Sunday, December 22, 2013

Biodesign: a Prevalent Cultural Trope

A new science or technology field really starts to capture the imagination and become mainstream when it seeps into art and culture. This is increasingly evident with bioart, bioprinting, and synthetic biology.

In bioart (using biological materials to make art), there have already been several phases starting with bacteria drawings in petri dishes and more recently culminating in DNA manipulation, live cells growing into cultured shapes in galleries, and the Algae Opera (an opera singer’s CO2 producing algae in real-time for audience consumption).

Bioprinting is an emerging field which marries the 3D printing revolution with biohacking and DIYlabs in the 3D printing of designed human materials for aesthetic and functional purposes.  

Synthetic biology (the design and construction of biological devices and systems) is being featured in art shows alongside industry conferences and in film festivals, including in its own Bio-Fiction, an international synthetic biology science, art, and film festival series.

Not only are we making art with biology as an artistic material, culture is being made in new ways through biology. 
The theme of biodesign is becoming prevalent as a cultural trope through the rapid expansion of designed biology into the arts, culture, collective human consciousness, and science and technology. These ideas are becoming quite normal, which can only mean that their demise through kitschification and cliché could be coming soon in a subsequent era of anti-bioart, post-bioprinting, post-synbio!

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