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Poetry Written By Bacteria

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

Kyle Studstill
Kyle Studstill on May 5, 2011.

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

TOPICS: Media & Publishing, Science
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Kyle Studstill is a regular contributor to PSFK.com. Kyle works as a consultant working at the New York office of PSFK. His background is in analysis, from the analysis of cultural and technological change, to analysis of consumer and human insight, to military intelligence analysis with the US Intelligence and Security Command. Kyle loves the future, much like O'Brien from Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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