Poetry Written By Bacteria

A scientist-poet has produced a new work of poetry in collaboration with naturally replicating bacteria.

Dr. Christian Bök, a scientist/poet from the U.K., has successfully prompted a Deinococcus radiodurans strain of bacteria to produce a work of poetry. Where plenty of documented cases exist in which text is coded into DNA letter-by-letter, implanted into bacteria then reproduced through replication, Bök’s work is a new case in which the result derived from the replicated amino-acids has been decoded into a new poem.

Bök describes the results below:

It’s a very short poem; a very masculine assertion about the aesthetic creation of life. The organism reads the poem, and writes in response a very melancholy, feminine – almost surreal – poem about the aesthetic of the loss of life. They’re in dialogue with each other.

The Xenotext Experiment

RWW: Injecting Poetry into Bacteria to Produce More Poetry

Image by friedmanlynn

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