Team:Weimar-Heidelberg Arts/Collaboration


SuperCell - the Synthetic Biology supermarket is a collaborative science and art project of the Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology of the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and the Media Art Department of the Bauhaus University Weimar. It all started with a simple request. Working in the context of bioart, the interest of the media artists was to get in contact with an experienced player in the field of synthetic biology. Through the iGEM website they learned about the successful participation of the Heidelberg iGEM team and decided to contact them. Prof. Ursula Damm and her students were delighted to find their request answerd by an invitation from the Team of Prof. Roland Eils to Heidelberg, where we had a very friendly and open informal meeting in february 2010. For the Heidelberg team it was obvious that through Synthetic Biology many innovative products will emerge with a big cultural impact on our every day life. The art/design-team Weimar on the other hand was curious to know how new lifeforms could be imagined and engineered. Further meetings in Heidelberg and Weimar followed throughout the year.

joint style operation The interdisciplinary group discussed possible relations between art and science, presented their works, and -most importantly- found ways of collaboration transcending mere disciplinary borders. In Heidelberg the team started on a wet lab project soon, in Weimar the semesterĀ“s topic was Synthetic Biology.

During our collaboration the art students got to know about the highly organized workflow of lab-work, the relation between simulation and formal abstraction and security matters of Synthetic Biology. The science students were introduced to artistic approaches and methods of creating representations of ideas and products.

These events created the basis for our collective iGEM project, defining that this would be a project were scientists and artists work together closely and feed each other with ideas and details. This included the process of finding the topic and a playground to evolve and present our ideas in form of a supermarket. From there on the team met continuously on workshops where progress on single products, on overall design, big things and details of the project were discussed. Eventually the collective brainstormings on products to fill the online shop, as well as producing video-comments, texts and images promoted further vivid exchange. All these "close encounters" allowed the teams to profit from each other not only in the preproduction and theoretical implications of the projects but also in the ways of thoughtful presentation.

SuperCell - the Synthetic Biology supermarket grew from a collaboration between art and science into a project concerning society as a whole matter and from a student contribution to the iGEM competition into an ongoing platform for Synthetic Biology, with combined efforts by scientists, artists and designers.