Publication details [#14344]

Vaage, Nora S. 2019. Living Machines: Metaphors We Live By. NanoEthics 14 (1) : 57–70. 14 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Cham: Springer


Starting with Lakoff and Johnson's (1980) conception that to some extent language shapes our understanding of the world, the author of this article looks at metaphorical language in the domains of biology and society. Discussion proceeds to the subfield of synthetic biology, placing emphasis on ethical, epistemological, and ontological aspects which perceive man as a living machine in control of his own evolution and the world around him. By looking at the artistic production of people like Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Tarsh Bates and Ai Hasegawa, the author argues that we are able to change this view of control. To this end, art can be used to challenge and destabilize the notion of the human machine and to engage in eerie, free, radical expressions of the messiness and randomness of life.