siNbiozė: lab + studio

2017/09/22

The international DIYbio meeting with a coded name “siNbiozė” is an attempt to realise the possibility of symbiosis of scientific and artistic practices. It is aimed at development and presentation of ideas, questioning the ability to visualise essential scientific information and approach such areas as genetic engineering and life–programming.

A lab with two public workshops–biolaboratories and a studio with a discussion will take place during the meeting, followed by an internal meeting of network participants. Offering activities in real laboratory and also home–like environment, as well as philosophical, theoretical, scientific and hands–on approaches, “siNbiozė: lab + studio” will allow to discuss the issues of self–repair, creation/altering of organisms as well as bioethics/biosafety from multiplicity of perspectives.

“Self-repair” Lab
Conceived and realized by Mindaugas Gapševičius in collaboration with Lina Rukevičiūtė, Gailė Griciūtė, Vilnius–Lithuania iGEM 2017 team, and Technarium.

Recent workshops on making penicillin at home and research on how to clone one’s own body have opened up a relatively unexplored field of DIY practices, related to experiments with the body. On the other hand, similar experiments are often associated with AI in science fiction movies and novels.

One of the better known self–surgeries under “real–life conditions” was performed by Leonid Rogozov. In 1961 during his expedition to the Antarctic, which at that time was not really an inhabited place, Rogozov performed an appendectomy on himself. While humanity dreams about space travel, we often forget to ponder the question of “What if…?” What if there is no chance of asking others for help, fulfilling one or the other task? What if certain experimentation is restricted by law? There are also other related questions, like “How far can I experiment with my own body?” or “To whom do parts of my body belong if they are detached from my body?

Self–repair is a reference to non–traditional cases where certain social considerations are excluded under existing circumstances, or a reference to the contexts of malfunctioning systems, especially those related to one’s own body. Self–repair is about an ability to identify and to fix one’s own systems. Self–repair is also about experiments that might not be tolerated by society and that might instead be considered unethical.

In the context of this lab a number of interacting actors is proposed: an audience, an interactive installation “[un]ethical”, a temporary lab, a toolkit “How I prepare myself to be cloned,” a sound piece, a couple of ideas on “self–repair” theme, a proposal for the iGEM competition “SynORI – a framework for multi–plasmid systems ”, and two biolaboratories – “Lichen biohacking: revealing the secrets of the forgotten part of the forgotten kingdom” and “How scientists employ bacteria to make them perform desired functions?”

Studio: “The Future of Life: Do We Understand What We Create?”

Participants: Ursula Damm, Gabrielius Jakutis, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Gediminas Drabavičius. Moderation: Kristupas Sabolius.

Keynote presentations: Ursula Damm, Gabrielius Jakutis

Synthetic biologists often refer to a famous quote by theoretical physicist Richard Feynman: “What I cannot create, I do not understand”. Today, the advancement of this field of science enabled the synthesis of customized genetic elements and systems for various applications on an unprecedented scale. Contemporaneously, this raised a wave of critical reconsideration of the role and meaning of human creation itself. Do we really understand what we create? Are we satisfied with current definitions of life? Who is in charge to define the future of humanity? What are the boundaries between human and non–human agencies?

Set along with the challenges of contemporary life, scientists are in a constant need to compare and contrast their definitions of creation, innovation and engineering of life with specialists in the humanities, social sciences and arts. This discussion creates an opportunity for collective thinking on the progression of synthetic biology and life sciences within the perspective of big themes of responsibility, safety and future of humanity.

Programme

Friday, September 29, 2017

• 12:00 Biolaboratory: “Lichen biohacking: revealing the secrets of the forgotten part of the forgotten kingdom”. Conducted by Technarium. Project space “Sodų 4”, Sodų Str. 4, Vilnius (register to the workshop by email o-o@o-o.lt).
• 17:00 Studio: “The Future of Life: Do We Understand What We Create?”. Two keynote lectures and discussion. Ursula Damm, Gabrielius Jakutis, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Gediminas Drabavičius. Moderation: Kristupas Sabolius. VU Life Sciences Center, R102 aud., Saulėtekio Al. 7, Vilnius.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

• 12:00 Biolaboratory: “How scientists employ bacteria to make them perform desired functions?” Conducted by Vilnius–Lithuania iGEM 2017 team. VU Life Sciences Center, R322 lab., Saulėtekio Al. 7, Vilnius (register to the workshop by email vu.igem@gmail.com).
• 17:00 DIYbio network internal meeting. Project space “Sodų 4”, Sodų Str. 4, Vilnius.
• 19:00 Finissage: “Self–repair” lab. Mindaugas Gapševičius in collaboration with Lina Rukevičiūtė, Gailė Griciūtė, Vilnius–Lithuania iGEM 2017 team and Technarium. Project space “Sodų 4”, Sodų Str. 4, Vilnius.

“self–repair” lab will be open to visit in project space “Sodų 4”, Sodų Str. 4, Vilnius, September 27–30, 3–7 pm.
More information on all events http://www.howto-things.com/Vilnius_meeting_2017

The event is organized by Institutio media in collaboration with Vilnius–Lithuania iGEM 2017 team, Technarium, Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association, Vilnius University Life Sciences Center, International Semiotics Institute of Kaunas University of Technology.

Supported by: Lithuanian Council for Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius City Municipality, Nordic Council of Ministers.

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