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Synthetic Aesthetics:Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2014
Author(s): Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg; Jane Calvert; Pablo Schyfter; Alistair Elfick; Drew Endy
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: Bioengineering ;  Components, Circuits, Devices & Systems ;  Computing & Processing ;  Signal Processing & Analysis
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Abstract

Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field.

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      Front Matter

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half Title, Title, Copyright, Contents, Acknowledgments, Introduction: How Would You Design Nature? View full abstract»

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      Designs on Nature

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field. View full abstract»

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      Synthetic Biology: What It Is and Why It Matters

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: A History of Material Appropriation, How Do You Make Biology Engineerable?, What's New? What's the Big Deal?, But How Might Biology Change Engineering?, (Raised) Expectations View full abstract»

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      Countering the Engineering Mindset: The Conflict of Art and Synthetic Biology

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Historical Reflections, Cultural Reflections, The Engineering Mindset, A Case Study, Conclusion View full abstract»

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      Design as the Machines Come to Life

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Experiments, Artifacts, and the Design Perspective, From Nature to Design, The Redesign of Life, New Designs on Biology, Machines for Living and Living Machines View full abstract»

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      Nature versus Design

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field. View full abstract»

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      Nature Is Designed

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field. View full abstract»

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      There Is No Design in Nature

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Does Nature Care?, Synthetic Biology and Design, Synthetic Biology and Values, The Challenge View full abstract»

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      Design Evolution

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Good Design of New Archetypes, Leases of Life and Death Dating, Life Cycles Not Life Spans, Feeding the Machines, Living Interfaces, Owning Life, Designing Symbiosis, Thinking through Things: The Synthetic Aesthetics Residencies View full abstract»

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      Synthetic Aesthetics

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field. View full abstract»

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      Bio Logic

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Xylem Exoskeletons as a Tool for Biodesign, Bacterial Biofilm Patterns as a Tool for Biofabrication, Research Directions and Educational Models View full abstract»

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      Scale and Metaphor

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Marrying Architecture and Biology, “Biocomputing” and the “Logic of Biology”, Scale and Metaphor View full abstract»

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      Living among Living Things

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Jumping in at the Deep End, Creating Life/Giving Rise to New Ideas, Future Concepts, Personal Microbial Culture, Packaging That Creates Its Contents, Design's Cultural Influence, Creativity in Science, Insights on Science and Design, Collaborative Commitments View full abstract»

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      Constrained Creativity: An Engineer's Perspective

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Capturing Creativity, Failing Confidently View full abstract»

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      The Biogenic Timestamp: Exploring the Rearrangement of Matter through Synthetic Biology and Art

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field. View full abstract»

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      Time as Critique

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Art and Critique, Art and Design View full abstract»

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      Synthetic Sound from Synthetic Biology

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Orbiting DNA Code with a Gear Shift, DNA Rooms View full abstract»

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      Abstraction and Representation

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Representation and Scientific Business-as-Usual, Sonification, Representation, Abstraction, and Design, Loss and Withdrawal View full abstract»

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      Living Machines

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Animal, Mechanism, Machine, Bridging the Concepts of Life and Machine, Contemporary Synthetic Biology, Designing with Darwin, A Truer Feedback Loop View full abstract»

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      Evolution or Design?

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Synthetic Biology and Evolution, Evolution and Design View full abstract»

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      The Inside-Out Body

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field. View full abstract»

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      Transgressing Biological Boundaries

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: You Are What You Eat, The Barriers between Biology and Us, Growing a Biological Future View full abstract»

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      Epilogue: Reflections on Synthetic Aesthetics

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The Nature of Biology, Design and Values: Making Synthetic Biology “Better”, Occupying the Future: How to Inhabit the Spaces of Promise?, How to Classify the Project?, What Have We Produced? View full abstract»

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      Notes

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Epilogue View full abstract»

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      About the Authors

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Synthetic Aesthetics Team, Contributors View full abstract»

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      Source Notes

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18 View full abstract»

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      Index

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Synthetic biology manipulates the stuff of life. For synthetic biologists, living matter is programmable material. In search of carbon-neutral fuels, sustainable manufacturing techniques, and innovative drugs, these researchers aim to redesign existing organisms and even construct completely novel biological entities. Some synthetic biologists see themselves as designers, inventing new products and applications. But if biology is viewed as a malleable, engineerable, designable medium, what is the role of design and how will its values apply?In this book, synthetic biologists, artists, designers, and social scientists investigate synthetic biology and design. After chapters that introduce the science and set the terms of the discussion, the book follows six boundary-crossing collaborations between artists and designers and synthetic biologists from around the world, helping us understand what it might mean to 'design nature.' These collaborations have resulted in biological computers that calculate form; speculative packaging that builds its own contents; algae that feeds on circuit boards; and a sampling of human cheeses. They raise intriguing questions about the scientific process, the delegation of creativity, our relationship to designed matter, and, the importance of critical engagement. Should these projects be considered art, design, synthetic biology, or something else altogether?Synthetic biology is driven by its potential; some of these projects are fictions, beyond the current capabilities of the technology. Yet even as fictions, they help illuminate, question, and even shape the future of the field. View full abstract»