Interdisciplinary Conference


in Art & Science

27-29 September 2023, Malta Society of Arts, Valletta

Hosting the Genetically othered - Co-creation in a time of genetic patenting.
Event Hours: 28/09/2023 (15:45)
Location: Conference Room [C]
Brian Degger
Keywords: biotechnology, appropriate technology, genetic engineering, biohacking, bioart, commodification of life

At the beginning of "the Drama of Life", By HG Welles and Julian Huxley(1933) a scenario describes Mr Everyman, Mrs Everyman, their son Master Everyman, their maid, and their life with traditionally selected. animals plants. What a shift it will be to 2033.

People already coexist domestically with the aesthetic GMO (GloFishTM), and various cut flowers, they eat food that is gmo, or fed on gmo. Functional GMOs remain outside the domestic realm. The next 10 years will see a massive change. Startups are close to commercialisation, with plants that have the potential to clean the air more efficiently, active surfaces containing kombucha engineered to glow in relation to environmental conditions. How will we welcome these new organisms? Will they be LIAS[Life as an environmental Service], patented, licensed, loaned and sold to us? If so, it is easy to envision a pirate periphery, an open scene, where precision genetic engineering meets the home we live in, where bio artists make works that support a resilient space. Easy to envision, but also hard to achieve, if life gets increasingly commodified, and controlled. What are the tools of science and liberation we should be thinking about now.

This paper will be a brief survey of the state of the art today, and a rewriting of the story of the Wells/Huxley Mr Everyman scenario for they/them Everyperson and their genetic engineered house companions.

Brian Degger

Dr Brian Degger is a UK based artist/researcher with a PhD in molecular biotechnology. He works in collaboration with art practitioners to realise projects (lablife, Brighton, Uk; FieldNotes, Kilpisjarvi, Fi), and to introduce them to new materials (dissection class, bioplastics making). He has participated in research and development residencies in the UK and Internationally. He uses and writes on artistic, scientific and open-source methodologies to creatively explore research such as DIYBiology, bacterial cultivation, fermentation, horticulture and planktons. He disseminates his work through exhibitions and workshops.


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