# STUDENTS /// Epidermic Hyperplasia by Sofia Krimizi & John Becker

Epidermic Hyperplasia by John Becker & Sofia Krimizi is a project  developed within Francois Roche and Marc Fornes’ studio at Columbia. It introduces an architecture generated by a mimicry of the construction of the skin and which is also dependent on a age limit of the cells composing it. David Cronenberg introduced this marriage between biology and technology with eXistenZ (see former post), John and Sofia use it more specifically to architecture.
It is then interesting to observe the confrontation of the two architectonic languages used here; the structural one, a chaotic scaffolding supporting the skin/fabric and how those two elements are eventually amalgamating in order to die together…
This architecture seems a very good illustration of French physiologist Xavier Bichat who defined life as the ensemble of functions that resist death (Physiological Researches on Life and Death. 1800). 

Here is the text related to the project:

Epidermic Hyperplasia
You are all contained in you skin.
You are contained in a vessel that is generated by your organism as a defense mechanism.
Your skin is a living mortal vessel.
Our point of departure comes from the semi-living condition of the artificially produced epidermis. The epithelial tissue is located in the middle of the hierarchy between the cell and the organ tending to perform more like the one or the other along the different stages of its growth.
We understand the skin engineering culture as an attempt to create an animate but not alive fraction of a body, coming from the body’s genetic information but reversibly detached from it.
Biologically, the process of the skin engeneering:
a synthetic polymer substratum [ PGA, P4HB] performs as the host for the stem cells that will initiate the skin culture. This PGA scaffold is responsible to provide cell support, cell attachment, supply growth nutrients and drugs, provide structure and form. Cells can and do grow 3dimensionaly, so the geometry of the scaffolding has to create the anatomic site for the cell lines to grow, attach to each other and finally produce a continuous epidermic tissue.
The growth of the skin is interwoven with the degradation of the scaffolding material. The epithelial cells hook on the body of the scaffolding absorbing the nutrients that are delivered through the system concluding to its slow dematerialization. This parasitic relationship between the growing tissue and its host, holds a direct analogy between the proliferation of the skin cells and the disintegradation of the synthetic matter. This dual system reaches its apex the exact same moment that it destroys the viability of the scaffolding that provided the circumstances for this dual system to exist in the first place.
In a scale large enough to include a human body we assign a trajectory, or most likely behavior to a 3D printing device able to construct the PGA web and simultaneously seed the primal cells in the synthetic host. The march of the printing machine materializes the arrow of time, from the birth, to the growth, the adolescence, and the necrosis. The balance of the system lays between the struggle of the living matter to survive intrinsically resulting in the acceleration its death. The live and death instincts, eros and thanatos create but simultaneously disintegrate this spatial narrative.
The printing device doesn’t really produce a design, its performance appears more like a tick- Tourette syndrome repeating the same action over and over. An unintended fidgety limp behavior retraces in its inbuilt amplitude the sequence of a vertically arrayed field of points.
Similar devices, the punitive apparatus in Kafka’s Penal Colony and the Bachelor Machine (later the Large Glass) by Marcel Duchamp perform in a dual parallel manner.
In our case this performative machine operates as an extension of the body fluids of its occupant. To walk following the printing device is to experience the biome of being in our selves. To experience an offset of the skin that touches us but from the inside.
The cellular matrix of the occupant.
Constant state of death.
The residuum of the passage of the machine.
Dangerosity of a living organism.
To create dying life.
Injecting genetic information into the scaffolding.
We understand the constructed materiality of our scenario the entropy between what is generated and what is dying.
Extended apparition of the body’s envelope.
The human membrane, the membrane that contains and protects us is being extended beyond the scope of the body.








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