Conference PaperPDF Available

Bio-objects through theatre

Authors:
  • MUSE - Science museum, Trento, Italy

Abstract and Figures

I’ll present the science-theatre model we developed as a tool for representing the bio-social meanings of some biotechnology innovations (‘bio-objects’), such as human and animal cloning, de-extinction and biobanking. Scientific explanation and multimedia artistic representation were suitable to deliver knowledge and new insights and to engage debates, also by reaching the public’s emotions. The choice of the most suitable examples was crucial. Among the others, the case of HeLa cells (the first immortalized cell line established in the late ‘50s from Henrietta Lacks’ rare cervix adenocarcinoma) proved to be a suitable paradigmatic example. Hints for the public are their capability to challenge conventional natural, cultural, scientific and institutional orderings and to generate controversies. The invasive (an aggressive lethal cancer) immortal HeLa cells of emarginated origin (a poor, black woman) are emotionally impacting in their usefulness for generating precious knowledge and biomedical innovations as well as to produce commercial value. The public can be engaged in their social and symbolic impacts, raising questions about representation, significance and value of the exceptional, variety, individuality and property. Finally, HeLa cells also allow to be proposed as a suggestive lens for interpreting crucial key words of our multicultural and complex society, among them, cultural ‘diversity’ and ‘contamination’.
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COST Conference
Bridging the Gap between Science and Art
12-14 May 2014, Sirolo (AN), Italy
Conference Booklet
(available for download at http://www.cost.eu/events/btg)
Introduction
The main objective of this COST strategic transdisciplinary event is to highlight the creative
and emotional processes behind any outstanding scientific discovery similar to those
underlying artistic productions and therefore render a scientific career more appealing for
undergraduate students considering pursuing one. There is a strong parallelism between
scientists and artists when it comes to the creation of new scientific and artistic ideas.
Nowadays, more than ever, we need creative scientists and artists to share their ideas and
collaborate in order to boost Europe’s competitiveness and innovation potential.
This conference brings together not only scientists from different fields (physicists, chemists,
material scientists, engineers, biologists, physicians), but also artists (film directors, actors,
choreographers, dancers, visual artists, architects), art critics, directors of scientific
museums, philosophers and prominent international actors allowing an outstanding
opportunity to exchange ideas in order to foster the creation of a multidisciplinary community.
The conference consists of sessions featuring experts and high-level speakers, plenary
discussions, movie projections and an exhibition of posters, videos and artworks. The
sessions are live-streamed in order to reach a broader audience (students, researchers,
policymakers, etc.)
A specific feature of this conference is the Science & Art Exhibiton showcasing the works of
Early-Stage Researchers and Artists who also participate to the conference. They were
selected from a Call for Expressions of Interest that was launched by the Organising
Committee. The Science & Art Exhibition is open to visit from Monday 12 May after the
sessions. Please refer to the programme for further details.
Wishing you a very successful and inspiring conference,
With kindest regards,
The Organising Committee
Bridging the Gap between Science and Art
COST Domains involved
Materials, Physics and Nanosciences (MPNS)
MPNS is home to material science, extending from conception through to production and
includes characterization, examination, evaluation, fabrication and development, to actual
application and service, as well as related databases, codes, standards and inspections.
The Domain thus also incorporates nanomaterials and nanosciences and the
nanotechnological applications thereof. It also supports exploratory basic and applied research
in physics, theoretical and experimental, as a key to understanding the laws governing the
behaviour of matter and energy.
For further information please visit http://www.cost.eu/domains_actions/mpns
Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health (ISCH)
ISCH supports the development of knowledge and insights for citizens, democratic debate and
decision-making in the public, private and voluntary spheres.
Interdisciplinary topics linking social science/humanities perspectives with the natural, medical
and engineering sciences are particularly welcomed by this Domain, provided that the social
science/humanities aspect is predominant.
For further information please visit http://www.cost.eu/domains_actions/isch
Chemistry and Molecular Sciences
and Technologies (CMST)
CMST has the mission to foster European expertise in discovering, understanding,
producing and manipulating molecular species.
The research activities in this Domain aim to develop experimental, theoretical and
analytical tools to enhance the development of chemical transformations, reactivity and
function. CMST aims to apply such knowledge and innovation to industrial processes and
production.
For further information please visit http://www.cost.eu/domains_actions/cmst
Lucia Martinelli
Organisation
MUSE-Science Museum, IT
E-mail
martinelli.lucia@gmail.com
Biography
Born on November 5, 1957, in Trento (IT). Laurea in Biological Sciences
at
Bologna Univ. (IT)
, PhD at Wageningen Agricultural Univ. (NL) and
Master of Scientific Journalism and Communication
from
Ferrara Univ.
(IT
). After a 30-year experience as researcher in Italian and foreign
public and industrial research ins
titutes where she has
developed and
coordinated research on plant biotechnology, focusing on gene transfer,
GMO traceability, risk perception and assessment, and communication,
since June 2011 she is
working at MUSE-Science Museum in Trento
(IT)
where
she is conducti
ng research in the area ‘Science in Society’. The
pioneering successful foreign gene transfer into grapevine was awarded
with the 1994 first prize by the Rudolf Hermanns Foundation. Results
have been disseminated in around 200 publications.
Lucia is
in the MC
o
f COST Action IS 1001 ‘Bio-objects’. She has
experience in text writing
and hosting programs for the radio, both public (RAI) and private nets,
and as author of science-theater texts.
Abstract
Bio-objects through theatre
I’ll present
the science-theatre model we developed as a tool for
representing the bio
-
social meanings of some biotechnology innovations
(‘bio
-objects’), such as human and animal cloning, de-
extinction and bio-
banking. Scientific explanation and multimedia artistic representation
were suitable to deliver knowledge and new insights and to engage
debates, also by reaching the public’s emotions. The choice of the most
suitable examples was crucial. Among the others, the case of HeLa cells
(the first immortalized cell line
established in the late ‘50s from Henrietta
Lacks’ rare cervix adenocarcinoma) proved to be a suitable paradigmatic
example. Hints for the public are their capability to challenge
conventional natural, cultural, scientific and institutional orderings and to
generate controversies. The invasive (an aggressive lethal cancer)
immortal HeLa cells of emarginated origin (a poor, black woman) are
emotionally impacting in their usefulness for generating precious
knowledge and biomedical innovations as well as to produce commercial
value. The public can be engaged in their social and symbolic impacts,
raising questions about representation, significance and value of the
exceptional, variety, individuality and property. Finally, HeLa cells also
allow to be proposed a
s a suggestive lens for interpreting crucial key
words of our multicultural and complex society, among them, cultural
‘diversity’ and ‘contamination’.
About COST
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is Europe’s longest
-
running
intergovernmental framework for cooperation in science and technology funding cooperative scientific
projects called ‘COST Actions’. With a successful history of implementing scientific networking projects
for over 40 years, COST offers scientists the opportunity to embark upon bottom
-
up, multidisciplinary
and collaborative networks across all science and technology domains. Beyond the EU
-
27 member
states, COST countries include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, Iceland, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey. Israel is a cooperating state. Beyond the
European borders, COST opens the European Research Area (ERA) to cooperation wit
h non-
European
countries on the basis of mutual benefit.
n www.cost.eu
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