Hybrid Art

Searching for the Ubiquitous Genetically Engineered Machine

Price: Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Artist Groups:
ArtScienceBangalore (IN): Yashas Shetty (IN), Mukund Thattai (IN)


Cyberarts 2012 - International Compendium Prix Ars Electronica 2012

In synthetic biology the BioBrick has been used as an abstraction or template for creating standardized functional living parts. Searching for the Ubiquitous Genetically Engineered Machine is an alternate re-appropriation of the BioBrick by using existing BioBrick primers as random-PCR (polymerase chain-reaction) primers in investigating soil samples. This random PCR will provide a succinct signature of the biological diversity present in these samples. These investigations of soil lead us to ask questions about citizen’s science “performed” by non-institutional actors using accessible tools as well as giving us a glimpse into the “post-natural world” where BioBricks may end up in our environment and may very well show up as bands in a gel. By imagining a world in which the BioBrick has become the accepted standard for synthetic biology, and where these engineered products are ubiquitous in our lives and environments, the samples we archive will serve as the baseline from which the subsequent extent of human influence can be measured. These investigations are carried out in a custom-built public research laboratory; the blueprints for making one are available online. These autonomous public laboratories can be used as template for creating a citizen’s research lab with which one can carry out “experiments”, biotechnological or otherwise.