Tag: Biocustomization

Micro'be dress

Grow Your Clothing with Microorganisms

Clothing can be made out of more than just woven fabrics or synthetic fibers. Lady Gaga proved this with her infamous raw beef dress. But the meat dress is not the only piece of organic garment out there.

Artist Donna Franklin and scientist Gary Cass have designed Micro’be, a fashion line consisting of clothing made from microorganisms. Where conventional clothing is woven in parts and stitched together, Micro’be consists of one seamless piece. The clothes are made from wine, and with the addition of the bacteria Acetobacter, the wine is fermented into vinegar. The by-product of this fermentation is cellulose, which is in turn used to grow the garment. The color of the fabric is determined by which wine is used. Red wine gives a red fabric, while white wine (and even beer) gives a translucent material.


Lets Grow a Glowing Plant

Four years ago we wrote about a vision to create bioluminescent trees that would replace streetlights. This dream is getting just a little bit closer, now that a team of Stanford trained synthetic biologists led by Antony Evans launched a Kickstarter campaign to grow glowing plants.

Using Genome Compiler software, the team is ready to input bio-luminescence genes into a mustard plant and have it be naturally glowing. Natural lighting with no electricity. Hypernature ahoy!


3D-Printed Skin Cells as an Aesthetic Statement

Here is a next natural form of body modification, a 3D printed tattoo. Maria, a 23 year old girl from the Netherlands, printed her skin with a design made from stem cells. For her, two diagonal lines mean rebellion and one horizontal line means peace. For Maria, these three ambivalent lines represent the state of utopia.

During the London International Tattoo Convention, I interviewed Dr. De Jong who performed the operation. He was a tattoo artist until his 30s and has been trying to find a new form of self expression. He confidently said “Tattoo is a very ancient form of fashion and we need to use a new means to express ourselves. I am sure this 3D printed tattoo will soon be fashionable in Amsterdam and Tokyo and will spread across the world”.

This story is actually a fiction; the photo is from Ted Partin’s book Eyes Look Through You. But perhaps it is not entirely a fiction, but a fictional reality. Think about Stelarc’s Ear on Arm, or 3D printing technology branching out to bone, organs and skin. People already do astonishing things with their bodies. Why not 3D-printed modifications?


Strawberry Noir

Hypernature ahoy! Behold the Strawberry Noir, a 2050 strawberry breed with high levels of anthocyanin and Vitamin C, and black lace doilies for the fashion market.

The speculative hyperfruit has been envisioned as part of Carole Collet’s research on how we might program plants to grow into ready-to-pick luxury textile products in the future. Should plants be genetically controlled to perform specific functions for us? And if we move further into this alley, what will be the risks, opportunities and design methods?

rise and fall
Next Nature

The Rise and Fall or Rayfish Footwear

For almost three years, we worked on a sneaker company that we knew would go bankrupt on the day it was founded. This is our coming out.

The fictional company Rayfish.com offered personalized sneakers crafted from genetically modified stingray leather. The online storytelling project was created to catalyze a debate on emerging biotechnologies and the products it may bring us. It furthermore questioned our consumptive relationship with animals and products in general. While such discussions often remain abstract, we aimed to make them tangible in a concrete product you can love or hate.

The rise and fall of Rayfish Footwear took place within a period of seven months. The story began with the launch of the corporate website, commercial, CEO lecture and online design tool. The startup immediately received significant media attention and seemed bound for success, however, there were also critical petitions against the company’s instrumental use of animals.

While almost ten thousand people had designed their own fish sneaker, animal rights activists broke into the company and released all the fishes in the ocean. The CEO of the company, Dr. Raymond Ong, responded with a passionate video statement, which stirred further debate on our estranged relationship with products in a globalized world.

While Rayfish was struggling to find new investors, the escaped fishes where out in the open and started appearing into video’s of tourists and fishermen. The story ended with the bankruptcy of Rayfish, after which the true objective of the company was revealed and the ‘making of video’ was released.

Seven highly exclusive prototypes of Stingray leather sneakers were created. The leather of the shoes was dyed with paint, rather than genetically modified.

Further information on our motivations, collaborators and supporters can be found on the Rayfish Event webpage. We welcome comments on the Rayfish Facebook page or in the box below. Thanks for participating!

dyed pigeon

Artists Paint a Rainbow with Copenhagen’s Pigeons

If you’ve noticed candy-colored pigeons flapping through Copenhagen lately, don’t blame a freak chemical spill. Artist Julien Charriere and photographer Julius von Bismark have built a conveyer-belt device, equipped with seed and spray nozzles, to lure in unwitting pigeons for a brisk airbrushing. The bird trap was installed for a week to mark the Copenhagen’s architectural biennial, with a total of 35 birds being transformed from drab flying rats into limited-edition “prints”. Watch out, pigeons: Now that you’re art, you’ll have to watch out for overzealous collectors.

Plentiful, familiar and practically tame, pigeons make great raw material for bio-hackers. We’ve seen them used as tools for protestors, as secure alternatives to file-sharing, and as genetically engineered soap dispensers. With green roofs and backyard chickens proliferating through trendy cities, perhaps these artists are paving the way for pigeons to become the next hip urban organism. The only drawback to a pigeon rainbow? There’s definitely not a pot of gold at the end.

Check out the full, gloriously colored collection here. Thanks to Mike Bularz for the tip.


Activist Release Transgenic Stingrays in the Ocean

This morning we received an astounding video from a group of animal right activists that broke in at Rayfish Footwear, the Thai based fashion brand that creates $1500 personalized sneakers from genetically engineered stingray leather.

The amateur recording (turn volume down before playing) shows the anonymized activists plundering the fish breeding facility of the company, while ‘rescuing’ the stingrays. At the end of the video the fish are released in the ocean.

Rayfish.com was launched some months ago with a contest that invited people to design their own stingray patterns. The most beautiful designs where grown on the skins of the transgenic fish and turned into personalized stingray leather shoes. Some of the happy winners had already received their pair of Snaketongue, Flamingo Zebra or Golden Dalmatian shoes.

Earlier its CEO Raymond Ong gave a lecture at our Next Nature Power Show in which he unfolded his groundbreaking biocustomization technique. Although there where many enthusiastic responses there was also much controversy around the company. Seems some of the hard core protesters now decided to take action.

We have tried to contact Rayfish Footwear to confirm the robbery, but haven’t been able to reach them. At this moment there is no mentioning of the break-in on the Rayfish blog, nor on their Facebook, or Twitter pages. To be continued…

UPDATE: Rayfish confirms the break-in and released a video statement.

non-browning arctic apple

Genetically Engineered “Arctic” Apple Will Never Turn Brown

Canada-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits is pitching a genetically engineered apple that does not turn brown when bruised or exposed to air. This new technology, available in both Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious, introduces a synthetic gene that drastically cuts down on the enzyme responsible for browning.

As with the introduction of snack-sized baby carrots, Okanagon Specialty Fruits president Neal Carter is positive that his Arctic apples will remove consumers’ issues with eating an entire fruit at once. According to Carter, “If you had a bowl of apples at a meeting, people wouldn’t take an apple out of the bowl. But if you had a plate of apple slices, everyone would take a slice.” Carter hopes his fruit will reverse declining rates of apple consumption, and will help to curtail the number of apples tossed for minor browning.

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