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dusjagr’s LatamTrip 2024 – DIY Ciencias, Artes y Suelos Electrónicas

From end of April until 12 of June 2024, Marc Dusseiller aka dusjagr had the opportunity for a research and networking trip to various places in South America, Buenos Aires and Mendoza in Argentina, Montevideo in Uruguay and Santiaga and Valdivia in Chile. The connections to local initiatives have been built on earlier collaborations in the GOSH community, various people with shared interests in building DIY instruments for environmental monitoring and promotion of Open Science Hardware, connected through the GOSH forum and the Hackteria Network.

Making Open Science Hardware (kinda) ubiquitous in Latin America

Visits to agroecelogical cooperatives in Mendoza province with nano

Supported through a research grant by Pro Helvetia South America, I finally had the opportunity to see the environments and local networks my long-term collaborators, such as “nano” Castro (reGOSH) and Fernan Federici, have been working in, DIY soil experiments in agroecological cooperatives and Open Science from synthetic biology to civic laboratories in biomaterials. To extend beyond into new local networks, my focus was on finding more practionioners working with DIY workshop methodologies, bioart, art&science in general, sound and synth making communities, and open to surprise encounters. And I can say that I had great opportunities and a lot of help from many locals to connect me to amazing people with similar interests in art & technology, biomaterials, DIY electronics and more, which lead to various collaborative activities, hosting meetings, workshops, talks, discussions rounds and asados. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!! See full documentation on the wiki and follow some of my posts on instagram.

Impressions from the last days with the “Porteños” in Buenos Aires. San Telmo streetlife, UNTREF meeting, parilla and milanesa napolitana, visit to FabLab UNSAM and choripan

Why Do We Gather?

Due to my involvments as a co-organizer of collaborative reasearch and production events, such the HackteriaLab series or the Gathering for Open Science Hardware, I have followed up a long term nagging questions from my belly framed as “Why Do We Gather?”, a kind of personal research theme to investigate with the encounters I had on this trip. Thanks to Laura Olalde, we managed to co-organize a small discursive event to explore this questions in a focused group discussion with additional online contributions. See more about “Empanadas & Fondue – Why Do We Gather, Buenos Aires” on the dedicated wiki page.

Empanadas and Fondue following several hours of reflection on “Why Do We Gather?”

Electro-Fishing in Uruguay

Another highlight was definately my “first” opportunity to go Electro-Fishing-in-the-Wild with Marita in Urugay! After many years of my own research into Fish-Hacking, working with weakly electrico-active fish, inspired by the artwork “ENKI” by Antony Hall, the black ghost knife fish (Apteronotus albifrons), usually bought from an aquarium store in Yogya or Zurich, I finally got out into the wild to detect, sonify and catch them in their native ecosystems. The local species is called Gymnotus omarorum and has been intensively studied by Marita and her colleagues at IIBCE during their research since the 90ies as a model for animal neuroscience and sensor developmental biology. Weakly electric fish use an electric organ and receptors distributed over the length of their body in order to locate prey and sense/navigate their environment.

Electro-fishing in the Wild with Marita in Uruguay. Thankx!

Germline hacks and CRISPR BAbyss in Moderno

Thanks to Ariel from Pro Helvetia in Buenos Aires, I got connected to Heidi Jalkh, a leading design resercher on biomaterials and founder of Sistemas Materiales. Together with Heidi and Rodrigo Iglesias we kicked of a workshop and discussion “BAbyss in Moderno”, hosted at Museo Moderno Buenos Aires, in the framework of my ongoing project thGAP, a collaboration with Adam Zaretsky, to explore artistic interventions into the genetially modified germline aka making CRISPR Babies.

Anonymous quote: “Genetically modifying the human germline with novel and creative genomic alterations is more aesthetically nuanced in an orthogonal to the contemporary sense than your average clinical CRISPR baby or normative design applique.”

“*ℂ⟦ℝꗲ𝕌⟦𝕋⌾ 𓉙ℝ⩓𝔽⟦ℂ⌾*” Workshop

During a late night asado and beers in Buenos Aires I also encountered the electronic artist and DIY enthusiast Nico Restbergs, founder of Fabrica Marciana and teacher in the master program for electonics arts at UNTREF (Maestría en Tecnología y Estética de las Artes Electrónicas). It’s always such a nice experience to see how an Open Source project, such as the 8bit Mixtape and the DIY-CAD method travels through cyberspace (or github repositories) and is being picked up be other people locally to be reproduced, redesigned and implemented as workshops and DIY synthesizers on the other side of the planet. So we kicked off an amazing workshop using our shared skills and enthusiasm in drawing PCBs (printed circuit boards) to make (chemically etch) custom boards and solder electronic circuits with a group of 15 participants to co-create our own ByteBeat synthesizers.

𝐸𝑛 𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑒 𝑊𝑜𝑟𝑘𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑝 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑙𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑜𝑠 𝑙𝑎 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑜́𝑛 𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑒 𝑙𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑔𝑟𝑎́𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑠, 𝑒𝑙 𝑑𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑗𝑜, 𝑒𝑙 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑒𝑛̃𝑜 𝑑𝑒 𝑐𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑜𝑠 𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑟𝑜́𝑛𝑖𝑐𝑜𝑠 𝑦 𝑙𝑜𝑠 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑖𝑝𝑖𝑜𝑠 𝑑𝑒𝑙 ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑏𝑖𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑜. 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑖𝑚𝑜𝑠 𝑢𝑛 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑑𝑜𝑟 𝑑𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑖𝑑𝑜𝑠 𝑑𝑒 8 𝑏𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑎, 𝑏𝑎𝑠𝑎𝑑𝑜 𝑒𝑛 𝑒𝑙 𝑚𝑖𝑐𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑙𝑎𝑑𝑜𝑟 𝐴𝑡𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑦85 𝑦 𝑒𝑙 𝑏𝑜𝑜𝑡𝑙𝑜𝑎𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑇𝑖𝑛𝑦𝐴𝑢𝑑𝑖𝑜𝐵𝑜𝑜𝑡

Santiago Boys and Bacterial Cellulose

During my visit to Chile I was connected through Fernan Federici (organizer and host of GOSH 2017 in Santiago) to various local initiatives in biomaterials, artists and designers working on “growing stuff” using fungal mycelium or cellulose producing bacteria. While himself a research scientist at iBio Millennium Institute, at the Catholic University, he has always been a strong promoter of Open Science and Free Technologies, transdisciplinary collaborator with artist and designers, and nature-loving mountaineer working with biodiversity activists and nature preservation organisations. Support their upcoming crowd funding campain here!

Completos in Santiago and workshop / talk at UC Chile, sharing of t-shirts on “Make”….”NOT”… and other encounters with local artists
Visiting ⓁⒶⒷⓋⒶ
Laboratorio de Biomateriales, Biofabricación y Buen Vivir de Valdivia

I spent an amazing weekend in Valdivia being hosted by the super friendly and inspiring people from LABVA, Maria José and Alejandro, who have initiated a civic independant laboratory and community for biofabrication, and… if we look back at my earlier visit to Chile back in 2017, it might be they continued to grow that very culture of cellulose producing bacteria aka kombucha mother that I travelled with from Germany/Switzerland through Indonesia, Japan, China, Taiwan and ended up in Santiago!

Updated map of the migration of a Kombucha culture travelling with dusjagr since 2016 and continued cultivation in Taiwan by Keting Chen and seemingly also in Chile through various local biomaterial geeks and initiatives.

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