MIMICRY INSTITUTE

Theme

There has been a slight recovery from global environmental crisis depending on the relative decrease in industrial activities and transportation services and as a positive result of the world wide-ranging restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world since 2020. It is observed that the outdoor air quality has relatively improved, especially in China and Italy, canal waters have been cleaned in Venice, outdoor air pollution has decreased in Istanbul, etc., while global ecological conditions are slightly improving. These changes also provide an opportunity, which is too important to miss, for humanity to appreciate that seeking complete domination over nature, which faces fierce competition from humankind for a long time, is not a rational idea and to reconsider its relationship with nature, while they are revealing the signs of how irreversible the impacts of the current economic system can actually have on the ecosystem. In fact, it is clear that the ideas and examples, which are required for inclusive solutions and practical innovations to create a pathway to achieving this elusive goal in every areas of research, are found in nature and the types of life forms that it encompasses.

 

Today, various wondrous phenomena, fascinating models of nature, which still remains to be explored in depth, are already the topics of ongoing studies, such as the dragonfly’s maneuverability that is superior to that of the high-tech helicopters, certain bees and birds that fly long distances to reach their destinations without a map, the bat’s multi-frequency system that works more sensitively and powerfully than any radar device, certain frogs and arctic fish that comes back to life after frozen and even without any organic damage, chameleon and certain fish that instantly changes its color and pattern to camouflage, penguins and whales that dive without oxygen, luminous algae that combines different chemicals to shine, the leaves that perform the most complex chemical process through photosynthesis reactions, and minute quantity of DNA helixes that store huge scale of information.

Mimicry is defined as the act of copying of certain characteristics (sound, behavior, appearance, smell etc.) of a particular person or animal for many different purposes such as hiding or attracting attention, protection or intimidation, lure or repelling, survival or goal attainment as part of natural evolutionary process. Mimicry is a permanent way of life experienced both by plants and animals such as the stick locust, leaf beetle or mantis, and by many other species. It appears that the genetic structures of particular species that have a strong natural inclination toward the mimicry are more dominant over the other species in a particular population compared to those who do not. Those that are much more adept at dealing with mimicry acts have much more potential to survive and reproduce than the others. It is therefore likely to take root instinctively in their organism.

The “Nature”, from the very ancient times to the present, has had deep impacts on the life styles of all types of human civilizations both in technical and aesthetic terms. Observing and imitating the nature in the service of human life is an act as old as human history. There have been many inventions inspired by nature over the centuries. In the 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci, who designed the first “flying machine” based on his inspiration, which he would be able to find during his observation and research efforts about not only the body and wing structures but flight movements of birds, pointed that “Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” It was often, until 20th century, a common tendency shared by artists and architectures, who had strong propensity for natural beauties, either by drawing inspiration from nature itself or imitating it in a particular way even though they could build their works based on what they could only see. Today, however, natural forms can be more deeply observed and studied in all their aspects even at nano-metric scales in the domain of natural sciences through aesthetic, technique, optic, thermal, electrical, magnetic, organic, and even molecular perspectives. And the flawless system of organization of nature and its integral parts reveal their secrets as more and more details are reached. Recently, either high-tech outputs and advanced designs or scientific and artistic orientations demonstrate that nature has had a crucial role to play in history of mankind and in each step forward of humanity. Today, there is a more desperate need for nature itself and the lessons from which societies should learn how to live in harmony with their natural environment.

Today, growing importance of efficiency and sustainability of energy resources is forcing societies to return into nature. The Eastgate Center Building in Zimbabwe, which has the first natural ventilation system in Africa inspired by anthills, saves millions of dollars by reducing its energy consumption to 35%. There are already some ideas whether this project could be used as a model for the most hygienic forms and the most cost-effective ways of ventilation of large indoor spaces such as shopping malls, especially under the conditions like Covid-19 crisis. Although it grows in a watery environment with dirt particles and bacteria, “lotus flower” has incredibly self-cleaning characteristics, which already started to be imitated by some companies in their products such as stadiums, which are designed based on the “lotus formula” and marketed with the guarantee of staying clean for a long time without any need for maintenance. Scientists, in order to cut energy use and improve efficiency, are inspired by the feather arrangement of birds when designing aircraft wings. Engineers are inspired by the beak structures of certain birds in the design of high-speed train prototypes.