DIY A-Life SEMINAR
| Thursday 19 NOV | ØSTRE
Moderator: Nora S. Vaage
| Friday 20 NOV | ØSTRE
Moderator: Rasa Smite (LV)
“As we become increasingly part of “living technology” and increasingly aware of its sociocultural implications, diversification of approaches to this polysemic domain to open up broader, transdisciplinary dialogue is imperative.”
Prof Sally-Jane Norman, University of Sussex
Piksel is an annual festival for artists and developers working with free and open source software, hardware and art. The 12th edition of the Piksel Festival be\O/art at 2014 was devoted to show a series of artistic works, performances and workshops dealing with DIY BioArt. The genre involves creative tinkering with organic tissue, life processes, live organisms and bacteria.
At this year edition Piksel wants to get deeper into the subject hosting the first Bioart Seminar in Bergen. Guest artists, curators and researchers will share their knowledge and experiences through three days of presentations, workshops and exhibitions.
Experts speakers have been specifically chosen from their original approaches, researches and/or transversal knowledge applied to the field of biotechnology, biometrics, bioart, artificial life (A-life), nanotechnology, environmental data analysis, bioinformatics based on Open/Free software and hardware, do it yourself (DIY) and do it with others (DIWO) learning and teaching methods applied to bioart; A-life and bioinformatics speculative projects done by artists; artists and biotechnology: bioethics applied to the practice of bioart.
Biotechnological research is no longer limited to specialist laboratories: a growing community of biologists, amateur enthusiasts and technophiles is experimenting in kitchens, workshops and DIY laboratories. Some people view the democratisation of biotechnology as a threat, others as an opportunity to gain a better understanding of complex scientific interrelationships within society.1
All of us have witnessed the media-hype generated by such biotech issues as the human genome, human cloning, and debates over the use of embryonic stem cells. But what often goes unmentioned is that the real generator of radical change in fields like biotech is not genome mapping, cloning, or genetic engineering – it is“bioinformatics.” Put simply, bioinformatics is a growing discipline which straddles computer science and molecular biology. Currently, bioinformatics mostly means the use of computer technology to aid in the study of life (that is, new tools for molecular genetics and biomedicine).
This is worth noting because it means that any “alternative” approaches in bioinformatics and uses of biological data, will have to confront issues such as access to information, access to tools, development of skill sets, distribution of knowledge, and the challenges of transdisciplinary work. The main question which is put forth is: How does an individual or group acquire the knowledge, skills, resources, and tools needed to work in a non-orthodox manner in biotech? Not surprisingly, artists have been among the first to explore such questions. But the results are often less than satisfactory, even when art-science collaboration is involved; too often the resulting works operate only at the symbolic or representational level. However, such art-science projects have been instrumental in raising critical and political issues with regard to biotech,suggesting that a new type of serious research can co-exist alongside a critical and political consciousness.
In the same way that open source has contributed to a DIY computer culture and various types of hacker ethics, could the design of innovative bioinformatics software apps, combined with public access to the genome, spawn a DIY biotechculture? At the furthest reaches of the extreme, how might this “open source DNA” movement affect areas such as media art, education, body performance, regenerative medicine, body art, and wet computing?2
As part of the Piksel Festival 13th edition, a series of DIY bio-art workshops will occur: “Solar Kinetic Sculpture” by Egil Paulsen, “Pikslo_deep_diving / underwater interception of the nordic sea”, by Robertina Šebjanič, Kat Austen, Gjino Šutič, Slavko Glamočanin, “R language, a powerfull tool for environmental data analysis” by Christian Mong and “Bio-Vortex (Bio-illuminating the vortex)” by Ben Freeth.
The Piksel exhibition will include work related to BioArt from more than 16 artists.
Organized by PIKSEL
1.- Biotechnology for all, SATW INFO 2/15, August 2015
2.- Open Source DNA? Eugene Thacker