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CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCH
29 Oct 2012; Laura Cinti - 12 Nov 2012

CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCH

Celebrating the 100th birthday of the American composer John Cage, Cage Rattling #1: Kill Switch was a coming together of themes from biology, anarchistic movements and music to deliberate ideas that expand upon his legacy. The ‘Kill Switch’, a reference taken from synthetic biology whereby it is possible to engineer mechanisms leading to cells’ death, indicates a timed event of entry and exit central to Cage’s method.  

50 second excerpt of Howard Boland's (C-LAB) talk. 

C-LAB participated through an exhibit and talk on synthetic biology in particular by sharing the work Stress-o-stat which operated not only in a sonic context through its allure to a life support system but also in the use of a genetic switch - not to kill but to highlight a change of state or oxidative stress through light.

CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCH

The evening began with an introduction from curator Richard Thomas (Resonance FM) and was followed by an opera before slowly merging with music from adjoining quartets and  electronic music playing within a restricted set of notes (A, C, E, G) referencing the DNA sequence make-up (ATCG).

CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCH

At times, the ensembles split, making their way intimately into the audience asking: "Can I play something for you? Would you hold this scoreboard?"

CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCHView from the floor. (Photo: Margherita Cinti)

As if in a single flow speakers would enter and exit as part of the music giving talks on aspects of art, anarchism, economy and synthetic biology.

CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCHDisconnected Stress-o-stat exhibit.  (Photo: Ian Kirk)

We had also planned to show the living synthetic biology artwork Stress-o-stat as part of the event and put considerable efforts in the legal, ethical, safety and environmental handling of placing living GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) in the space. As part of this, a requirement was to transport the material in yellow biohazard bags. The look of these bags made the venue host frightened (in spite of prior discussions on hosting the display). We had to mount the display without the stress-lighting bacteria, an unfortunate silencing of what would have been the first legal GMO art exhibit shown in the UK, though perhaps relevant to Cage.

While Howard Boland’s talk meant to be about synthetic biology more broadly, the continuing issue of exhibiting GMO even with all the legal aspect in place coloured his talk.

CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCHDiscussing the set-up and exhibiting GMO. (Photo: Margherita Cinti)

The evening ended in a spellbinding musical atmosphere driven by dice-throwing randomness and a found cohesiveness between audience and performers.

Stress-o-stat (2011), a living artwork that visually captures stress in bacteria as light. 

Presented by The Wire magazine, a three-part series marking the 100th anniversary of John Cage's of "staged provocations designed to liberate Cagean aesthetics from the prison of the culture industry". Cage Rattling #1: Kill Switch was curated by Richard Thomas (Resonance FM)  and featured performances and talks by Nils Norman, Aleks Kolkowski, C-LabRichard Scott, Dan Hancox, Panos Ghikas, James Butler, Murray Bookchin, Arco EnsembleAaron Peters, Oscillatorial Binnage.

Other References: C-LAB:blog: Britt Wray of Fluxmedia visits C-LAB
C-LAB:blog: Cells alive n' counting
C-LAB:blog: Cellulose from bacteria
C-LAB:blog: Gene machine takes the prize
C-LAB:blog: Going solid: From Fungi to Mushroom
C-LAB:blog: Growing Magnetospirillium Gryphiswaldense
C-LAB:blog: It's here - the Spring 2012 iGEM library
C-LAB:blog: KatE in a Jar
C-LAB:blog: katE sees red with Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP)
C-LAB:blog: London Hackspace at UCL Cruciform Lab
C-LAB:blog: Red Fluorescent Protein
C-LAB:blog: Right or Risk? Preparation at London Hackspace
C-LAB:blog: Sludge Bacteria - one drop
C-LAB:blog: Stress light in growth & swarming behaviour
C-LAB:blog: Synthetic Biology, Creating ring pattern in a lawn of bacteria
C-LAB:blog: Synthetic Biology, Programmed Population Control
C-LAB:blog: Synthetic Life - getting serious about genetic engineering
C-LAB:blog: The Gibson Assembly Song
C-LAB:blog: Tic toc goes the bacteria clock
C-LAB:blog: Visiting London Hackspace with UCL iGEM
C-LAB:blog: Visiting the Grant Museum of Zoology
C-LAB:event: ART FROM SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY
C-LAB:event: ART-SCIENCE TALK
C-LAB:event: BIO ART WORKSHOP
C-LAB:event: BIOART FORUM
C-LAB:event: CAGE RATTLING #1: KILL SWITCH
C-LAB:event: DO IT TOGETHER BIO #5: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY ART
C-LAB:event: GRADUATE SCHOOL LAUNCH
C-LAB:event: INTO THE LABS
C-LAB:event: RE-NEW DIGITAL ARTS FESTIVAL
C-LAB:event: RIGHT OR RISK? WORLD'S FIRST PUBLIC BIOBRICK
C-LAB:event: SPEED DEBATE ON SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY AND NEURO-ETHICS
C-LAB:event: SYNTHESIS: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY IN ART & SOCIETY
C-LAB:event: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY SOCIETY KICK OFF EVENT
C-LAB:event: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY SPEED DEBATE
C-LAB:event: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY WORKSHOP
C-LAB:event: SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: MACHINE OR LIFE?
C-LAB:event: THE TWO CULTURES: VISUAL ART AND THE SCIENCES C.1800-2011
C-LAB:event: YOUNG SYNTHETIC BIOLOGISTS - YSB 1.0
C-LAB:experiment: Bacteria Compass
C-LAB:project: Bacterial Light Sensor
C-LAB:project: Bacterial World
C-LAB:project: katE - Visualising Stress
C-LAB:project: KatEred
C-LAB:project: Stress-o-stat
C-LAB:project: Sugar Rush
C-LAB:project: Transient Images
Dana Centre: Synthetic Biology: Machine or Life?
London Science Festival: Synthetic Biology: Machine or Life?
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