LASER Talks at Vienna: Shenzhen Molecular Speed | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

LASER Talks at Vienna: Shenzhen Molecular Speed

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CHAIRS: Lucie Strecker, Jens Hauser, Klaus Spiess

Shenzhen Molecular Speed

Troubled Markets for Gene Editing Tools?

Cheap molecular tools usher in a new era of speed in shifting power. Gene editing, for instance, reconfigures natural and social orders and affects one of the most powerful paradigms of aesthetic production, namely the animation of Pygmalion´s statue. Beyond justified fears of such an era, this talk tries to explore how applying these tools might contribute to a peaceful coexistence of all species on Earth and beyond?

This LASER talk is embedded in a performative symposium titled “Applied Microperformativity: Live Arts for a Radical Socio-Economic Turn” and asks whether both, artistic media and new biotech markets go beyond the central dogma of molecular biology, with its unidirectionality of information flow from DNA to RNA to metabolism, which conflicts ecological circuits. Might cheap molecular tools provide new concepts for the industry? Is waste to become an asset instead of a liability?

Contributions come from anthropological research on Asian biotech cities, from ecogenomics, from cutting-edge (artistic) research on biomedia and from new-to-nature microbes before finally, molecular hands-on residencies for artists are outlined.

LATENT FIGURE PROTOCOL: Skull and Bones by Paul Vanouse, 2008


S. Eben Kirksey (AU/US) Remaking Life with Shenzhen Speed (20 min)

is an associate professor of anthropology at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. He has published two books with Duke University Press—Freedom in Entangled Worlds (2012) and Emergent Ecologies (2015)—as well as one edited collection: The Multispecies Salon (2014).

Christa Schleper (DE) Diversity Matters: Molecular Tools in Natural Microbial Communities
(10 min)

is a professor and head of the Department of Ecogenomics and Systems Biology at the University of Vienna. Her research interest is the development and application of metagenomic approaches to natural microbial communities and microbehost systems

Jens Hauser (DE/DK/FR) Molecular tools as biomedia (10 min)

is a media studies scholar and art curator focusing on hybrid aesthetics. He is affiliated to the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies and at the Medical Museion at the University of Copenhagen and the Department of Art, Art History and Design at Michigan State University

Markus Schmidt (A) New-to-nature microbes to harmonize global ecological and industrial cycles (10 min)

is founder of BIOFACTION KG, a research, technology assessment and art-science company in Vienna, and has carried out environmental risk and public perception studies in fields such as gene therapy and synthetic biology

Paul Vanouse (US) The America Project (installation)

is an artist and professor of art at the University at Buffalo, NY, where he is the founding director of the Coalesce Center for Biological Art. His bio-media and interactive cinema projects have been exhibited in over 25 countries and widely across the US 


LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) Talks is Leonardo's international program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversations. LASER Talks were founded in 2008 by Bay Area LASER Chair Piero Scaruffi and are in over 30 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website

The mission of the LASERs is to provide the general public with a snapshot of the cultural environment of a region and to foster interdisciplinary networking.

December 15th, 2018 from  6:15 PM to  8:15 PM
Angewandte Innovation Laboratory (AIL)
Franz-Josefs-Kai 3
Vienna, 9 1010
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