Open Wetlab

Accursed Creator: The art of bio-hacking

5-4-17 19:00
Utrechts Archief, Hamburgerstraat 28, Utrecht

An evening with international artists Agi Haines (artist-in-residence and fellow at Waag), Steve Kurtz, and philosopher René ten Bos, to interrogate the possibilities and challenges that arise now that humankind is able to reshape life on cellular level.

With new technologies, such as targeted genetic editor CRISPR creating new possibilities for humanity, what transformations may occur as we start to manipulate the laws of nature? With the acknowledgement of The Anthropocene, which signals the significance that human impact has on the Earth's geology and ecosystems, can we ever return to a ‘natural state’, or is that a false dream?

“The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me, are among the earliest sensations I can remember.” Mary Shelley - Frankenstein

*Accursed Creator are the words used by Frankenstein’s monster to refer to Dr. Frankenstein in the climax of the book.


  • René ten Bos recently named Denker des Vaderlands ("National Philosopher"), winner of the Socrates Cup in 2016 and writer of the book Dwalen in het Antropoceen (Wandering in the Anthropocene).
  • Agi Haines’ work is focused on the design of the human body. How might people respond to the possibilities of our body as another everyday material and how far can we push our malleable bodies while still being accepted by society?
  • Steve Kurtz is a founder and member of Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), pioneering in the areas of politically engaged art, interventionist practices, and cultural research and action in the field of biotechnology and ecological struggle. CAE’s Free Range Grain was a live, performative action that used basic molecular biology techniques to test for genetically modified (GM) food in the global food trade.

Moderated by Natalie Kane and Tobias Revell, curators of the Impakt Festival 2017.