Red Light Pet Shop summer 2016

Waag opened the world's first pop-up microbial pet shop in the heart of Amsterdam's Red Light District in the summer of 2016. After hosting two successful events in 2015—at the Dutch Design Week and the Museum Night Amsterdam—we decided to open our biobank to the public for three whole weeks at the Schatjes Gallery!

In the Red Light Pet Shop, our curated collection of bacteria, fungi, and algae were available for purchase. Caring for these creatures is fun, educational, and highly rewarding! So come pick up some of our cutest micro-pets and wake up each morning to the sight of a happy colony. And remember: if you take good care of your pets, one day they may just take care of you.

Once your pets have grown, the possibilities are endless. Want to build a house made of fungi? Or make your own bio-ink? Our micro-pets are here to help you fulfil your wildest design dreams! To illustrate the unlimited potential of our tiny friends, we decided to hold a miniature exhibition alongside our Red Light Pet Shop showcasing artists, hackers, and designers using biology in new and exciting ways. Amongst others work of Teresa van Dongen was on show: Ambio, a light installation inspired by bioluminescent micro-organisms in seawater that emit light when provided with oxygen every time a wave turnes. Over the course of our three week pop-up shop, we also hosted a number of exciting public events perfect for satisfying your curiosity.

Pet Shop is part of Waag’s aim to make biotechnology accessible to the public. The biotechnology and bio-design revolution has, thus far, been confined to university and commercial laboratories, but now artist, designers, hackers, and activists are becoming increasingly interested in the fields. Such curious minds can conduct their research (along with their micro-pets) at Waag’s Open Wetlab.

The Open Wetlab is part of Waag’s tradition of opening up closed systems. There, Waag offers workshops where anyone can use our lab equipment and biomaterials to conduct experiments. And, if you join our Biohack Academy programme, you can learn how to build a DIY laboratory at home—the perfect play-ground for your micro-pets!

Schatjes Gallery is a basement space for art exhibitions and events located in the heart of the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Their aim is to provide a stage for local, up-and-coming artists by organizing exhibitions and events. In Dutch, “schatjes” means “little treasures”, and that's just was Schatjes Gallery is full of—little treasures.

Waag also has an online pet shop were you can buy microbes and accessories (designed by María Boto Ordóñez) for these tiny cuties.

The Red Light Pet Shop is brought to you by a team of makers from Waag.

Mapping the microbes of Amsterdam's Red Light District

The Red Light Pet Shop
opening times 21 July - 13 August:
Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 till 17:00
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 119 – Souterrain
1012 EN Amsterdam