Gene editing [links and videos]

Gene editing:

https://www.wired.com/story/wired-guide-to-crispr/

Videos:

http://video.wired.com/watch/crispr-gene-editing-explained

CRISPR to store information:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jul/12/scientists-pioneer-a-new-revolution-in-biology-by-embeding-film-on-dna

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature23017

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/07/scientists-can-use-crispr-to-store-images-and-movies-in-bacteria/533400/

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/03/this-speck-of-dna-contains-a-movie-a-computer-virus-and-an-amazon-gift-card/518373/

Gene editing as programming language:

https://www.synthego.com

https://www.wired.com/story/biology-will-be-the-next-great-computing-platform/

Microscopes

Recently, I discovered an old project by Manu Prakash who has become a personal idol, mostly because of the social awareness aspect, plus democratization of the science in his work that makes him so inspiring. This project that I found is a chemistry set that works on a music box. I really appreciate how he’s constantly taking the physics behind long lasting and simple toys to create his project but also takes into consideration the material. An example will be his blood centrifuge and his foldscope. Can we get the classroom kit? Less than 3 dollars each one of us. How great would that be!! We could have our own paper microscope as a tool in the meantime for this class.

 

 

 

Gene drives [Topic: Gene Editing]

 Topic: Gene editing

 

 

When I was little I was obsessed with the prospect of becoming a doctor, to be more specific a neurologist. I don’t remember how it happened but at some point in my life, I was allowed to see a  brain surgery from the gallery of the operation room. I have to say that that day the obsession shifted; I discovered that more than being amazed by the technology and the skilful surgeon. For me, at that moment, that brain became a  beautiful, powerful, delicate computer that was being butchered by a knife, and nevertheless, it worked and recovered from such a brutal experience! 

Something similar happened after I had the opportunity of my own CRISPR experiment at Genspace. After our readings, I have to admit I was a little apprehensive and dizzy about the topic, sometimes the theory is overwhelming and the biology could be a hard friend to communicate with.  At the moment I have too many thoughts about the genome editing, not only because is my topic but because for fortune, it was our first topic. The reading explained how it worked, how it was being discussed or approached around the world, the possibilities, the miscommunication behind it also. You get the idea of what gene editing is, what CRISPR represents in today’s labs and the future. But I don’t think you fully understand the scale of it until you are in front of a centrifuge with your own yeast transformation protocol.

More than amazed by the science (which is by no means smaller or less breathtaking) I was amazed by the possibilities of our bodies as humans, as mammals, eukaryotes, bacterias and viruses. No state is definitive for sure. I mean, we are going atomic and cutting DNA. Yes, is difficult and from trillions of cells a dozen will be actually cut, but the beauty is that it survives, it recovers and function as expected.  Thanks to science we are able to transfer vital organs from one body to another, keep hearts alive in boxes for hours and know have atomic biological scissor. Not only that, recently I remembered the story of how CRISPR was used to store information inside bacteria, taking the uses of gene editing beyond the needs of health

There are some aspects that worry most people, for me, more than anything they make me angry. If the way pharmaceutical industries behave is any indicator, we won’t be seeing gene drives tackling diseases or on wild populations just for the sake of eradication. Money more than morals is gonna be the main protocol system of gene drives, any genetical diseases that only affect 1% of the population or any wild population affecting a population that lives in a state of poverty are not gonna be part of this rush we are hearing, maybe I’m just being pessimistic.

 

 

Lasso of truth

The lasso of truth is a queer love story.

The lasso of truth tells the queer love story of those who inspired and created Wonder Woman, a powerful icon in popular culture.

The lasso of truth tells the love story of an intellectual, feminist married couple that has a polyamorous relationship with a mysterious young woman. The husband is creating a lie detector machine. Truth is not only his obsession but what he expects from his partners. Thanks to an interview about the impact that comics could have on young people, he decided to create his own comic. His ultimate machine of truths was Wonder Woman, a reflection of the two women in his life and the values they shared. Through the story, we see the impact Wonder Woman had on others and how she earned a place in popular culture.

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This space is small, intimate, warm, with a chiaroscuro effect. It gives you just a little bit of claustrophobia. Even the open spaces are small like we are looking through a window, is human-made (architectural clues), contained and habited.

Time jumps in this world, goes form the 40’s, to the 60’s /70’s, to the 90’s/00’s in seconds. These jumps have different ways of behaving through this space. Sometimes its silent and awkward, other times is frenetic and dynamic. Time is the true storyteller in this world. Darkness works like a black hole through the story, giving clues about the future.

The mood is created mostly around the small monologues and blackout chants of children playing. These chants start all fun and joyful turning dark and sometimes cruel. The tone is always passionate.

There is a hidden space for the divine, understanding divine as the ultimate form of truth.  Through alive objects, mysterious deities and sacred origins.

There is a lot of silence, repetitions, in words, cycles and circumstances that give a particular rhythm to this space. There also mundane sounds of your everyday life

Rules are very important in this space, either to play by them in public or to bend them or break them in private. At the end [time] we see how our characters created and lived by their own rules. This was expressed through their clothes (restrain accessories, symbolic jewellery, makeup, in fashion garments, comfortable elements, pain objects) all depends on how each character fits into space. 

There is always a discussion happening in this world, sometimes between the group characters of a specific era or through small monologues we know what they are thinking and feeling all the time. Thoughts, feelings and memories are mixed constantly.

Time/Space

 

The tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare / Teatro Colón de Bogotá – 2016

 

 

“Theatre is always a self-destructive art and it is always written on the wind”

 

Some time ago I was in a set design class as a guest, they gave us a script and at the end of the reading, the professor asked about the place. Most of the scenes happened inside a multipurpose classroom at a community college. I thought about the space and started going through the script, imaging the objects in my head trying to be clever and making them functional for theatre. But then, one of the students started to talk about the context of the space, about the town! I was confused, nowhere in the script they mentioned the town at all. This student was trying to go beyond the script and visit this small planet. He was walking through the neighbourhood, getting familiar with the culture, the language and the weather. He understood something back then that I didn’t. That a play is a world, not just a window.

I’m sure Peter Brook was good at visiting small places, more than anything he was probably prepared for unexpected visits. When he mentions the concept of Theatrical thinking or Design in motion, meaning “expect changes”, that felt like someone from my world, also it felt like late advice for a young set designer.

I’ve learned that spaces, objects and costumes tell stories, they can fill any stage with symbols and be as powerful as any aria. As a designer, Elinor’s Fuchs words are inspiring not only because it comes from a familiar context but because It expresses something that could live outside the performative arts field.

Both Fuchs and Brook showed a point that is critical while creating. That’s how the audience has a lot of weight on the performance. Not only in the sense of its true access to the play (monetary) but if it can connect to the play. Let’s take Brook’s example of his Shakespeare play in a European country where the English language was a barrier but the context of the play was present in the history of the country and how it worked beautifully. I had the opportunity once to be part of a dual-concept event: Macbeth, Shakespeare’s play and Verdi’s 10th opera. A project that wanted that connection with the audience. Being a tragedy crossed by the wounds of power struggles, we tried to reflect on our national reality. A mirror of Colombia’s 50 years of conflict. One night, during the opera, the chorus walked through the audience toward the stage singing Patria Oppressa. The feeling that overtook the theatre was overwhelming, people cried, and sorrow could be felt. To connect with your audience at this level was a gift, we weren’t expecting it.

MAKING VISIBLE THE INVISIBLE

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LIVING CANVAS

– in collaboration with Shreiya Chowdhary – 

 

How can we make the invisible visible? How can we make our approach to microbes and bacteria more amicable and meaningful? How to spark a healthy discussion? Art could help take away the “ick” around this organisms and change the way we relate to them. Living canvas is a data visualization installation that explores [ITP] cohabitation and the impact of a shared microbiota. Its main purpose is to visualize the invisible organisms and recognize patterns through data recollection, sample collection and [bio] material.

Microbiota in general lives within our bodies and we carry and leave it as we move around. The point of this project from its inception has always been in terms of memorabilia to be a living reminder of the 40 years of people and their existence on the ITP floor and the microbiota they have left behind that makes the ITP space in the Tisch building what it is. As an end result of this installation, we want to educate the user that wherever they travel, they leave their microbiota to trace a living ecosystem of their existence, and we will be mapping that onto a physical piece so it can live on in memory

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Mapping with agar and seeds

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HOW TO MAKE VISIBLE THE INVISIBLE

seed on different media growth test

 Agar

 

Cotton without agar

Hydroponic mat with agar

 

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Hydroponic mat with agar

 

Moving away from the Petri dishes

 

Control growth on soil and testing agar with moss

 

Different growth rates on same media