Archiwum | Maj, 2011

Biopresence. Human DNA Trees

3 Maj

The goal of Biopresence is to introduce human characteristics to a plant, without changing the genes of the resulting plant.
How can this be done? The technique involved are the following:

1. Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transformation.
2. Plant tissue culture.

1: Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transformation.
The Agrobacterium tumefaciens is a naturally occuring bacterium, commonly found in ordinary soil.

This bacterium has the ability to infect plant, and inject some of its DNA into a cell of the plant. The visible product of the bacterium is the well-known crown-galls.

A.tumefaciens can be seen as a kind of ‚parcel-delivery service’, that transports a specific part of its DNA into the cell of plants.

It is possible to change that specific part of the bacteria’s DNA, which then will be transported into the plant cell.

This method is a standard procedure and is used on a daily basis in plant biotech labs around the world.

2: Plant-tissue culture.
Plant-tissue culture is plant breed and propagation on a very small scale, it is basically gardening inside test tubes.

Plant cells are totipotent, each plant cell has the ability to become any other plant cell.

For example, it is possible, to grow a new plant from some leave cells.

So, 1. we introduce DNA into the plant via A.tumefaciens. and 2. we grow new plants.

The goal of Biopresence is to introduce human characteristics to a plant, without changing the genes of the resulting plant.

How is it possible to introduce a ‚new characteristic’, without changing the genes of the plant? Surely this must be impossible!!!

A. sequence a piece of the plant’s DNA (a plant gene) this will be, where our information will be located.

B. encode the human DNA using DNA manifolds within this plant gene, and make the new plant gene. The function of this gene is not changed.

C. re-introduce the transhuman-plant gene into the organism.



Nomadic Plants

2 Maj

Ciekawy artykuł na we make money not art na temat wystawy Gilberto Esparza

Plantas nomadas

Photo Gilberto Esparza

Gilberto Esparza first appeared in the radar of bloggers a couple of years ago when he started colonizing Mexico City with Urban Parasites. Made of recycled consumer goods, the small robotic creatures explore the urban space in search of any source of energy they can feed on. Under its quirky, amusing side, the project also had the objective of providing a basis for a critical exploration of the role that technology plays in cities.

The dblt feeds on the energy that runs through electric wires. The species collects sounds in the environment and reproduces them sporadically. Photo Gilberto Esparza

Gilberto Esparza is currently showing one of his latest projects, Nomadic Plants, at Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Centre in Gijón. Just like Urban Parasites, this new work is part of a series of experiments that aim to stimulate a critical discussion about the ambiguous forces wielded by technology.

Vegetation and microorganisms live in symbiosis inside the body of the Nomadic Plants robot. Whenever its bacteria require nourishment, the self-sufficient robot will move towards a contaminated river and ‚drink’ water from it. Through a process of microbial fuel cell, the elements contained in the water are decomposed and turned into energy that can feed the brain circuits of the robot. The surplus is then used to create life, enabling plants to complete their own life cycle. As Gilberto wrote in our email conversation, „The nomadic plant is a portray of our own species. It also deals with the alienated transformation of this new hybrid species that fights for its survival in a deteriorated environment.”

Photo Gilberto Esparza

Image courtesy Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Centre

I’ll quote the artist again, this time from a text included in the press material for the exhibition:

The fact that a new species, the by-product of those alienating processes, appears -merely by coexisting- in those areas of ecological disaster represents a manifestation pointing to the serious social and environmental impacts on communities that once depended on rivers, now the source of their ailments. At this point, it is important to highlight the ambiguous potential of the transforming power of the human species, due to its ability to destroy but also to restore. For that reason, what is required is a new way of thinking, which would position us as antibodies on the planet, and a proper understanding of the importance of living in symbiosis with our planet and with all species.
Extracts from our online conversation:

When i first read about Plantas Nomadas, i immediately thought about Archigram’s Walking City because of the nomadic and self-sufficient qualities of Plantas Nomadas. But what was your actual inspiration? Sci-fi novels and movies? Ongoing research in laboratories exploring the possibilities of microbial fuel cells in robotics?

I have been researching and building autonomous robots that can survive in urban space, stealing the energy that the city itself generates. Later on, i found online some publications about research projects using microbial fuel cell. I was immediately inspired to develop a project that would engage with the issue of pollution in rivers. I visited El Salto Jalísco, a community very affected by this problem. I was therefore interested in making it the location of the intervention.

Drawing by Gilberto Esparza

Can you tell us which kind of plants and micro-organisms cohabit inside the body of your machine?

The microorganisms that live inside the robots are identical to the ones you can find in the river. I prefer to use the plants that used to be native to the river before it became so polluted.

How has the public reacted to your work so far? Both in Mexico and in Spain?

People liked it a lot because the project opens many doors on issues such as our relationship with nature, the thin line that separates the inert and the living and also the directions taken by scientific research which, very often, respond to the interests of the current economic system.

Thanks Gilberto!

Image courtesy Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Centre

The installation at Laboral features the robot but also a video of the process of its creation, a documentary showing the robot in action in the river Santiago, El Salto, Jalisco (Mexico), a series of photos taken by the artist and computers showing the project’s webpage.

Plantas Nomadas is on view at Laboral, Gijón (Spain) until June, 7, 2010.

Alter Nature w Z33

2 Maj

Alter Nature: We Can shows the work of 20 international contemporary artists and designers. The exhibition focuses on the different ways in which people have displaced, manipulated or designed nature: from small gardens to private islands, from carrots and bonsai trees to acoustic plants and orange pheasants.

In Alter Nature: We Can, Z33 looks at the sub-aspect of fauna and flora in nature. Through the works of some twenty international artists we explore how humankind manipulates nature and how the concept of ‘nature’ constantly changes as a result of this.

The works are not about using nature to meet basic needs (such as health, food, protection, etc.). Interesting projects in this context are legion, but grouped together they almost inevitably lead to simplified contradictions. On the one hand, one has projects that look ‘positively’ upon transforming nature: they find out what technology can do or they show solutions. These projects are often criticised because they seem to subscribe seamlessly to the scientific belief in progress. On the other hand, some projects show the negative side; they look at interventions in nature that have gone wrong. These projects are criticesed to bethe autonomous art corner’s wagging finger. They criticise but do not offer any solutions.

Alter Nature: We Can wants to go beyond this simplified pro-contra positioning. The works on display are therefore devoid of strict utilitarianism and the emphasis is on the historic context of intervention, the multiplicity of manipulations and our fluctuating understanding of the concept of nature.

Alter Nature: We Can is part of Alter Nature, an overarching project by Z33, the Hasselt Fashion Museum and CIAP in collaboration with the MAD faculty, the University of Hasselt, the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), KULeuven University and bioSCENTer.

Karen Verschooren (Z33)

Makoto Azuma (JP)
BCL: Shiho Fukuhara (JP) and Georg Tremmel (AT)
David Benqué (UK)
Julien Berthier (FR)
Merijn Bolink (NL)
Center for PostNatural History
Mark Dion (US)
Driessens & Verstappen (NL)
Daisy Ginsberg (UK)
Tue Greenfort (DK)
Natalie Jeremijenko (US)
Eduardo Kac (US)
James King (UK)
Allison Kudla (US)
Reinier Lagendijk (NL)
Antti Laitinen (FIN)
Hans Op de Beeck (B)
Michael Sailstorfer (D)
Maarten Vanden Eynde (B)
Adrian Woods (NL)
Adam Zaretsky (US)

Tuur Van Balen – Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal | Z33

Revital Cohen – Alter Nature: The Unnatural Animal | Z33

Shiho Fukuhara (BCL) on ‚Common Flowers, Flower Commons’ – Alter Nature: We Can | Z33

i inne:

David Banque

Alison Kudla

Makoto Azuma

Więcej informacji na we make money not art
Alter Nature symposium 18.02.2011

Sven Hendrix & Robert Zwijnenberg | Alter Nature symposium

Nagrania wszystkich uczestników sympozjum dostępne są na kanale z33