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Art's Mad Scientist Creates Jellyfish Drones And GPS-Enhanced Insects

Vincent Fournier's technological animal kingdom is making science fiction fantasy a reality.
January 2, 2014, 4:09pm

A peak inside Vincent Fournier's invented animal kingdom.

People aren't into scientifically modified animals. Well, at least they're hesistant to immediately embrace such science fiction-ready creatures. From movies like Planet Of The Apes to _Jurassic Park, _there is clearly an overarching fear that animals will become smarter and take over the world, making humans their pets and/or sentient drones.

Either way, modified animals are undeniably unsettling within the human psyche. But, artist and scientist Vincent Fournier erases those fears by imagining an alternative, and maybe less intimidating, animal hybrid world. In Fournier's universe, technologically enhanced animals can actual heal and save mankind and our natural world.

Based in Paris, Fournier's work comes from scientific research and the idea of utopia. In his current  project, Post Natural History, he seamlessly blends the two together by re-imagining animals as technological tools that benefit humans and the environment around them. Fournier turns a scorpion into a semi-automated tool for surgeries, a rhino beetle into a tracker, and creates a robotic jellyfish drone that will transfer fresh water to dry remote areas.

For Fournier, his hypothetical inklings aren't too far from being realities. Each creation is based on science, and these imagined future animals are based on synthetic biological research. On his website he explains, “The intention is to reinterpret the idea of the 'cabinet of curiosity'  through a journey in time, rather than through a physical space.”

ROBOTIC JELLYFISH DRONE [Cyanea machina] self-activates above 30°C to transport freshwater from rivers to dry remote agricultural areas.

Post Natural History fits right in with Fournier's other work such as The Man Machine, which included haunting images of robots that perfectly mimic humans, making the viewer believe they are seeing and feeling the emotions of a machine (think Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man). Then there's the _Space Project--_pictures that take you on a trip to various space facilities, inspiring the sensation of being on a Kubrick set.

With every project Fournier reflects a childhood obsession with science and the awe a kid feels when seeing something  captivating in a seemingly-dry setting such a science class. Fournier manages to capture that sensation of earnest wonder (where a million possibilities could exist) that very few of us experience post-adolescence.

RHINO BEETLE [Oryctes transmissionis] Insect adapted to continuous tracking.

Post Natural History is an uplifting project, and its basis in science and research makes it feel as if these ficticious creatures could be possible in the future if the scientific stars aligned. In Fournier's version of the future, the animals don't dominate humans. Instead, they become technologically-modified machines or tools ready to assist us in creating a better world, helping us create that idealized utopia. His technologically-advanced animal kingdom is one that is more of a celebratory World's Fair of innovation, rather than sci-fi horror centered around the familiar mad scientist.

PANGOLIN [Uromanis supraclimatis] Climate change-tolerant mammal.

For more inhanced animals, visit Fournier's website here.