Stained     Circulation

The Appendix Human

2019 / Mixed media, multi-channel video / 6 minutes 15 seconds

Through the hundreds of millions of years over which Earth has developed, organisms have continuously evolved to adapt to and survive in their environments. The “vestiges” of evolution, known as “vestigial organs or vestigiality” in biology, refers to the “genetically determined structures or attributes that have lost some or all of their ancestral function in a given species, but have been retained during the process of evolution.” Looking at

Chapter 14 in On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin states the following: “An organ might, also, be retained for one alone of its former functions. Organs, originally formed by the aid of natural selection, when rendered useless may well be variable, for their variations can no longer be checked by natural selection.” These “vestiges” offer important evidence in support of the theory of evolution. A vestige is like a symbol of the past, and will that symbol have a different representation in the future? In recent years, with the rapid development of science and technology, are vestigial organs completely losing their functions? Or, will they have different functions in the future? Might vestigial organs present new possibilities for human evolution?

The Appendix Human explores and imagines one of the human vestigial organs “appendix.” The appendix is a vestigial organ at the front of the cecum. The cecum is an important organ for human herbivorous ancestors. The symbiotic bacteria inside can help digest cellulose. For example, herbivores still have a large cecum but carnivores don’t. Many researchers believe that human appendix is also strongly related to immune function and with beneficial intestinal bacteria to support the immune system, which helps maintain intestinal health and prevent infection. Some scientists have also found that species with an appendix have higher concentrations of lymphoid tissue in the cecum. This type of tissue can also help stimulate the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria. It can be seen that the appendix has a strong correlation with our health and diet condition. This project attempts to investigate new possibilities and new relationships with the appendix in human lives.

Imagine a parallel world to explore the future possibilities of humans and appendix that may be affected by emerging technologies. Will the new appendix change the way we eat? Will the new appendix create changes in our society?

About the artist


Paul GONG is a speculative designer, artist and curator, born in the USA in 1988. He holds a BA in Industrial Design from the Chang Gung University in Taipei, Taiwan, and an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art in London, United Kingdom. He was awarded the Next Art Tainan Awards in 2018. He sees design as a research method and thinking tool to explore different possibilities, to criticize the past and the present, and to speculate the future. Design should stimulate debate, imagination, and reflection for people. It is also interesting for him to explore the aesthetics of the representation for possible futures. He attempts to use installation, text and image, conceptual objects, and exhibition to create a kind of scenario for people to imagine and explore. His work has been exhibited at MAS, Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Taiwan Design Museum, Yiri Arts in Taipei, USC 5D Institute in Los Angeles, Future Gallery in Palo Alto, London, and Guangzhou. He currently works as an independent designer and artist of Ouroboros - Organic Organism of O (Artist Collective), a part-time tutor of the Department of Industrial Design at Chang Gung University, and a part-time lecturer of the Department of New media Art at Taipei National University of the Arts.

Other artworks


Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab

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