Nomadic Science BioHackLab

Attractor: Marc R. Dusseiller

DIYbio and Open Biology tribute to Renaissance alchemists, makers, artisans, and tinkerers of Prague

We want to revive the creative science experimentations mixed with craft tradition, rich religious and mythological iconography, but also arts, which enabled the unique global exchanges in the 17.century Europe and gave rise to modern science. We want to return to these origins to develop our project of a nomadic science, which does not settle and identify with one institution nor one discipline and goal. It operates under the hackerspace paradigm, as a Renaissance utopian artisan network with their particular style of circulation and exchange of information (see Vera Keller, a historian of science). The Hackteria network revived this tradition of learned friendships and exchanges and introduced the forgotten format of “album amicorum”, book of friends, by members traveling and gathering personal texts and illustrations from colleagues and exchanging “wishlists” (desiderata) on various eccentric projects.
Present day tinkerers, disciplinary wanderers and artisans are invited to Prague to enjoy the “folly of empirics” and join us for a week of celebration of “maker’s knowledge”, eccentric science and inventions. While open biology and DIYbio often identify with attempts to democratize science and create open source, cheaper equipment and protocols, we want to open science to new, imaginative uses and collaborations, which support utopian and eccentric projects. Nomadic science is the opposite of institutionalized science. It supports lab “pastoralism” and moving from one location to the next in order to create autonomous zones for science tinkering and exchanges, which never settle for one goal or model of research and refuses progressivism in favor of radical openness and even knowledge anarchism.
In Prague we plan to commence a “lab archeology” by connecting old and new lab equipment, spaces, and protocols, and defining desiderata of nomadic science. Rather than creating more efficient and cheap DIYbio equipment, we want to design more creative and imaginative, even imaginary equipment, and embrace the aesthetic possibilities of hacking and anarchistic marking. We want to develop further the idea of “media is the message” into “lab equipment is the science” approach. Instead of 3D printers and plastic we want to rehabilitate glass as the material of choice for open biology and democratize more materials for creative appropriations of science. We want to translate science protocols into artistic and alchemist iconography, read these new protocols against old texts, combine practices and equipment, rethink some new uses of old distillation and fermentation apparati, translate and compare on this material level the various practices and ideas. While science supports institutional knowledge with well-defined methodology, theory, and labor division, we want to revive alchemy as a space of improvisation and tinkering, which gave rise to plural ideas of political, economic and philosophic reform. The Senecan commonplace, “There was never a great talent (ingenium) without some mixture of madness” (Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit), in the motto for nomadic science as a utopian project of plural science & society interactions.

Biography: Marc R. Dusseiller is a transdisciplinary scholar, lecturer for micro- and nanotechnology, cultural facilitator and artist. He works in an integral way to combine science, art and education. He performs DIY (do-it-yourself), or better to say DIWO (do-it-with-others)-workshops in lo-fi electronics, hardware hacking, microscopy, music and robotics. He has made various short movies and installations. Currently he is developing means to perform biological science (Hackteria | Open Source Biological Art) in a DIY fashion in your kitchen or your atelier. He is also co-organizing Dock18, Room for Mediacultures, and various other national and international engagments like the diy* festival (Zürich, Switzerland), KIBLIX 2011 (Maribor, Slovenia), workshops for both artists, schools and children as the president of the Swiss Mechatronic Art Society, SGMK.