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Yeast Expression | 2015

Handmade wooden crate : L 19,1 cm x W 12,8 x H 13,4 cm
Height with handle 19,5 cm
6 bottles of GMO beer : diameter 5, 8cm x 23 H cm

Yeast Expression develops a communication system between human, computer, and biological language using natural and engineered components. Cornerstone iconic texts of human culture like "The Seven Deadly Sins" or Kant's "What can I know? What ought I do? What may I hope?" were mapped onto a synthetic gene of engineered yeast cells using a particular design algorithm that reads out a mutated text, encoded by mutations in the synthetic DNA. The gene-modified yeast cells are used to brew some special beers. They are presented in a six pack of bottles, which are labeled with the several texts that had been mutated by the yeast cells. The project refers to writing methods like the so-called "écriture automatique" to Saussure's phonetic systems of language and Noam Chomsky's concepts of meaning. Noam Chomsky also participated in this project. In scientific terms, it reflects recent developments in synthetic biology and genetic engineering to reprogramming cells, data storage in living cells, as well as a novel use of natural language processing techniques supported by genomics.

Diemut Strebe in collaboration with Noam Chomsky , MIT, Jef Boeke , Langone University, Carlos Olguin, Xiaoji Sun, Langone University, David Truong, Langone University, Bob Gimlich, BWH,
With thanks to Don Henderson.

Original and mutated texts