生物学者/青山学院大学教授 福岡 伸一

レゴ(lego)とは、もともと「よく遊べ(Leg Godt)」という意味のデンマーク語から由来する名称だという。子どもの頃の一時期、レゴに夢中になっていろいろなかたちを工夫しながら造形したことを思い出す。ブロックをパチンとつなげるときの心地よい感触が今も指先に残っているような気がする。


Thoughts concerning the expansion of biological space
Biologist, Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University Shin-Ichi Fukuoka

The name Lego originated from the Danish phrase “Leg Godt” which means to play well. I remember at one period in my childhood being absorbed with Lego producing various shapes. That pleasant feel when blocks snapped together probably still remains in my fingertips.
How surprised I was to be honoured to be involved with judging a Lego work competition. Producing whatever shape you want in a space of 32×32×32 knobs. I am told that there are more than 160 entries!
I am a biologist, so I tend to select biological type works as much as possible. What is a biological type work? I like to see things that remind me of beehives, termite mounds, the small cells that lungs are made of, neuron networks, etc.
First and foremost life always holds within it the potential for expansion. Although there is a restriction to 32×32×32 knobs, I am attracted to a work that has the potential for further expansion.
Life is flexible. This does not mean that it is weak. It is tough while appearing to be loose and delicate. When you stretch it it rebounds, when you immerse it it floats back up. Although Lego blocks are made from hard resin, I tend to select works where you can sense a supple flexibility in the shape woven from these blocks.
Life has variation. It is capable of adapting in accordance with the environment, repairing from damage, and recovering when a change occurs. It succeeds in getting by by doing something. I call this property of life dynamic equilibrium. Although the works themselves do not move, I tend to select works where you can feel some kind of dynamism.
Life produces extraordinary diversity using a simple unit. For example DNA is configured from permutations and combinations of just 4 types of unit, and it contains an enormous quantity of information. Lego produces a truly large variety of parts compared with the distant past when I played with Lego, but I tend to select works that use only the minimum number of basic units, and from that produce complex shapes.
Also it goes without saying that life is beautiful and stylish. My specialism is insects, and I am attracted by the design of the wings of the swallowtail butterfly, impressed by the form of the long tactile sense of the long-horned beetle, and moved by the colorfulness of the Japanese tiger beetle. Every Lego block has a beautiful color. White, blue, red, yellow. I like it when these colors are skillfully arranged to surprise our eyes.
Which of the works will be on the winner’s podium? I am looking forward to seeing the results.