Within biology, particularly synthetic biology, which aims to engineer organisms from the ground up, we are developing the tools to build and transform organisms. In the process we have transformed humans, creating immortal cell lines of human tissues, in vitro fertilized embryos, and transgenic organisms that bear human genes. With the resurgence of epigenetics, our environments, what we eat and chemicals that we are exposed to, are being found to influence our reproductive, neurological and immunological development. How are these transformations changing the relationships between ourselves and other life-forms, and transforming our lived experiences of our bodies and environments? How have artists and designers participated in these changes? How might that participation be enriched to develop a critical dialog between arts and sciences? To begin answering this question, this course develops an experimental laboratory for artists and designers, a laboratory in which the biological sciences are themselves the subject of study.
In addition to studying history and theory of biological sciences, students in the course will be
learning the basics of genetic engineering and laboratory manipulation of DNA, as well as working with bioluminescence organisms, and developing tools for hyper-spectral imaging.