Hybrid Art

Anerkennung - Honorary Mentions

Open Source Estrogen

Mary Maggic (US), Byron Rich (CA)




URL:
http://maggic.ooo/Estrofem-Lab-2016, http://maggic.ooo/Open-Source-Estrogen-2015, http://byronrich.com/Open-Source-Estrogen-2015-2017

A collaborative, interdisciplinary research project, Open Source Estrogen combines biohacking and speculative design to demonstrate the entrenched ways in which estrogen is a biomolecule with institutional biopower. lt is a form of biotechnical civil disobedience, seeking to subvert dominant biopolitical agents of hormonal management, knowledge production, and anthropogenic toxicity. The project begins with a speculative question: what if it was possible to make estrogen in the kitchen? From this seed arise more fundamental questions about who is producing hormones, whose bodies are affected, and how environmental hormones exist already as a state of toxicity. While issues of body and gender sovereignty are deeply at stake, endocrine disruptors termed 'xenoestrogens' pervade our environments due to petrochemical, agro-industrial, and pharmaceutical forces. These xeno-molecules queer the morphology and physiology of our bodies and bodies of non-human species, evidencing a malleability inherent to nature but alien to our prescribed notions of eco-hetero-normalcy. In response to the "molecular queering" performed by estrogen, facilitated by dominant hegemonic forces, the project initiates a public dialogue through DIY/DIWO (do-it-yourself/do-it-with-others) biohacking and artistic intervention. Using speculative design, iterative workshopping, and kitchen performance, Open Source Estrogen employs these tactics for creating new subjectivities for living in an increasingly queer world. From capitalist xeno-forces arise xeno-­ solidarities, capable of collectively hacking the systems of hormonal colonization.

Open Source Estrogen employs three main protocols for hacking hormones: 1) YES-HER (Yeast Estrogen Sensors containing Human Estrogen Receptor) transgenic yeast for the detection of estrogenic compounds, 2) DIY Column Chromatography with cigarette filters, silica gel, and methanol for extracting hormones from urine samples, and 3) Solid Phase Extraction for extracting and concentrating estrogenic compounds in large bodies of water.

Biography:

Byron Rich

Byron Rich (CA/US) is an artist, professor and lecturer born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work exploring speculative design, biology futures and tactical media has been widely shown and spoken about internationally. He pursued a degree in New Media at The University of Calgary before finding himself in Buffalo, New York, where he obtained an MFA in Emerging Practices at The University at Buffalo. He now teaches Electronic Art & lntermedia at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.

Mary Maggic

Mary Maggic (US) makes freak science, workshops with the public, performs with aliens, and exhibits with urine, it exists between the categorized fields of bio-art, bio-hacking, art-science, citizen­science, though it would rather abandon all. lts most recent work concerns the (lovely) tension between active and passive queering through estrogenic micro-colonizations and asks: do you want to be more alien than you already are? Maggic trained in both Biological Sciences and Art at Carnegie Mellon and is currently pursuing its masters degree at MIT Media Lab.

Credits:
Credits to Špela Petrič, Paula Pin, Gaia Leandra, Vanessa J. Cheung, Solon Morse, Sachiko Kana, Kate Adamala, and Josiah Zayner
Support received from MIT Media Lab and Allegheny College