From Hardware To Wetware: A Potential Manufacturing Paradigm Shift

From Hardware To Wetware: A Potential Manufacturing Paradigm Shift

Artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg imagines synthetic biology an alternative to hardware manufacturing.

Lisa Baldini
  • 31 march 2010

With the most recent race to find oil in the Falkands, the energy crisis stays top of mind. Some question our ability to adapt to such an impending issue. However, one possible solution might take on a multi-disciplinary approach to the materiality of the biosciences. World Changing recently interviewed interaction designer Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg on her collaboration with the iGEM 2009 team as well as her residency at Synthetic Aesthetics, an exchange program between designers and scientists.

Where this interview is pertinent to the energy crisis is Ginsberg’s design for Growth Assembly, whereby plant life models may offer a different form of manufacturing, moving from hardware to wetware if you will:

We were thinking about manufacturing post oil crisis and what synthetic biology might offer this future. Jim Haseloff at Cambridge University works with plants, not bacteria, researching morphology – the way plants grow – with the aim of one day controlling it. He suggested that, “one day we may be able to grow products inside plants.”

The below video illustrates a potential model for a herbicide sprayer:

Growth Assembly – Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & Sascha Pohflepp from Sascha Pohflepp on Vimeo.

While the idea may seem far-fetched, it’s thinking exemplifies a systemic move from the search for and interdependincy on fossil fuels as the drive behind production to a more localized, organic approach.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

World Changing: “Synthetic Aesthetics, exploring the territory between art, design and synthetic biology”


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