attached and became part of a living organism. It didn’t help poor little rat with the ladies however and he died lonely and single 14 days later. I actually don’t know his sex life but you get the idea.

He came up with this brilliant idea in 1997 but couldn’t find a team to perform the surgery until 2007, the year shit got weird. Stelar is a performance artist who decided it’d be a great idea to graft a human ear shape onto his own arm. He inserted a mini microphone and began recording from it and shared his audio online, so the world could here his day to day interactions.

So what did humanity learn from these endeavors? We discovered a stepping stone in the line to organ transplants, lab cellular growth, and 3-d printing of human cells. We also learned that artists are dumb asses. In the process of discovery there are many paths to take and everything is worth doing in the pursuit of knowledge but next time let's just ask to use the artist first, instead of destroying that poor mouse.

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