Winners of DA4GA

3rd edition DA4GA 2012-2013

Ergo Sum

Charlotte Jarvis
Netherlands Proteomics Centre

For her project Ergo Sum, Charlotte Jarvis donated blood, skin and urine to Prof. Dr. Christine Mummery’s stem cell research laboratory  at the University of Leiden. These donations have been transformed into stem cells, which in turn can be programmed to grow into cells with completely different functions such as heart~, brain~ and vascular cells.   The result is a sort of biological self-portrait; a second self, a doppelgänger. Ergo Sum includes brain cells, heart cells and blood vessels, developed from Charlotte’s stem cells. All of these are biologically and genetically ‘Charlotte’ although also ‘alien’ to her – as they have never actually been inside her body. In addition copies of Charlotte’s stem cells are being kept by the university to use in their research. These pieces of Charlotte can be stored for an unlimited period, making them immortal. Ergo Sum raises questions such as: what makes us human, what is the source of our identity, and how will we be required to change these definitions in the future? Charlotte uses herself – even her physical body – to initiate further discussion of stem cell technology and to challenge prejudices and misunderstandings.

Fish Bone Chapel

Haseeb Ahmed
Netherlands Toxigenomics Centre

Are mutations dangerous by definition? Or are they a part of life with no further meaning than a representation of change, for better or worse? Is genomics research riding the dividing line between life and death? And will the outcome alter our definition of life and death? For Fish Bone Chapel, Haseeb is using skeletons of zebra fish exposed to toxins that bring about genetic mutations. Copied and enlarged via a 3D-printer, they then form the basis for his artwork. The project relates to chapels in Southern Italy where the bones of monks are used to decorate the walls as a symbol of transience. Haseeb next found inspiration in the entrance hall to this building, built around 1910 as a museum of natural history. Zebra fish are widely used in genomics laboratories because according to the definition of law, during the first five days of their existence, they are not yet alive. This makes them the perfect laboratory animals since they are killed before they are even officially alive. Fish Bone Chapel challenges you to think about the building blocks of life, transience and genomics research, and all the related ethical and social aspects.

Living Mirror

Laura Cinti & Howard Boland
FOM-Institute AMOLF

A liquid image of magnetic bacteria. That is the Living Mirror: an interactive bio-installation in which cells are combined with electronics and photo manipulation. Individuals are captured and translated in a live, 3D-portrait. This image reintroduces the ‘fleshiness’ absent in digital media. Living Mirror connects the history of the mirror in literature and arts.

2nd edition DA4GA

The Edible Time Machine: Ageing and Eating in The Anthropocene

Zack Denfeld, Catherine Kramer en Yashas Shetty
Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Ageing

‘Eat less, live more… and pray for beans’ is the title of an illustrated cookbook with imaginary recipes from the year 2030. Research into the composition of the recipes is based on the ‘Getting Old Together’ study of the Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Ageing, in which subjects were moving more and eating less. Based on this study, Zack Denfeld, Cathrine Kramer and other members of the Center for Genomic Gastronomy started wondering: what influence will changes in climate, global trade, and power supply have on Dutch eating culture?

In Vena Verbum: Message in a Vein

Tiddo Bakker
Center for BioSystem Genomics

In Vena Verbum (‘Message in a vein’) aims to make people aware of the fact that plants are more than simply static, decorative objects. Tiddo Bakker and the Center for BioSystem Genomics will reveal to us the hidden world of plants by developing a medium that measures the activity of the chloroplast, thereby revealing how the plant responds continuously to its environment. This medium as it were gives the plant a voice.

Aqua Vita

Susana Cámara Leret and Mike Thompson
Netherlands Metabolomics Center

Contrary to popular belief, urine is not waste but a biofluid rich in information, providing valuable insights into the metabolic state of an organism. This rich archive forms the basis of Aqua Vita, proposing a new understanding of the links between lifestyle and nutrition. Through the development of metabolic paintings, Aqua Vita visualises the daily fluctuations of metabolites as the story of the body’s ecosystem, thus mapping our bodies ever evolving landscape and promoting individual responsibility for our health state.

Concrete Lichen

Lionel Billiet
Kluyver Centre

Lichens are a fascinating form of symbiosis between a microscopic green alga and a fungus, resulting in an extremely self-sufficient living system, adapted to unfriendly environments like the surface of stones and rocks. This project proposes to investigate the possibility of inoculating concrete surfaces with a specific cocktail of fungal spores and algal cells in order to induce the growth of a lichen layer on it. Lichen as a self-sufficient living painting – transforming concrete walls into sensitive surfaces.

1st edition DA4GA

Transgenic skin: 2,6g 329m/s

Jalila Essaïdi
Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands

Jalila Essaïdi and Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands developed the project 2.6g 329m/s which includes creation of bulletproof transgenic human skin. The project emphatically explores the social, political, ethical and cultural issues concerning safety. Quote: “I want to show that the safety in its broadest sense is a relative concept, and hence the term bulletproof. If the skin is pierced by the bullet, the experiment is certainly successful.

Waag Society DA4GA Award winner Jalila Essaïdi from Wetlab on Vimeo. More about Jalida Read an interview with Jalida

Bacteria that produce bio-fuel: System Synthetics

Maurizio Montalti
Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation

Maurizio Montalti and the Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation created their project System Synthetics in order to study the possibilities of production of the bio fuel out of the degradation process of the plastic waste. In this scenario one of the two fungi (filamentous fungus) would break down plastic waste and the other fungus (yeast) would produce bio-ethanol out of it. This enables the public to research more about the alternatives for fossil fuels.

Singing worms: Microscopic Opera

Matthijs Munnik
Netherlands Consortium for Systems Biology

Microscopic Opera is an audiovisual installation created by Matthijs Munnik and the Netherlands Consortium for Systems Biology. In this project labworms C. Elegans produce images and sounds. Quote: “We are able to manipulate life forms without them even knowing that we exist. What if the same is also true for us? What if humans are not aware that something else is manipulating them?