The scientific achievements of recent years have catapulted us into a new age—one in which we can not only read the genetic information of living creatures but write it as well. Nevertheless, just because we’re able to, does that mean that doing so is a good idea?
This all began with the discovery of DNA as the molecular key to life. Now, synthetic biology enables us to create completely new life forms—to configure them from scratch according to our own design concepts and assemble them from customized components to build in desirable traits. At the same time, these high-tech marvels have gotten more affordable, and the know-how is no longer insider information accessible only by experts.
But in light of our all-too-human mental capacities, isn’t it expecting too much of humankind to be able to form the living creatures of this world? The more we deal with synthetic biology, the more questions emerge—a number far exceeding the questions answered—from the virtually limitless spring of possibilities. And after all, this is a matter of nothing less than life itself; this is about us! It’s high time to give some thought to the future, one in which our genetic fate is no longer cast in stone.
In this exhibition, the works of art themselves occupy the focal point of attention. They provide food for thought about these issues, and interesting enlightenment as you go about coming to terms with the consequences that will necessarily affect us all. But you also have easy access to authoritative assistance: on the walls of the entire exhibition space, you’ll find brief texts about basic scientific concepts. Get active and get involved in Project Genesis! It’s all about a very important person: You!
|Interviews at the Ars Electronica Blog|
The project is realised in the frame of Studiolab.
Studiolab is funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Program.
Videos, photographs, documents and physical objects—the evidence exhibited here makes a powerful case against Arnold Mann. Dynamic Genetics, a major corporation in the genetic therapy industry, accuses him of possessing proprietary DNA produced in an illegal clinic. (Genetic Ethos)Read More
When we use synthetic biology to perform complex changes to nature, we usually forget that we rely on fragile, human-made computer systems to do so. “Biogenic Timestamp” clearly illustrates that bacteria are capable of internalizing our technological creations and modifying them as they please. (Genetic Ethos)Read More
What happens when we modify living creatures and then set them free? Three different mousetraps are designed to get people to reflect on this. They’re custom-tailored to genetically and technologically modified mice like the ones used in testing labs. (Genetic Ethos)Read More
You don’t need extremely expensive lab equipment any more to be able to work with bacteria and micro-organisms. Now there’s Lab-in-a-Box, a conveniently packaged collection of simple, affordable technologies that enable people interested in performing biology research to do so in the privacy of their own home. (Citizen Science)Read More
At several thousand euros apiece, the high retail price of a gene gun, a scientific instrument, meant that only professional labs could afford to own this piece of basic scientific equipment. Then, biologist Rüdiger Trojok succeeded in building a gene gun of his own, and in slashing the cost to a mere 50 euros. (Citizen Science)Read More
What might this little creature be feeling? This humanoid figure that Patricia Piccinini’s crew painstakingly put together out of silicon, fiberglass and human hair doesn’t seem the least bit threatening. Actually, its vulnerability is what makes the strongest impression. (Synthetic Hybrids)Read More