The Epistemic Lives of Pictures and Visualisations
Edited By Nora S. Vaage, Rasmus T. Slaattelid, Trine Krigsvoll Haagensen and Samantha L. Smith
Grow Your Own Views on Knowledge: Visions and framings of synthetic biology
Walking through Science Gallery Dublin’s Grow Your Own… Life After Nature exhibition, a myriad of different impressions greet the visitor. The possibility of carrying a dolphin in a human womb, bacteria that can give colour-coded warning of diseases, and gold made by bacteria are just some of the materialised visions we are met with. And the visual is not the only sense stimulated: The pungent scent of cheeses made with bacteria from different parts of human bodies leaves a lingering impression in the nostrils.
Grow Your Own… (hereafter: GYO), exhibited from 25 Oct 2013 to 19 Jan 2014, was presented as an exhibition seeking to encourage the public to “help us shape the discussion about what we can and should do with synthetic biology.”1 But what does that mean in practice? How might the very different pieces that make up the mosaic of this quite large exhibition work together to shape people’s impression of what synthetic biology is and how we should relate to it? The exhibition was located at Science Gallery Dublin, which is framed, itself, as a hybrid, “A new type of venue where today’s white-hot scientific issues are thrashed out and you can have your say. A place where ideas meet and opinions collide.”2 It is not a science centre, not an art gallery, but somewhere in between. Most visitors would not expect to come to this venue and get a purely informative, “dry” presentation of what synthetic...
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