Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 6 - Biotech & Art

DIY Bio emblem
The juxtaposition between the need for DIY biology, and the resentment society has for DIY scientists is unnecessarily absurd. Society thinks of home-scientists as mad-scientists and believes all experiments should be conducted in universities or research laboratories. But the people who have access to those kinds of facilities don't always have the same research intentions or aspirations as those being shut down at home. And the worst part is that scientific progression is hindered by the discrediting of DIY scientists.

Steve Kurtz's home being raided by FBI bioterror agents
For example, Steve Kurtz was working on genetically modified agriculture for his own research and for a museum exhibit, but had all of his research, materials, and experiments seized from him on suspicion of bioterrorism. He was considered a criminal and taken to jail by the FBI before the investigation even began. Instead of treating him as a professor in collaboration with other scientists (which he was), he was treated as a biohacker. This segued nicely into Chris Kelty's Meanings of Participation: Outlaw Biology. In this essay, Kelty speaks of the difference between outlaws, hackers, and the victorian gentlemen in regards to DIY biology. The victorian gentlemen were described as scientists with access to any technology and a mastered knowledge on their researched subject matter. The real discrepancy comes between the hackers and the outlaws. The hackers are described as groups of people trying to control a system that they understand well. This has no benefit to society because nothing is learned and nothing is taught to others. But outlaws are described as individuals who try out new things and share what they learn with others. Unlike the hackers, outlaws have value to society due to their curiosity and craving to follow their unusual questions and hypothesis.

Scientific collaboration
Scientists like Steve Kurtz are outlaws; they follow their uniquely inquisitive minds, and share their results with other scientists in a collaborative manner. Society needs to understand the difference between terrorists and true DIY scientists. The DIY community has the chance to make a huge impact in many fields of science, and accepting these scientists is a huge step in letting the rate of science progression rise to it's real potential.


 BIOVIA Blog Team. "Scientific Collaboration All the Rage at Bio-IT 2016: Utilizing Butt and Digital Solutions - Blog." BIOVIA. 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 08 May 2016. 

 Engel, Oliver. "DIY Bio: The New Era of Biotechnology." SQ Online. 14 May 2014. Web. 08 May 2016.

Kelty, Chris. "Meanings of Participation: Outlaw Biology?" Journal of Science Communication (2010): 1-8. ISSN 1824 – 2049. Web. 08 May 2016.

Triscott, Nicola. "Reunions and Resistance – Critical Art Ensemble." Nicola Triscott: Art, Science, Technology & Society. 04 Oct. 2011. Web. 08 May 2016.

Regine. "DIYsect. A Series about the DIY Biology & Biology-Art Intersection." We Make Money Not Art. 20 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 May 2016.

Uconlineprogram. "5 BioArt Pt4." YouTube. YouTube, 17 May 2012. Web. 08 May 2016. 

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