Investigating synthetic biology's designs on nature
Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Jane Calvert, Pablo Schyfter,
Alistair Elfick & Drew Endy
Since 2010 I have worked as Design Fellow on Synthetic Aesthetics, an interdisciplinary research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).The project team includes bioengineers Drew Endy (Stanford) and Alistair Elfick (Edinburgh) and social scientists Jane Calvert (Edinburgh) and Pablo Schyfter (Edinburgh). My role has been to help curate, research and challenge our understanding of design and synthetic biology.
We paired six internationally-renowned artists and designers with six leading synthetic biologists and tasked them with investigating design and synthetic biology. These collaborations have challenged assumptions, developed new forms of critique, and given rise to novel perspectives on design and biology. Our residents—who represent the spectrum of synthetic biology and bio-art, industrial and speculative design, smell design, architecture, and music—have encouraged us to think about this emerging field in new ways, their work serving as catalysts and starting points for the examination and discussion of the design of living machines, which we all continue to work on.