ÆON – Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR

Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR

Selected amongst over 40 proposals received through STATE's Open Call, Finnish artist and designer Emilia Tikka spent two months at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). There, she worked on uncovering the molecular hallmarks of aging together with the researchers. In an intensive exchange with the scientists at MDC, the artist-in-residence explored the potential of the CRISPR/dCAS9 technology to reverse the biological clock. ÆON- Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR - addresses philosophical and societal dimensions of the desire for eternal life. Together with STATE Studio, Tikka gave a sneak preview of the preliminary design to visitors of Ars Electronica 2018. The leading festival for art, technology, and society invited STATE Studio to exhibit Tikka’s project in its Gallery Spaces.

ÆON -  is a poetic philosophical-speculative scenario about possible near future where biological clock can be reversed by genetic reprogramming. The project aims to question the human desires and dreams driving current biotechnological innovations in a scheme of human longevity. The societal and individual dimensions of this plausible future and underlying significant philosophical questions about human life, death and afterlife, are reflected in the project through an emotionally triggering story of a couple. The fictional scenario functions as a metaphor for the constant loop of decay and rebirth as a central molecular process in all the living beings and the human drive to interfere these processes with novel biotechnologies.

The project is realized as scientific proof-of-concept experiments with human stem cells and gene-editing technology CRISPR in a collaboration with MDC laboratories, as a speculative design consumer product and as a fictional story visualized through a series of pictures in a collaboration with photographer Zuzanna Kaluzna.

The artist residency was funded by the EU ORION Open Science Project, which aims to engage society in discussions of the risks and opportunities presented by disruptive technologies. This project was funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 741527.

© Photo Credit: Emilia Tikka and Zuzanna Kaluzna

© Photo Credit: Emilia Tikka and Zuzanna Kaluzna