While the early atmosphere simulated by Miller and Urey consisted of methane, ammonia, hydrogen and heated de-ionized water, subjected to electric sparks, Origins of Life: Experiment #1.4 now also integrates currently existing gases such as nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide to drive the reactions. The display also reflects the presence, today, of large oceans and thus contains seawater rich in sodium, chlorine, calcium, sulfur and potassium. It further includes minerals such as calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate, representing lime, calcite, marble and apatite. The outcomes are unpredictable – will unexpected molecules indeed be synthesized?
synth-ethic presents art work related to Synthetic Biology: While artists increasingly use biotechnologies in order to manipulate living systems, the new field of Synthetic Biology aims at applying engineering principles to biology, so to not only modify but to build up “life” from scratch. In the exhibition synth-ethic, internationally reknown artists question this new technological dimension and the deriving ethical stance when life becomes synthetic. Their works explore the areas of tension between molecular biology and ecology, architecture and biochemistry, technology and nature, cybernetics and alchemy.
When: synth-ethic opens its doors during the Bio:Fiction festival. The exhibition is open to the public from 14th of May to 26th of June 2011.
Science and art intersect in a new MSU Museum exhibit, where glass tubing, gas bottles, bubbling liquids and zapping electricity form a working science experiment and a work of art.
“The ‘Origins of Life’ is a multimedia work of art — and a time machine,” observes MSU Museum Director Gary Morgan. “The viewer is challenged by this type of installation – Is it art? Is it science? Well, it can be enjoyed as both, and in stimulating that conversation, the work stimulates thought about both human creativity and the scientific subject matter of the artwork.
“Museums are primarily places to excite minds, and exhibits like Origins of Life do precisely that,” Morgan adds.
Origin of Life: Experiment #1 is an embodiment of liminal form and praxis. It is neither entirely art nor entirely science but a combination free from disciplinarity. The point in placing the re-creation of Miller’s experiment as an art installation is to engage the public in the ongoing dialogue between scientific experimentation and its social meanings. The attempt to recreate the evolution of primordial life forms has implications that transcend science itself. Drawing the public into the process of experimentation forces each person to consider the meaning of origins for themselves, and asks them to question to what extent scientific knowledge can replace the origin myths it challenges.