Artist Talk: Günter Seyfried (Vienna, St. Pölten)

The Austrian artist Günter Seyfried (Pavillon 35 Bioart Club) will give a talk about current methods of genome editing utilised in his new art project on June 20, 2017, 4:15–6 pm at Vordere Zollamtsstraße 3, Lecture Hall 14 (3rd floor). In his artist talk Return to Dilmun: CRISPR/cas in Art and Science he will describe his encounter with citizen (non-professional) science and genome editing, as well as the formation of amateur, do-it-yourself biology (DIYBio) groups.

The new work by Günter Seyfried and his collaborators (Roland van Dierendonck, Hansjörg Petschko, and Frederico Muffatto) Return to Dilmun focuses on CRISPR (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) / cas (CRISPR-associated system) a new genome editing technology that is able to permanently modify genes within organisms. The technology, which was only “discovered” a couple of years ago functions as an extremely precise “DNA scissors”, and since then labs around the world have demonstrated the potency of the method, similar to the case of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) in the early 1980s. The CRISPR/cas system is a prokaryotic immune system which provides adaptive (acquired) immunity against foreign genetic elements, such as bacteriophage genome injection. Return to Dilmun centres on the code of a digital image that has been translated into synthetic DNA using a special process: In two types of in vitro experiments the team performed image manipulation at the level of molecules. In one experiment the team made a number of experiments aiming at efficient on-target cleavage with full length guide RNAs (sgRNA), consisting of 20 nucleotides. In the off-target experiments the team decreased the efficiency using sgRNAs with 15 and 12 nucleotides, making indel (insertion or deletion) mutations visible. Return to Dilmun highlights the fact that through genome editing techniques the technological and media framing of biology has rendered code and biological material interchangeable, and with this the realm of things biological is now accessible for new designer applications, which are also entering art as biological and technical constellations of media technologies.

Günter Seyfried has a background in medicine and psychology, which he studied at the University of Vienna, and has strong links to the fine arts, digital art, and media art, having graduated from the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Department of Digital Art). He works part time at the New Design University in St. Pölten, Department of Manual and Material Culture, teaching philosophy and art theory. He combines science and art education and develops projects as an independent artist, participating in national and international exhibitions and publications and performing various tasks for Biofaction, Vienna. He is a founding member of pavillon_35 — Gesellschaft für wissenschaftsbasierte Kunst, with Kristin Weissenberger, Moya Hoke, and Sonja Bäumel.

The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s seminar about the transformation of media theory through the rise of biomedia is an informative and stimulating opportunity to hear from distinguished artists about what’s going on in the emerging fields of bioart and biodesign and will help our students to build their network of contacts. Our guest lectures are open to all.

Date and time: Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 4:15–6 pm.
Venue: Vordere Zollamtsstraße 3, Lecture Hall 14 (3rd floor).