Synthetic Aesthetics featured on Wallpaper's Site

Top tomes: 10 new books to flick through this month – 13/05/2014

Far from an ivory tower text, Synthetic Aesthetics is a true collaboration between scientists, designers and thinkers who cross borders and disciplines to test the limits of biology in the digital world.


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Synthetic Aesthetics on I, Science

Review by Tom Bragg – 13/05/2014

"This is a collaboration between designers and synthetic biologists intended to move both disciplines forward together."

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Daisy Ginsberg Featured on Disegno Daily

Daisy talks about the problem with design fictions – 13/05/2014

"The train coming towards you isn’t actually going to hit you in the face," says designer Alexandra Ginsberg. "We know it's a fiction."

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Article on The Conversation

by Alistair Elfick – 13/05/2014

"If synthetic biologists think like scientists, they may miss their eureka moment."

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Dezeen Competition

Competition to win a copy of Synthetic Aesthetics – 13/05/2014

Dezeen has teamed up with publishers MIT Press to offer readers the chance to win one of five copies of Synthetic Aesthetics. 


Competition > 

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Culture Shock

Christina Agapakis featured in Wired Magazine – 01/05/2014

June 2014 issue

Wired site

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Drew Endy on the Today Programme

BBC Radio 4 – 01/05/2014

Drew talks about Synthetic Aesthetics and synthetic biology - discussing how living matter can be seen as a programmable matter for manufacturing. 

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Synthetic Biology Gets Reborn as an Aesthetic Dream

New Scientist review by Alun Anderson – 01/05/2014

Magazine issue 2966. 


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Engineering Studies

Special Issue – Schyfter, S, Frow, C and Calvert, J (guest editors) – 17/04/2014

Schyfter, S, Frow, C and Calvert, J (guest editors) special issue of Engineering Studies ‘Synthetic biology’ 5 (1), March 2013

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David Benjamin wins MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program 2014

Dezeen article – 10/04/2014

New York studio The Living has won this year's MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program competition with plans to cultivate bio-bricks from corn stalks and mushrooms, and use them to build a tower in the courtyard of the New York gallery.


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Grow Your Own

where scientists and artists are shaking up creation – 10/04/2014

From armpit brie to banana flavoured E.coli, artists and bio-hackers have teamed up to push the frontiers of 'synthetic biology' in a new exhibition.


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Synthetic Aesthetics Review

by John Turney for The Times Higher Education – 09/04/2014

Jon Turney on the possibilities, real and imagined, of engineering the building blocks of life.


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The Book

– 08/04/2014

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...

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Interdisciplinarity: Artistic merit

By Virginia Gewin, Nature, April 2013 – 25/04/2013

"Options abound for scientists who want to get in touch with their inner artist, whether professionally or as a hobby.

Christina Agapakis thought that her interest in art would always be separate from her pursuit of science, especially once she had decided to do postgraduate studies in biology....

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The Creationists

By Vicky Allan, The Arts Journal, June 2012 – 19/09/2012

"With huge advances in synthetic biology, the creation of life in a lab, once the preserve of sci-fi novels, is looking more and more like a reality. As bioengineers grapple with the science in Edinburgh, they have teamed up with a group of artists to explore the creative possibilities – and pitfalls – of this brave new world."...

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The Sounds of Science

by Roberta Kwok, Stanford Magazine – 01/02/2012

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"Recently, Chafe's interests have turned to the microscopic world of cells and DNA. As part of Synthetic Aesthetics, a program co-led by assistant professor of bioengineering Drew Endy, Chafe was paired with Mariana Leguia,...

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States of Design 07: Bio-design

by Paola Antonelli, edited by Francesca Picchi, Domus Magazine – 21/11/2011

Technological biology?: Things and kinds in synthetic biology

by Pablo Schyfter, Biology & Philosophy, 27(1), 29-48 – 03/11/2011

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Abstract: Social scientific and humanistic research on synthetic biology has focused quite narrowly on questions of epistemology and ELSI. I suggest that to understand this discipline in its full scope, researchers must turn to the objects of...

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Drop That Pipette: Science By Design

by Rachel Bernstein, Cell 147 – 29/10/2011

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"An unexpected collaboration between a synthetic biology lab at UCSF and a Palo Alto-based design firm is stirring up the way that research is conceived and conducted, by integrating...

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Diversity By Design

by Christina Agapakis, Scientific American – 29/10/2011

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"The recent Nature paper from...

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The Changing Nature of Things

by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, PopTech talk – 22/10/2011

Watch Design Fellow Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg's talk on "The Changing Nature of Things" at the Poptech! conference in October 2011, calling for a new way to think about design in a biotechnology revolution. Video here

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Training Bacteria To Grow Consumer Goods

by Christopher Mims, Fast Company – 04/10/2011

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"Thinkers at IDEO are working with scientists to find a way to have E. coli bacteria form objects--like a coffee cup--when exposed to light. It's nature's version of...

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Genetic Green Thumbs: Growing Plants Engineered For Their Field

by Christopher Mims, Fast Company – 03/10/2011

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"Farmers of the future may be able to use plants as sensors that encode information about their environmental conditions in their own DNA. Then...

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Growth Spurt

by William Myers, The Architect's Newspaper – 22/09/2011

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As building technology races ahead, science propels it to help meet new and ever-changing standards. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the breakneck tempo of progress was fueled largely by physics and chemistry, delivering a host of...

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Visions of Synthetic Biology

by Sara Reardon, Science – 02/09/2011

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A growing number of artists are attracted to synthetic biology as a technique and also because of the interesting ethical questions it raises. Many of these artists work directly with research scientists. Their creations add a cultural...

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Standing reserves of function: A Heideggerian reading of synthetic biology

by Pablo Schyfter, Philosophy & Technology – 23/08/2011

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Synthetic biology, an emerging field of science and technology, intends to make of the natural world a substrate for engineering practice. Drawing inspiration from conventional engineering disciplines, practitioners of synthetic biology hope to...

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How Would You Design Nature?

by Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, TEDglobal 2011 – 15/07/2011

Bacterial Culture

by Zoe Cormier, Toronto Standard – 19/05/2011

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"Using everything from briefcases full of rainbow-coloured excrement to DIY genetic modification kits, cutting-edge artists are revolutionizing the way we look at science."...

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Point of View: David Benjamin

by William Myers, – 14/04/2011

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"Pioneering architect and teacher David Benjamin tinkers at the crossroads of design and biology, exploring the possibilities of both mimicking and literally harnessing life to...

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Spiel mit Genen und Genesis

by Kai Kupferschmidt, Der Tagesspiegel – 08/03/2011

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Auch Künstler entdecken die synthetische Biologie – und entwerfen das Design von morgen. Was früher Holz, Metall, Kunststoff oder die Videokunst waren, das könnte morgen das Leben selbst sein.


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On Biotechnology Without Borders

By Drew Endy – 08/03/2011

Biologists have become engineers of the living world. By making their bioengineered solutions to global problems openly available, we can transform the developing world.

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The Irrational Genome Design Contest

By Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Thresholds, MIT Department of Architecture – 01/01/2011

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“A myth is a lie that tells the truth,” says Arshia Sattar, Sanskrit scholar and expert on Indian mythology to a group of teenage art and design students from Bangalore entering iGEM, MIT’s annual International Genetically Engineered Machine...

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Illusions of Control

by Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr, Thresholds, MIT Department of Architecture – 01/01/2011

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"The concept of the single engineering paradigm indicates a future in which the control of matter and life would be achieved by applying engineering principals; through nanotechnology, synthetic biology and, as some suggest, cognitive- and...

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Beyond the Beyond

by Bruce Sterling, – 28/10/2010


"Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think Holland can get any cooler and more out-there than a ’synthetic aesthetics salon.” It can get grungier, like if you’re hanging out at GOGBOT, but it...

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Synthetic Aesthetics, exploring the territory between art, design and synthetic biology

by Regine Debatty, We Make Money Not Art – 15/03/2010

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Interview with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Regine: "...Synthetic biology is a bit of a daunting area of research. It seems to be highly technical and almost too abstract. How much background in...

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Synthetic Biology
Hosted by OpenWetWare, a good starting point. 

Wiki site to promote the sharing of information among researchers working in biology & biological engineering.

BioBricks Foundation
A not-for-profit organization founded by engineers and scientists from MIT, Harvard, and UCSF. BBF encourages the development and responsible use of technologies based on BioBrick™ standard DNA parts.

International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition, the undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition.

The Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center is a multi-institution research effort: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, UC Berkely, UCSF.

Ars Synthetica
Human practices research into ethics and synthetic biology.

The world's first biological design-build facility.

Synthetic Biology Standards Network
An interdisciplinary network for UK academics working in synthetic biology, primarily concerned with issues relating to standards and characterisation.
Synthetic Biology resources from Cambridge University.

Centre for Synthetic Biology
Imperial College, London.

Royal Society
Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology Gateway, Journal of the Royal Society.

Synbio Project
Research project that aims to foster informed public and policy discourse concerning the advancement of synthetic biology, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The Hastings Center
US-based bioethics think tank researching philosophy and ethics of synthetic biology.

J.Craig Venter Insitutute synbio policy research
Synthetic Genomics: Options for Governance, research funded by the Sloan Foundation.

Bristol research into medical aspects of synbio, part of a European-wide research initiative. Synthetic Components Network.

Community for citizen biology.
Synbio commentator Rob Carlson's blog.

Design/Art and Science

A collaboration between designers Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg 
James King and the 2009 winning Cambridge University iGem team. 
Read a student's perspective and a designer's perspective.

A web resource for projects that involve DIY bioart, open source software and electronic experimentation.

ArtScience Bangalore
iGEM 2009 team from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, India worked with National Centre for Biological Sciences to design a bacteria that produces the  smell of rain.

The art and science collaborative laboratory at the University of Western Australia.

Tissue Culture & Arts Project
Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr famously grew and ate the first victimless steak.

Art|Sci Center, UCLA
Collaborations between (media) arts and (bio/nano) sciences.

Design and the Elastic Mind
2008 exhibition at Museum of Modern Art, NYC, highlighted "examples of successful translation of disruptive innovation, examples based on ongoing research, as well as reflections on the future responsibilities of design."

What If...? 
Exhibition of speculative design work at the Science Gallery, Dublin, 2009.

EPSRC project linking 15 research groups with designers from Design Interactions, Royal College of Art. Exhibition: March 2010, RCA London.

A design and science collaborative project, designing rings with bioengineered bone tissue.

Research project into film and synbio, including BioFiction, a science, art and film festival in 2011, from the  SynBioSafe research project team.

Arts Catalyst
UK-based, the Arts Catalyst commissions contemporary art that experimentally and critically engages with science. 

NOBELlini: Blind Data
30 young scientists paired with 30 design students to create design products that communicate science. A follow-on from NOBEL textiles, where 5 Nobel Prize-winning scientists worked with textile designers.

Plastic Futures
Blog from SymbioticA/RMIT Biotech and Art workshop, Melbourne, 2009.

Future jobs - So what might you be doing?
According to the UK government...

Further Reading

Biology is Technology - Rob Carlson 
Design Noir - Anthony Dunne