On June 13th, Marc Dusseiller, one of the founders of hackteria.org, and his guests introduced the Swiss public to bioart and biohacking. The audience was unfortunately tiny, underlining how the biohacker movement is still only just getting its foot in the door in most parts of the world.
Biohacking might, however, finally gather momentum in Switzerland, as pioneers and established names of the movement made their way to Schaffhausen and will speak again at the Corner College in Zurich on June 16th.
Marc Dusseiller gave a broad overview of biohacking, this undefined hybrid of nature, science and art/design. He confirmed that the interests of us biohackers are vast and varied. Generally, the goals range from simply generating awareness all the way to fabricating complex materials and structures with the help of synthetic biology. An important aim, amongst the many, is to make science accessible to everyone. The previous day, for example, Dusseiller taught a bunch of youngsters how to build a digital microscope using a webcam and some foam board. The previous week a Water Hackathon at the EPFL Lausanne was concerned with DYI and open-source hardware to monitor water pollution.
Erich Berger of the Finnish Society of Bioart introduced their projects – in particular Ars Bioarctica, an art and science initiative with focus on the Arctic environment.
Wawies Wisdantio Vishnu of Lifepatch introduced their photography project in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Amongst other things they hacked a 360 degree panoramic tripod head as well as tools to examine water quality in Yogyakarta’s main river.
Art historian Boris Magrini shed light on bioart from an art historical, societal and critical point of view.
The presentations were followed by a panel discussion with further panelists such as sound artist Pei-Wen Liu, Nur Akbar Arofatullah, who amongst other things is involved in biodesign for the real world, and Yashas Shetty, another co-founder of Hackteria.