Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alternative GFP Vessel Pictures

GFP Modification of Bacteria Pictures.

GFP Modification of Bacteria Lab.

I would like to take a moment to thank Akos Maroy for running the GFP lab last week.  I found it to be a very informative lecture and workshop, and it seem that all of you did too!  If you wish to see his blog posting of the event here is a link.  

We should also thank our special guests for their contributions to the group discussion, Lucas Evers (WAAG) and Danielle Hofmans (TAAG.) 

I popped into the lab a couple of days ago, and had a look at the results of our lab.  Most of the groups completed the genetic transformation correctly - though I saw one or two sets that did not seem to be successful.  Additionally, i was very pleased with the results we got utilizing the alternative vessels, and liquid Agar.  I will do some photo documentation of the results shortly.  Otherwise, I have some great pictures from the Akos' lesson that I will post today.

Enjoy your holiday!


Lab Kit, Inspiration to modify our tents

Hi everybody,

I found this nice website about lab kits for children:

it is very interesting and maybe we could need to buy something from there.

Then, I also saw this particular tent for butterflies:

I thought that maybe we could cut windows from the real tents we are using and replace the textile with this kind of transparent net.

See u

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Alvira Shvarts and Gregor Schneider

Following up from friday afternoon, Aliza Shvarts -the artist who artificially inseminated herself for 9 months- and Gregor Schneider - the artist who wants a person to die in his next exhibition.

Gregor Schneider wants to have someone die during his next exhibition in Krefeld, Germany. The artist has long been interested in the idea of death in the museum space, and in 2002 he pretended to die during the exhibition. Source: The Art Newspaper.

Schneider seems to explore relationships between the individual and the architecture, which for him seems inseparable from authority structures. In Weisse Folter ("White Torture") the viewer explores a succession of cramped, eery spaces.

Yale University student Alvira Shvarts has for a period of nine months periodically inpregnated herself, and systematically inducing miscarriages. According to the Yale Daily News the show will show her documentation of these nine months, including videotapes of the induced miscarriages, and blood salvaged from these self-induced abortions. The question that her work poses is whether or not the artist is completely free to use his or her body as s/he wishes. Obviously the issue of abortion is a delicate one, and regardless of whether or not Shvarts' art is good art, I personally feel that people should be guarantueed complete sovereignty over their own physicality.

In connection with the performance element in both of projects I would also like to name Marina Abramovic, who with her artistic Ulay has long explored the idea of self-mutilation, pain and performance.

In Relation in Time Marina and Ulay have entangled their hair, and edge away from each other slowly, pulling at their hair. She has also explored the notion of self-mutilation in her piece The Star, where she cut a star into her stomach.

I think that a strong link between Bioart and performance art is the exploration of physicality, whether that be through microscopic structures or the use of one's own body. I think both also draw on a strong spiritual element. Bioart is by way of the laboratory space and the specialised knowledge strongly reminiscent of the pursuit of medieval alchemy, transforming matter into something higher. This empirical component of Bioart, and the irrational element of performance art ("letting go" for the actor) suggest an Apollonian-Dionysian model.

CBC PodCasts

Hello All.

I have been listening to a great series of podcasts hosted online through the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio. I thought you may be interested as well. They are available here:

Ideas: How to Think About Science

Have a good weekend. :)


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lab History - the Wellcome Collection

Hi All,
I just got back from a short trip to London. On my last day I went to the Wellcome Trust, which holds a collection of curiosities related to medicine. As well as a collection of objects and art works in the same field. Here´s some pictures I´d like to share with you

1. A Floating laboratory, ca 1911

2. Mobile field bacteriological laboratory interior, Khartoum 1918

3. Charles Darwin´s walking stick, whalebone and ivory, 19th century

This is their website:


InsideOut: Laboratory Ecologies

Hello all.

That was a great class last week. Thank you to Dr. Alia for her lecture and tour of the SSNMR Research group at The University of Leiden. For more information you are welcome to go to their website:

Last week we also discussed committees for the final class project. There is a lits of committees below, please sign up for at least one.



Location scouting

Tent(s) Purchase and redesign committee

Props, scientific equipment, and TOYS (find online/or at science stores) digital microscope, dna extraction kit, sea monkeys, DNA Wizard) (Picnic blankets, baskets, a pig's head, anatomical
models, etc…)

FOOD committee (BBQ?)

Animal committee, including living enclosure for birds

Costumes! (everyone is responsible for their own costumes. Please confirm with me in advance.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

sonja's blog about this course

Hello everyone.

I've made a posting on my blog about this course and will keep adding links as I find stuff to this.  Here's a photo Kaisu took of Amalia and myself on April 11th.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Oron Catts lecture

Hi all,
I reserved one seat for Oron Catts lecture tomorrow but I cannot go anymore cause I have a thesis meeting. So, if one of you wants to go, he can in my place.
Another thing, can someone who is attending the lecture film it?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tissue Art

I've edited some of the video I shot last friday in the lab. I decided to give it a very chaotic look because of the bloodiness of the shots (and partly because most of the footage was shot badly).

I'm uploading it right now, it will take a while. When it's done you can find it at, and search for Tissue Art.

Done uploading, here is the link:


For Friday April 25, 2008 (next week)

It has been suggested that I upload the readings a few days earlier - so that you have time to read them over the weekend. So, as requested the readings for next week are:

Critical Art Ensemble, "Introduction Contestational Biology" from The Molecular Invasion. Autonomedia: Brooklyn, NY 2002. pp 3-12
Available Online:

Critical Art Ensemble, "Transgenic Production and Cultural Resistance: A Seven-Point Plan" from The Molecular Invasion. Autonomedia: Brooklyn, NY 2002. pp 59-75
Available Online:

Drs. Danielle Hofmans PhD-project
Faculty of Humanities, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Lecture, De Brakke Grond, 10 April 2008
avaliable at:

Friday's class.

Hello All.

I hope you are ready for class tomorrow.
We will be having a local scientific visitor: Dr. Alia, Solid State MRI Group. She will present in the first half of the class on the research being conducted in her group, and provide us with a tour of the facilities.
The second half of the class will be dedicated to group discussion - about the class, what you have experienced thus far, the course homework, and the final project. I encourage you all to bring your thoughts, questions, concerns and even critiques to the discussion! If we have time, i will also show you some of my work, as requested.
Otherwise, don't forget to complete this weeks readings (see below).


Singer, Peter. “All Animals are Equal… or why supporters of liberation for blacks and women should support animal liberation too.” In Animal Liberation. Norfolk: Lowe and Brydone Ltd, 1976. pp. 1- 26

Magnetic Resonance Microscopy of the Adult Zebrafish
ZEBRAFISH Volume 3, Number 4, 2006 © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Niels Braakman, MS, Jo ̈ rg Matysik, PhD, Sjoerd G. van Duinen, MD, PhD, Fons Verbeek, PhD, Reinhard Schliebs, PhD, Huub J.M. de Groot, PhD, and A. Alia, PhD.
Longitudinal Assessment of Alzheimer’s �-Amyloid Plaque Development in Transgenic Mice Monitored by In Vivo Magnetic Resonance Microimaging

Monday, April 14, 2008

Liver Cells - update and next class.

Report from the lab:

I hope you all enjoyed last week's class as much as I did! It was an excellent / complex / visceral procedure – that allowed us all to inherently grasp the bodyness and the food chain of the lambs livers – and their extrapolated existence as cells under the microscope and in the dish. I look forward to your comments and reflections during next class – and I am very curious to hear more from the objectors as well.

A resounding success – and a complete failure, where sterility is concerned. A number of you were able to isolate living cells, but pretty much every dish was contaminated with bacteria. You’re a dirty bunch! (just kidding) I went into the university to feed the cells on Sunday, and found one dish in particular that was hosting large fungal colonies – the rest were getting cloudy with bacteria. I had planned on keeping them alive in time for next week – but quite frankly I was worried about contaminating the incubator. So, I am sorry to report that all of the cells have been disposed off. They were packed in a biohazard bag, and left for autoclaving. Life is a violent process, even in the lab.

Other news…

I have a little homework assignment for everyone. On April 25 we will be doing a genetic modification of bacteria protocol. This process usually takes place in petri dishes (like we used in the first class.) However, we thought it may be interesting to use some alternative vessels. I am asking that you all bring in small vessels for next class (April 18th) that we can use for this lab. They must be small, made of a material that can be heat sterilized in an oven - and think of interesting shapes - transparencies - alternative uses.

Lamb Liver Photos!

Primary Isolation of Lamb Liver Cells

Anne Kienhuis | Jennifer Willet


1 lamb liver within 48 hours of slaughter
1 cooler w/ ice
1 cutting board
4 syringes – w/ terumo cannula
1 plastic tray
1 plastic stand w/ holes
2 beakers
1 knife
1 tweezers
1 filter + 100 mesh
Pipette Gun
10 ml pipettes
25 ml pipettes
6 well tissue culture tray

70% ethanol
HBSS 10% solution w/ sterile water
DMEM + Glutamax + Collagenase (Add 250 mg Collagenase to 500 mL DMEM)
DMEM + Glutamax + Penstrep +10% FBS
DMEM + Glutamax + Penstrep

1) Put Liver on ice immediately after purchase, and transport to laboratory
2) Sterilize all equipment with 70% ethanol
3) Immediately (before the blood has much time to clot) slice a small piece of lobe off with a single clean cut.
4) Place liver on top of perforated stand – on top of a beaker - within a plastic tray.
5) Using a syringe and tc – perfuse exposed veins with PBS until color is drained from liver.
6) Choose three prominent vein entries into the liver (test their prominence by injecting HBSS solution into veins.
7) place three stationary syringes + tc into these openings, and crazy glue into place
8) Seal entire cut opening of liver lobe with the application of crazy glue
9) Simultaneously flush each opening with 100ml of HBSS solution SLOWLY.
10) Take a new beaker.
11) Simultaneously flush each opening with 100ml of DMEM w/ Collagenase solution SLOWLY – ensuring that all excess is captured by the beaker below.
12) Repeat three times
13) Remove plugs, and crazy glue carefully with tweezers
14) Take a moment to clean out the beaker with a towel and 70% ethanol (take care that ethanol is evaporated before use!)
15) Make several cuts into the liver.
16) Pour DMEM + FBS over cuts in liver – capturing the solution in your beaker. Do this several times. Eventually, stirring the liver gently in the beaker creating a cell suspension solution.
17) Filter into a clean beaker twice, once with the filter alone, and the second time with the 100 mesh nestled within the filter.
18) Pour final solution back into the DMEM + FBS 50ml vial.
19) Centrifuge for 5 min at 75g.
20) Remove excess DMEM with a pipette gun, and take off top layer of red blood cells and dead cells.
21) Add 10 ml of DMEM + FBS, pipetteing up and down stirring cells.
22) (it is good at this point to repeat steps 19 – to 21.
23) Place solution evenly in 6 well TC tray
24) Rotate tray in a figure 8 pattern evenly distributing the cells over the tray, and incubate at 37 C w/ CO2 5%.

Bacteria Cultures: one week later....

Bacteria Samples in the Incubator... Did one of you pee in your dish?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Class Prep: 02 Tissue Culture

Hello All.

I am very pleased with our work last class. I feel we had a good introduction to BioArt in general, and a nice simple laboratory introduction as well.

We will have a visitor next week: Marie Pier Boucher. She is a PhD student from The University of Exeter. She will give a presentation: Transductive aesthetics: Bioart’s Ethics and Politics.

For next week, please do the following two readings:

Jens Hauser. "Bio Art – Taxonomy of an Etymological Monster" from Hybrid living in paradox: Ars Electronica 2005. Christine Schöpf, Gerfried Stocker. Edts. Ostfildern-Ruit, New York, Hatje Cantz: D.A.P. Distributed Art Publishers, 2005. p.182.

Catts, Oron, and Ionat Zurr. "Are the Semi-Living semi-good or semi-evil?" in Technoetic arts: an international journal of speculative research. Issue 1, 2003

They are available online at: (same as every week)

I will also post my powerpoint lecture from last week for anyone who would like a copy.

We will be starting at 1:15 every week to allow students to arrive form morning classes. On Friday we will be starting in the lab first. So please meet me in the front lobby at 1:15 sharp - and we will go to the lab together.

Otherwise, students who want to see their bacteria from last week under the microscope can meet at 11:00 am (also in the lobby) and I will take you in. If you ever get stuck locked out - you can always ask at the front desk for Anne Kinehuis - or myself (in Liesbeth van der Velden's office). And they will help you.

See you on Friday!


Class 01: Bacteria Cultures

or how dirty are scientists anyways......

Gorlaeus Laboratories