Merry CRISPR workshop
posted by Erich Berger on 13 October 2017

Call for participants - Merry CRISPR – artistic investigations into CRISPR/Cas9

Merry CRISPR is a workshop produced by the Bioartsociety in collaboration with Biofilia laboratory - Aalto University, and supported by Aalto Univeristy, MA in Ecology and Contemporary Performance and Time and Space Arts (both University of the Arts Helsinki) and TAIKE.

The workshop takes place 11th – 15th of December at the Biofilia laboratory on the Aalto University Campus in Otaniemi/Espoo/Finland.

The participation is free of charge. Participants have to fund their own travel and accommodation but we are happy to provide an invitation letter for funding application purpose.

If you would like to participate in the workshop, please send a brief statement of motivation with a short CV until 31st of October.

refers to a range of novel gene editing systems which can be programmed to edit DNA at precise locations. It allows the permanent modification of the genes in cells of living organisms. CRISPR enables novel basic research and promises a wide range of possible applications from biomedicine and agriculture to environmental challenges. The previously unknown precision and simplicity of CRISPR and its possibilities has led to a wide diversity of reactions. While some welcome it as a gene editing revolution others urge for a worldwide moratorium, especially when it comes to human germline modifications. Particularly controversial is the CRISPR given possibility to intervene in the evolution of organisms.

For Merry CRISPR we are looking for practitioners from a diversity of backgrounds such as artists, designers, engineers, scientists (natural and humanities) etc. - if you think this is for you, then you should apply! The workshop activities will shift between hands on laboratory sessions, lectures, interventions, field trips, presentations and round tables for the wider public. We will investigate and work with CRISPR, look into its materiality and artistic possibilities, and discuss and explore socio-cultural, political and ethical implications within our transdisciplinary group.

Artist Marta de Menezes with the support of Biofilia laboratory manager Marika Hellman, invited guests from art, natural science and the humanities as well as workshop participants.

Marta de Menezes is a Portuguese artist (b. Lisbon, 1975) with a degree in Fine Arts by the University in Lisbon, and a MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture by the University of Oxford. She has been exploring the interaction between Art and Biology, working in research laboratories demonstrating that new biological technologies, DNA, proteins and live organisms can be used as an art medium. Her work has been presented internationally in exhibitions, articles and lectures. She is since 2005 artistic director of Ectopia – Experimental Art Laboratory and from 2009 director of Cultivamos Cultura – Association.

During the workshop week we will also hold two public events, on Tuesday 12th December a round-table about de-extinction with the book presentation of "Rise of the Necrofauna" by Britt Wray  and on Thursday 14th December a presentation by artist Marta de Menezes about her work within biological art.