Evolving Ourselves with Unnatural Selection
Evolving Ourselves with Unnatural Selection started as a collaborative project between Non-Random Collective funded by Creative Scotland, working alongside researchers from the Institute of Genetics and Cancer (IGC) at the University of Edinburgh, and the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex at St Andrews University and Genetic Alliance
The purpose of this ongoing Sci-Art R&D project is to make tangible with visible/audible outputs, the ethical implications of emerging technologies in the biological sciences, in particular the field of CRISPR gene editing technology. We are trying to explore and present some of the ethics and future implications of gene editing through a digital multi-arts approach.
Presented primarily via an online digital platform incorporating machine learning techniques and a variety of cutting edge digital arts tools, this project looks at bringing together research, data science, visual arts, sound and language into an experimental toolkit and set of frameworks that presents the project findings to a wider public audience in the shape of playful online interactive interventions.
The Evolving Ourselves project fosters an open dialogue between artists, researchers and disabled and excluded voices in the community, that seeks to navigate the ethical, empirical and creative challenges around scientific research, while bringing the artistic outputs into a general public audience’s hands for investigation and conversation.
During the first phase of the project we ran a series of focus groups with our research partners during 2021. These discussions placed a focus on giving underrepresented voices in the community a chance to shape and share their experiences through creative artistic expression. We also had a focus group with leading researchers in the field of CRISPR. These in addition to other focus groups helped to shape the development of a game-like survey application. This is currently live and collecting data. The next phase of the project will be shaped by the data recived from the application.
Our next stage of development will be shaped by the data received via the current online application. This will lead to the creation of other online interactive experiences for people to engage with but will also include in-person events such as symposiums and exhibitions. A number of these are taking place in the summer of 2022.