Bio-hacking and Manipulating the Living World

A talk with Dr. Andrew Pelling, from the University of Ottawa

“In this talk I will discuss my recent collaborations occurring at the interface of art and science as well as bio-hacking activities taking place in the Pelling Lab for Biophysical Manipulation. I will present “The Dark Side of the Cell” and other works in collaboration with media artist Anne Niemetz which explore the science of cellular sounds and the conversion of scientific database information into audible and visual format. I will also present Darkfields, in collaboration with sound artist Donna Legault, which explores the interaction of living cells with local pressure waves generated by infrasonic frequencies. Finally, I will present work from The Pelling Lab which comprises a group of multi-disciplinary scientists and engineers focused on the manipulation of life with artificial stimuli and microenvironments. I will present our manipulations of various magnitudes, including the culture of living cells onto bio-INcompatible substrates with no relationship to any natural micro-environment, the growing of human-jellyfish hybrid ‘skins’ onto LEGO mini-figures, and ‘bio-hacking’ (the re-purposing/re-culturing of tissues and organs for non-biological means). The Pelling Lab is a curiosity driven environment generally interested in finding the limits of normal biological function and pushing beyond them to create something new.”