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2100
 
I was born in the year of  red, 2100!

*"Big Data: Designing with the Materials of Life, a unique exhibition and workshop examining how the latest biological research could inform the design of future sustainable materials, products, services and architecture. Hosted by the Lethaby Gallery at Central Saint Martins (CSM), the live project is an incubator for interdisciplinary discussion and design with neuroscientists, genetics engineers, and molecular biologists working alongside students on The Bartlett's March GAD programme (Research Cluster 3) and CSM's MA Textile Futures. The exhibition, open to the public until 13 February, has been organised by Ruairi Glynn, Lecturer in Interactive Architecture at The Bartlett School of Architecture & Carole Collet, Reader and Deputy Director of the Textile Futures Research Centre at CSM."

To what extent does current epigenomics research give rise to opportunities for social control?

‘Big data’ provides us with an opportunity to meaningfully model environmental data – to understand where crisis points lie, to predict when we will reach them, and to propose viable interventions for averting or mediating threats to humanity.

 

In the absence of a single political force to monitor and control global challenges such as population growth, temperature levels, carbon emissions and freshwater availability, there existed an opportunity for a powerful consortium to assume this role.

 

In the year 2100, a secret society called ‘The Engineers’ formed to confront this global and political inertia. By capitalising on advances in epigenomics, they began to release engineered viruses designed to modify the human genome. Each virus was programmed and colour-coded according to a specific environmental issue. For instance the Year of the Blue meant that anyone who contracted the virus that year was allergic to animal proteins, thus reducing the impact of the meat industry on the environment.

 

This project speculates on the potential of epigenomics to be used as a mechanism for social control.

İpek Kuran - MEKÂN • SPACE, Sunny Han, Alison Taylor, Roisin Johns & Zuzana Lalikova

Big Data: Designing with the Materials of Life - The Bartlett's March GAD and CSM's MA Textile Futures

Colouring Our Chromosomes

 

Scientific Research by Anne Ferguson-Smith, Department of Physiology Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

 

The Human Genome Project was a mammoth feat, yet the genome is only one dimension of our molecular identity. Despite being stored in almost every body cell, most of the genome remains blissfully silent. In our brain cells relatively small numbers of genes are switched on; and a whole different batch is active in our liver cells. The identity of our cells is wrapped up in another code, a layer ontop of our DNA that mediates which bits get made into the stuff of our cells (proteins). Scientists call this code the epigenome. Along with many researchers across the world, Anne’s team is trying to crack the epigenetic code. Resolving the epigenetic code against the already sizeable banks of genetic code presents a number of challenges.

 

How should scientists interpret these data?

 

Does our increasing power to generate huge datasets make us wiser?

 

What do these data all mean?

 

Anne’s team uses what researchers call ‘genomewide next generation sequencing technologies’ to help characterise epigenomes. Anne’s team is also trying to uncover why some genes are inherited in a silent way depending on whether they come from our mother or father.


The Engineers

 

Design Response, Scenario Year 2100

 

To what extent does current epigenomics research give rise to opportunities for social control?

 

‘Big data’ provides us with an opportunity to meaningfully model environmental data – to understand where crisis points lie, to predict when we will reach them, and to propose viable interventions for averting or mediating threats to humanity.

 

In the absence of a single political force to monitor and control global challenges such as population growth, temperature levels, carbon emissions and freshwater availability, there existed an opportunity for a powerful consortium to assume this role.

 

In the year 2100, a secret society called ‘The Engineers’ formed to confront this global and political inertia. By capitalising on advances in epigenomics, they began to release engineered viruses designed to modify the human genome. Each virus was programmed and colourcoded according to a specific environmental issue. For instance the Year of the Blue meant that anyone who contracted the virus that year was allergic to animal proteins, thus reducing the impact of the meat industry on the environment.

 

This project speculates on the potential of epigenomics to be used as a mechanism for social control.