Difference between revisions of "DesignWorkshop2011"

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A paper on Atomic Energy in India
'''A paper on Atomic Energy in India'''
'''Paper on soil thermal properties in Kalpakkam in costal south India.'''

Revision as of 13:35, 5 September 2011


This page documents the art/design workshop run by Zack Denfeld and Cathrine Kramer with Yashas Shetty and the ArtScienceBangalore iGEM 2011 team.

iGEM Abstract

Searching for the Ubiquitous Genetically engineered Machine.

The Biobrick has been used as an abstraction or template for creating standardized functional parts. This year's ArtScienceBangalore project proposes alternate re-appropriations of the BioBrick by using existing BioBrick primers as random-PCR primers in investigating soil samples. This random PCR will provide a succinct signature of the biological diversity present in these samples. These investigations of soil lead us to ask questions about citizen’s science "performed" by non-institutional actors using accessible tools as well as gives us a glimpse into the "post-natural world" where BioBricks may end up in our environment and may very well show up as bands in a gel. By imagining a world in which the Biobrick has become the accepted standard for synthetic biology, and where these engineered products are ubiquitous in our lives and environments, the samples we archive will serve as the baseline from which the subsequent extent of human influence can be measured.

Costume & Design Fiction Inspiration

Before we can create we observe and learn. The following is a collection of the material that led us to our project.

When The Future Was Ultramodern

A collection of costumes that explores what future fashion coould be like.

Wsxedc.jpg Qazwsx.jpg Edcrfv.jpg

Click here to view the full article.

Object For lonely Men

Branching from Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (1960) is an assemblage of objects from the film that spoke to the artist.


Click here to view the full article.

Lucy and Bart

Pushing the envelope of fashion. Watch it bend.




Character Design Workshop

      • HOMEWORK***: By Wednesday be ready to present each of the three characters fully sketched out.

Each character needs to have:

- Tools - Costumes - Paragraph about what motivates them - Mood board images - A day in the life of... Map out what a regular day looks like



- Environmental data sensing: Bio prospecters?

  • pharming
  • bioprospecting
  • yellowstone
  • Cabinets of Curiosity


  • Center for Post Natural History
  • naturalism
  • Mark Dion
  • bird watchers
  • ameature scientist

SEE: Amphibian Research at Hartwick College & Ballengee


  • De-industrial designer
  • hyper objects
  • industrial ecology
  • what is pollution?
  • Anthropocene

SEE: Bio-Sampler

Costume & Short Story Workshop

2012 by Biswajith Manimaran

Costume & Short Story Workshop

Put images and short stories here.

2012 by Biswajith Manimaran

Slaves. Again after sixty-five years of independence we were slaves, albeit this time, everyone was a slave. The events that led to this are sundry and interweave in strange ways; most are lost to historians’ blindness. The most notable was the inception of the iGEM competition in 2004: a synthetic biology competition aimed at undergraduate students all over the world. In three years there were a total of fifty-four teams participating, each searching for ways to improve the world. One team (which shall go unnamed lest they be hunted down and stoned to death) worked on engineering bacteria that could detect the presence of heavy metals in water. The project was a partial success but was abandoned when the monetary feasibility of the biosensors came into question. What happened over the next few days is unclear, however, it is safe to say that the remnants of the projects were negligently disposed (almost definitely into a lake or river). The happenings of the next couple of years are even less clear and it this point it is barely safe to theorize. Yet theorize we must. The bacteria, once in an open water body, began to reproduce rapidly – as is a common habit amongst microbes – and continue seeking out heavy metals. Certain radioactive isotopes of Plumbium and other heavy metals are present in almost all our planet’s waters, although in concentrations too small to have an appreciable effect on lifeforms of any kind. The genetically modified microbes gathered these elements and compounds and brought them together until the local concentration of these isotopes had increased by several orders of ten. Of course, it was still not high enough for us humans to take note of. The concentrated radiation and high reproduction rates, along with numerous modes of communication quickly developed a community of microbes around the world. Individually the microbes were nothing, together they were unstoppable. They possessed an intelligence borne of accelerated evolution induced by the radiation. Unlike the intelligence that we are familiar with theirs was non-centralized allowing them to form a global metabeing that was impervious to local retaliation. The worst (sorry to depart from objective nature) part of all this is that there can be no revolution. All life is dependent on these microbes. To destroy them is to destroy all life on Earth. The Mayans were not wrong, just misinterpreted. 2012 did not mark the apocalypse, just the end of the human era. 5 x 10^30 organisms of over a dozen million species all coming together to form one massive supercreature; It was inevitable that we would be enslaved.

2030 by Biswajith Manimaran

In 2010 a certain iGEM team worked on producing microscopic organisms that could target cancer cells and attack them. Their project was unremarkable by itself, however, it laid the foundation for the apocalypse. Several large corporates saw the value in this medical tool. After almost a year of research and experiments there was significant progress. At this point the corporates opted for a collaborative project. Within four months cancer was the least of anybody’s problems. The world average life expectancy shot up to over a century. With the human population already rising exponentially, this medical breakthrough proved disastrous for the Earth’s inhabitants. By 2019 the planet’s natural resources were consumed. Several people attempted to mount exploratory spacecrafts that would seek out planets capable of harbouring life. Without adequate building materials and an abundance of haste every single launch resulted in an explosion soon after. The humans left on Earth ascended into anarchy. By 2025 the only life on Earth were microbes and a few thousand humans organized into cannibalistic clans. By 2030 the last sentient being had died, leaving the Earth an orb of great beauty that no one could appreciate.

Pranav & Durga


City-Of-The-Future1 copy.jpg

A Glimpse Of The Future by Pranav and Durga.




Cat Kramer


Anvita and Manasa

THE FUTURE OF THE BIOBRICK while we are working in the lab today (5th september 2011), a torn diary entry flies in from the future, its from me...

20th September 2023 Pompeii Dear Diary, Its been 12 years since we’ve started our soil collection and bacteria sequencing. My sister and I have traveled a lot. Money being scarce we’ve started selling our little sketches on the way. Now were famous, the traveling sisters. Braces, white scarf, glasses and our little bag. We go around collecting soil samples and putting it up on the portal. Everyone is hooked on today, everyone. It’s the new cool thing. People have said goodbye to facebook and twitter. Its rather funny, who would’ve ever thought that even one third of the world would’ve been even slightly inclined towards scientific drama. Bacteria of various types have started to prove their majority on this planet. Our neighbors, the so-called extra-terrestrials, have been living amongst us. Would we have discovered this if we hadn’t started this bacteria mapping? Sounds cool right? Well about 4 years ago, a high school cheerleader discovered it. Of course she was using our little map, it’s the new baking soda volcano in science projects. One day she took a sample of the muck under her shoe, and voila. She became the first to discover our little friends. They’ve been amongst us for the longest time and we didn’t even know it. How do you think the Egyptians managed to build the massive great pyramids in record time? It was not magic for sure. Well these extra terrestrial bacteria come together in such a way that they form a massive structure, like in cartoons. It is pretty neat. But then last spring, a scientist researching the visitors discovered something crucial. Our friends have been inhibiting our growth while they are developing at a much higher rate. They were planning on a slow destruction where they grow to be better than us and then crush our existence. I won’t lie, just the thought, scares me. It reminds me of a movie I watched years ago about alien abduction. Goosebumps. Is it all part of the master plan I wonder? Another big bang coming our way. Then again it’s just another theory. Like the missing Holy Grail. Who knows? We have facts some true and some untrue. A stereotypical question being thrown your way again, was it a boon or a bane? And now a line of debating will happen. By ignoring what’s happening we will get nowhere. But we humans do not understand that while we waste our time questioning what we are unsure of, if it were true they’re already doing something. Is it time to tighten the belt? YES. We are no colony and this is our land. Maybe one day we come across something that can help us get over this situation. So I say its time to buckle up and do something. NOW. Lets get all those who aren’t part of this yet to be a part of it and lets work together. Time is running out and the only stitch in time would be increasing our knowledge and finding a way to understand the outsiders better or getting to the shortest way, a way to kill them. This is quite stressful and tiring, but I know we will emerge victorious. Because now it’s easier and faster now that we have everyone here with us on the map. Sit down. Log in. Discover. Update. Now the traveling sisters are on a quest to engulf more knowledge and collect more samples in the hope that someday we would be as famous in science as the high school cheerleader. More places to see, new people to befriend and new species to discover.


Sohil Bhatia

Cool scientist.jpg


Report 2028

Soldier : MANIACS 6587ZD aka Rogue

Date and Time of Report : 18 July 2029, 5:30 A.M

Its 2011, a group of well skilled, brilliant young minds have come together to create a new path in technology. They study the brainwork of radioactivity, they learn about its abilities, its repercussions. They test them on the oldest living form – bacteria. The studies were going well, beautifully actually; radiation could be contained AND be used as the main source of energy all over the world. This had the newspapers constantly wanting to grab more details, the governments went crazy. They were independent all having the resources of upholding their countries population. But with power greed grew again, fast flowing, carried by words, by the wind. Now it became a battle of who could buy (or more likely sabotage) the other countries power. It was soon not only a silent squabble between two countries it was an all out war between all of them. No allies and definitely no “Switzerland’s”. Radiation itself was used as a weapon. Each country turning it to another. It was massacre, soon with ease and the mark of the devil on its face, earth was in a post apocalyptic state. The only survivors were the ones that made it to the secured army bases built as defense.

This was the time of complete horror. Even the young teams of inventors were taken aback; the radioactive weapon had caused gene mutation to everything outside the wall of secured bases. Everything was different – deadly, scarier and a whole lot bigger. Nothing looked the same, not the trees, animals the landscape itself had decided to back to Jurassic days. Rations were all they had enough to last them forever. They were prepared, but claustrophobia soon caught hold of their hearts and leaving the war behind they now contacted the closest of the bases, rivalries forgotten they agreed to send out two of their best agents out. To meet at given co-ordinates, their orders were to collect samples as they went from base to base recruiting members. Not only that but collecting samples so that this problem could be solved, resolved or just improved.

This skilled group of soldiers (the MANIACS) were taught and studied for three weeks before their departure. Gifted with nerves of steel, sharp brains and lightning quick reflexes, they set out ore ready tan they could ever be. They carried minimal weaponry because for some unknown reason metal attracted these strange creatures, it was a tough hand to blood battle out there. With an array of knives and bows these warriors were brought down to the level of primitive men. Camouflage fatigues, heavy rubber soled shoes, black t-shirt dog ties, a ring that in case of a dire emergency had to be bitten and would give out a signal, giving the bases their current location and rations in form of pills.

To be updated...

2025 by Prakrithy Pradeep

Location: India

Date: 5th September 2025

Once upon a time (not so long ago that your author wasn’t born then, but long enough for her to have enough excuses for not remembering all the details), there was a competition. It was a forum for students interested in synthetic biology, and “improving the world”.

It was one of these teams (they shall stay unnamed, as this author fears the repercussions of naming them) that came up with a ground-breaking method for production of bio-fuels. Everyone went “Wow!” No one considered the consequences.

The catch in their bio-fuel production technology was that their fungal entity would flourish best in moist tropical and sub-tropical climates. The climate of their area was unsuitable for their fungi. Also, the genetically modified fungi wouldn’t be able to reproduce in their climate, and would perish as their life cycles are greatly reduced by the genetic modification.

That was the downfall, of the developing countries that had the suitable climates. History repeated itself. Colonisation. Forced labour. This time, by the country that had claimed to be “leading the free world”. An institute from the same country is using these colonised areas as experimentation grounds for all their testing – microbial, animal and human.

I stand today on soil that has been polluted, beyond recognition, possibly beyond repair, by the BioBricks, the mutations, that have taken over the world. And I vow. To work from within, alongside a few of my unnamed comrades, to bring them down. To try and give this country back its freedom.

Costume Prakrithy.jpg

Achala Athreya


“How do I see myself 20 years from now? That’s easy. PREGNANT! What do I see myself doing 20 years from now? Making sure the world is safe enough when my child is born.”

She sneezes as the dust fills her nostrils while entering the small shack on 13th cross road. Achala, tall, dark and pregnant, makes her way into the dark passage way to meet her dermatologist. He greets her with a smile. “How many months now dear”? “Seven” she replies, sighing. She passed a bunch of notes across the table, “That’s the rest of it” Counting the notes, the dermatologist opens the door to his shelf and removes a package which he passes to her. “You sure it’ll work?” “Or your money back sweetie” He says smiling. She walks back on to the street looking around for an auto. Nothing in sight. “Damn this shit” she swears. She slowly makes her way the bus stop. Sitting herself on the bench, she opens the package. Inside was a Chinese manual and a yellow coloured tube. A pungent smelled filled the air as she opened it, scrunching her nose she closed it and threw it back in. Tears formed in her swollen eyes as she folded up her jacket sleeve looking at the horrible red scars which were imprinted all over her hands. She closed her eyes and let her mind wander. She remembered her marriage, her partner leaving, her pregnancy test, how the world changed in-between. It seemed like yesterday, how she appreciated a project she came across in a competition. Who knew the bio-brick which broke down Catechol could be the reason of her scarred hands today. As Catechol was used for pesticide’s, The result of the completion led to the downfall of the pesticide industries, Hence the cause of terrible insect bites and scars on the bodies of many. She remembered meeting Jackie over there, from Boston, She was so impressed seeing her project, and her fondness for Jackie was at first sight. She remembered how close they got after the competition, leading to a stupid decision of marrying each other a few years later. Jackie’s involvement towards her team’s project lasted even after all those years. Achala remembered how she was persistent of finding a sperm donor for their baby, but Jackie was half hearted about it, and finally when a donor was found, and the all the processes was done, and Achala was successfully pregnant and happy, Jackie left her to go back to Boston. The year was 2025 and biofuel’s were at its peak. But no one understood what it was doing to the economy, due to the chemical break down of algae, not only was the process not completed properly, but the expenses carried out were taken from extra tax payment. Jackie sincerity towards her work couldn’t be done in India; hence she left to Boston to finish out what she started. The honking of the bus startled her out of her day dream; she climbed the bus and made her way to Yelahanka. On Entering the Srishti campus, she looked around for her class of 2014 batch mate’s; she walked out to the long pavement towards the main road. Not surprised to find the entire lot sitting on the side walk in-front the Kadei, she went and sat beside them. They all stubbed their cigarettes on her arrival, she smiled. Due to Jackie’s constant experiments with the chlorophyll of the plants within house, Achala faced a lot of breathing problems. She looked at all of them, Madhul, Manasa, Prakrithy, Akshaya, Sohil, Durga, Pranav, Bisu, Anvita and Damayanti. She felt her spirits rise, because she was happy that there were people with her to fight the insanity that was going on. She tied the laces of her laces, and looked up, Clutching her necklace charm which was in the shape of a map she asked “ready to leave”?. They all smiled and got up. Their toolkits hanging on their sides. They made their way in search of more bio-bricks.

Brainstorm of Soil Mapping

  • Urban Bacterial Theater

  • Desire Line Drawing
    • Capture the paths of people on a park using Stop Motion
    • Sample along those paths

  • Hospital Waste Samples
    • Human Parts thrown out back?
    • Nurse Costume

  • Family History

  • Super Hero
    • Saving the Day
    • Radiation / Mutation i.e. Spiderman, Incredible Hulk

  • Disaster Mapping
    • Fukishima, Chernobyl, Bhopal etc...
    • E-Waste Sites

  • "Space Dusters" / Space Crashers = Mediorite Landing

  • Retracing a walk
    • Recursion / Remembering
    • Gandhi Sea March
    • Silk Road
    • Ghengis Kahn

  • Topography / BioTrekking

  • Farmer / Drought / IR Mapping

  • Costume = Bullet Belt

  • Blood Soil
    • Conflict Areas / Borders
    • Israel / Palestine
    • Kashmir
    • Tropic of Cancer - Bhuj

  • Tea Plantation
    • Basket Costume for Collecting samples
    • Terroir

  • Ant Hills / Termite Mounds
    • Costume = A Bacteria Zoologist / Arcehologist

  • Paranormal Activity
    • Soil Ghost Hunters

  • Soul in the Soil
    • Graveyard / Tower of Silence

  • Sending Soil on a Journey
    • Put a potted plant on a train and take samples at each end

  • Soil Sadu
    • Ask for soil samples instead of alms
    • Wiseman / karma

  • Culture Soil
    • Compare different cultures / paint clothes

  • National PCR
    • Compare national data (GDP, GINI) with PCR data

  • Sunrise Sampling
    • Grab samples as the sun comes up across the world

  • Airplane dust
    • Collect samples on the plane

  • Sea beds
    • Since it is no ones land. International waters

  • Oil Refinery / Shipping Ports
    • Look for oil contamination / Map the flow of energy

  • Shadows & Soils
    • Micro-climates on ONE site based on where sun hits or doesn't

  • Tracing the path of Ganga

  • Zoology of the Future
    • Junkyard is separated out by object - sample each site

  • Old vs New
    • Old vs. New Airport in BLR
    • Oldest Building in BLR and site that is being built on now
    • Schools vs. Old Age Homes

  • Royal Soil Difference between "holy" soil & normal soil

  • Neighborhood Soil

  • Cultural Soils

  • Walking / Imagery of Feet

  • Defense Areas / BSF DRDO Air Force

  • Lake / Garbage Disposal

  • Evolution
    • Mapping the evolution of borders/city limits
    • Soil samples along different border

  • Trace a day
    • Follow a cow/street dog/goat across the city, and take soil samples along the path say, every 30 mins.
    • Follow people from "contrasting" walks of life

  • Deadly Differences
    • Samples from different types'/societies'/religions' burial grounds/crematoriums

  • Soil "Classes"
    • Soils from different classes of places
    • "Holy", Royal, "Dirty", Common, etc

  • Life Soil
    • Trace all locations in a persons life
    • Birth, Education, Settlement, Entertainment, Employment, Retirement, Health, Death, Graveyard, Paranormal activity

Final Four

  • Soil Journeys
    • Take a journey, pick soil samples along the way.
    • Inspiration: Gandhi's Dandi March
    • Aim: Question who, how and why science is done. Question the accessibility of the information they find.
    • March to a science institute, give them the samples collected along the way to them.
    • Demand to be allowed to use the machines. We are funding those with the tax money.

  • Site Specific
    • Urban Theatre:
      • Concert as a space
      • Divided into a grid
      • 1000 samples - 33 samples per square
      • Witvideo and GPS tracking, we can compare differences in soil to what was happening there.
    • Terroir:
      • Soil samples from tea estates in Kerala
      • Done on terrace like steps on hills
      • Costume : Saree, Tea-leaf Basket, Belt holding empty Eppendorf tubes

  • Disatser
    • Mapping disasters on local and global scale
    • Take a similar disaster on both scales.
    • Track its impact on the soil by taking samples in a radial manner surronding the disaster site

  • Life Story:
    • Make a fictional character
    • Samples from his life, or incorporated into his profession.
    • The character, his story might be fictional (say a soil microbiologist from India, whose personal life greatly influenced his professional life).


Persp03 Page 07.jpg

A paper on Atomic Energy in India www.dae.gov.in/publ/persp/persp03/persp03.pdf

Paper on soil thermal properties in Kalpakkam in costal south India.



I’m working as a field biologist, collecting soil samples, for the past five years in remote areas such as agricultural villages, pre-historic sites, etc. Last week when I was collecting soil samples from Kalibanga, a pre-historic “paranormal” site in Rajasthan, I ended up wearing a pair of jeans which gave me a lot a trouble while collecting the soil samples, making it hard for me to bend over and over again. Being a government employ I am not paid enough, so I decided to change my dress code to loose pajamas, a pair of slippers (as I can’t afford boots at the moment), a shirt and a lab coat having enough pockets to keep all my tools. I also decided to wear gloves to protect my hands from coming in contact with contaminated soil as a friend of mine fell really ill when she came in direct contact with the contaminated soil in Bhopal. I love my job as a field biologist as I get to travel to various locations, meet different people, get to know different cultures and exchange knowledge with the residents of that place, but I feel like running away when it comes to documenting and handing over the reports.