BioStrike workshop at Re-New

Author
Pieter van Boheemen

This year's digital art forum Re-New in Copenhagen featured several exciting works of video, sound and interaction art. Although biotechnology is not often regarded as a medium, a number of biotechnological performances and installations effectively bridged this gap. 

A video installation showed a documentary about 'In Potentia', a thought provoking art piece of the Australian bio-art collective SymbioticA. The irony of obtaining foreskin cells and turning these cells, by use of the Nobel prize winning induced pluripotent stem cell methodology, into brain cells is never made explicit during the video. This results in an elegant and edgy art work.

The Centre for Genomic Gastronomy served a 6-course dinner, with courses related to today's biggest societal issues with biotechnology. A 'colony collapse cocktail' as a starter, 'Cobalt 90 barbecue sauce' beef salad and 'Pageant pigeon' all contained critical remarks. For example towards recent de-extinction efforts by synthetic biologists.

Waag's Open Wetlab collaborated with BiologiGaragen on a week long investigative action research into the interaction between arts and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Biology practices. This session, called 'Innoculab', explored what aesthetics engage artists best in a DIY biology lab. Therefore, one of the spaces at the PB43 area was turned into a lab. In this room, a recently developed project idea 'BioStrike' served as case study in which the search for new antibiotics was presented as a game.

The Innoculab workshop struck a large audience, especially within the online DIYBio community. The workshop was reviewed by these peers while it was ongoing, based on the live blogging on several platforms by Martin Malthe Borch and me. Suggestions made online as well as offline were immediately incorporated in a refined version of the workshop the next day. 

Thanks to the participating artists and online DIYBio peer reviews, the workshop improved every day. Resulting in a full online documentation of the workshops and immediate exchange of results. Now project proposals are drafted for continuation of the project globally.

BioStrike pictures on Flickr.

Over de auteur

  • Pieter is a hacker, artist, engineer, researcher and teacher driving forward Free & Open Source Technologies as a catalyzer for social innovati