Microbial Memories: A Speculative Design Workshop

Sun Mar 17 2024 at 02:00 pm to 05:00 pm

Genspace | Brooklyn

Genspace NYC
Publisher/HostGenspace NYC
Microbial Memories: A Speculative Design Workshop
What do terroir, microorganisms, and archives have in common? Join us to brainstorm creative uses of microbiomes as databases of memory.
About this Event

Take a sip of wine. Eat a bite of good chocolate. Try different ones. Can you tell the difference? Does it evoke memories? Do you associate those bites and sips with particular places?

Fermented foods (like wine and chocolate) have often been associated with terroir -- “an expression of the land.” Makers of these foods often seek ways to more cleanly express a sense of place and time, and have searched for centuries to unlock the mystery of terroir.

Recent research has shown that environmental microbiomes -- the particular communities of microorganisms present in a wine must, for example -- correlate strongly with particular places and times of production, which raises a question: how can we use microorganisms as a method of recording information?

In this workshop, we’ll explore the unique ability of different kinds of life forms to sense, encode, and interpret information. We’ll then dive into the potential for metagenomics to give us new tools for encoding histories. Finally, we will take what we’ve learned and create speculative applications of microbial archives to come up with our own science fictions and potential futures. No previous experience needed!

This workshop is a follow-up to a speculative project between the facilitators, which you can view here: www.timeplaceculture.com

COVID-19 Safety Notice:

Participants age 5+ must show proof of full vaccination (we recommend using the Excelsior Pass). Masks are required to be worn for the duration of the event when indoors. If you are feeling unwell, suspect that you have been exposed to COVID-19 or test positive, please do not attend. You can find a list of symptoms and a self-checker tool on the CDC website. Upon entry, all new guests are required to and show a vaccination card and sign in/out for contract tracing.

If you have had COVID-19 within the past 15 days, a negative PCR or Rapid test is required before coming to Genspace. Please show Genspace staff your proof of negative test results. Given the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding the pandemic, please note that terms of this event are subject to change, and we will update you ASAP.

COVID-19 Class Cancellation Policy

If you test positive or suspect you have COVID, please let us know ASAP ([email protected]). If you cancel after our 7-day policy, we cannot refund your ticket, but we can exchange and offer credits toward future classes. If you have signed up for Biohacker Boot Camp, we will automatically transfer your registration to the next month’s dates unless you tell us otherwise. For all other classes, we will provide a personalized discount code to apply the cost of your class to a future workshop of your choice.

Event Photos

Meet the Instructor

Sara Nejad (she/ her) is a designer, researcher and educator, exploring the convergence of design thinking, biology, and engineering to develop multispecies interfaces and closed-loop systems with applications on Earth and in space. She holds a Master of Science in Integrated Design and Media from New York University. In 2022, she joined NYU as an adjunct professor, teaching a graduate course in Biodesign.

Sara is a biotech strategist and ecosystem builder. She built and now directs the prototyping biolab at Newlab, where she facilitates interdisciplinary innovation across the organization, and works on building a diverse and collaborative network of biotech innovators in NYC and beyond. She is also a Global Community Bio fellow and organizer, and serves on BDC's alumni board of directors, creating and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and entrepreneurial opportunities for the biodesign community.

Follow her @saranejadart.

Event Photos

Meet the Instructor

Nikhil Kumar (he/ him) is a multimedia artist working primarily with biomaterials and sound. His favorite author is, on some days, George Saunders, and his favorite city, on most days, is also where he lives -- New York City. He is an avid fermenter and former chef, which was one of his entry-points into the field of biodesign. In addition to making art, Nikhil has worked extensively in the software startup world, where he created the NFT team at the Solana Foundation, was an early employee at Coursera, and led teams focused on health care and humanitarian aid at Palantir. He holds a Master's degree from NYU Tisch’s ITP, and has a BS in economics from the Wharton School at UPenn.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Genspace, 132 32nd Street, Brooklyn, United States


USD 52.50 to USD 105.00

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