Filed under thesis | Tags: · anthropology, bioengineering, biology, diy biology, fabrication, gastronomy, life, sensory ethnography
“This ethnography tracks a diverse set of practices I term ‘constructive biologies,’ by which I mean efforts in the post-genomic life sciences to understand how biology works by making new biological things. I examine five fields of constructive biology – synthetic biology, DIY biology, hyperbolic crochet, sonocytology, and molecular gastronomy – investigating how they are enmeshed in sensory engagements that employ craftwork as a means of grasping biology.
Synthetic biology is a community of bioengineers who aim to fabricate standardized biological systems using genetic components and manufacturing principles borrowed from engineering. DIY biology is a community of “biohackers” who appropriate synthetic biologists’ terminologies, standards, and commitment to freely exchanging biomaterials in order to do hobbyist biological engineering in their homes. The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a distributed venture of thousands of women who are cooperatively fabricating a series of yarn and plastic coral reefs in order to build a material simulation of oceanic morphologies and evolutionary theories. Sonocytology, a technique in nanotechnology research, uses scanning probe microscopes to “listen to” cellular vibrations and “feel” the topologies of cells and cellular components. Molecular gastronomy is a movement in which practitioners – physical chemists and biochemists who study food, and chefs who apply their results – use biochemical principles and laboratory apparatuses to further cooking and the culinary arts.
In analyzing these fields, I draw on histories of experimental biology, anthropological accounts of artisanship, science studies work on embodiment and tacit knowledge in scientific practice, and sensory ethnography. Based on data gathered from participant-observation and interviewing, I argue for thinking about making new biological things as a form of ‘crafting,’ an analytic that illuminates five aspects of contemporary biological manufacture: 1) sensory cultivation, 2) ongoing participation with biological media and forms, 3) the integration of making biological things and practitioners’ selfmaking, 4) the embedding of social relations, interests, norms, and modes of exchange in built artifacts, and 5) the combination of making and knowing. In this study, I argue that both biology the substance and biology the discipline are currently being remade, and that increasingly, life scientists apprehend ‘life’ through its manufacture.”
Supervisor: Stefan Helmreich
Publisher Massachussetts Institute of Technology, September 2010
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Filed under artists book | Tags: · 3d printing, art, contemporary art, critical making, design, diy, diy biology, engineering, hacker culture, hackerspace, machine, maker culture, manifesto, open source, science, technology
“Critical Making is a handmade book project by Garnet Hertz that explores how hands-on productive work ‐ making ‐ can supplement and extend critical reflection on technology and society. It works to blend and extend the fields of design, contemporary art, DIY/craft and technological development. It also can be thought of as an appeal to the electronic DIY maker movement to be critically engaged with culture, history and society: after learning to use a 3D printer, making an LED blink or using an Arduino, then what?
The publication has 70 contributors ‐ primarily from contemporary art and academia ‐ and its 352 pages are bound in ten pocket-sized zine-like volumes. The project takes the topic of DIY culture literally by printing an edition of 300 copies on a hacked photocopier with booklets that were manually folded, stapled and cut. The 300 finished copies were primarily given away for free to project contributors, individuals and institutions important to them. Some of the handmade copies were traded for reviews, photographs, videos, lectures and were given to library archives.
Publisher Telharmonium Press, Hollywood/CA, November 2012
10 booklets, 352 pages total
Filed under book | Tags: · biology, capitalism, code, commons, diy biology, freedom, gift economy, hacker culture, hacker ethic, hacking, information, intellectual property, open science, open source, science, software, technology
“Biohackers explores fundamental changes occuring in the circulation and ownership of scientific information. Alessandro Delfanti argues that the combination of the ethos of 20th century science, the hacker movement and the free software movement is producing an open science culture which redefines the relationship between researchers, scientific institutions and commercial companies.
Biohackers looks at the emergence of the citizen biology community ‘DIYbio’, the shift to open access by the American biologist Craig Venter and the rebellion of the Italian virologist Ilaria Capua against WHO data-sharing policies.
Delfanti argues that these biologists and many others are involved in a transformation of both life sciences and information systems, using open access tools and claiming independence from both academic and corporate institutions.”
Publisher Pluto Press, London, 2013
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License