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Transformation – Thinking Through Making With Life
Tue 11 April 2017, 13:00 – 17:00 BST
Transformation – Thinking Through Life is a bio-art workshop exploring the philosophical and moral implications of working with living biological material and storing information within DNA.
Approximately 3-4 hours
Number of Participants (10 max)
"Synthetic biology is an emerging area of research that can broadly be described as the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices, or the redesign of existing natural biological systems." Source: UK Royal Society
The workshop is for participants who are interested in working with life as material. The first iteration of this workshop will be held for a public audience at Edinburgh Science Festival, on the 1st of April, in collaboration with ASCUS Lab at Summerhall. It is a complement to the work shown in the exhibition space, which will include an interactive installation that enables the public to voice how they feel about having the ability to store information within DNA, and in doing so, having the potential to create new forms of life.
For this second workshop we are inviting guests from the sciences, synthetic biology, art and design the opportunity to critically explore the affects and ethics of using and becoming life as material.
Artist Brion Gysin announced that writing was 50 years behind painting (1959) and proposed to his colleague William Burroughs the cut-up technique as a literary collage method to re-dress the balance. Today, the same principle is applied in synthetic biology to cut and splice DNA, collaging new forms of life by cutting and pasting genes from one species to another.
This workshop combines Gysin’s literary technique with the field of synthetic biology by taking a thought and physically inserting it into the DNA of a living organism. Questioning both literally and metaphorically what happens when we undertake this action, the workshop seeks to address our relationship to living material as biological tool through performing the act of cutting and splicing biological material and subsequently reflecting on this process through recorded dialogue, where participants become the organism observed.