Experiencing Interruptions?

Synthetic Organisms’ Variations

"Synthetic Organisms’ Variations" is an experimental short film that leads the viewer to explore synthetic biology’s core principles choreographically.

"Synthetic Organisms’ Variations" questions the binary concepts of nature and technology. These concepts are understood as being mutually exclusive and at loggerheads. Furthermore, they are each deeply entangled in emotional and cultural perceptions. Nature is often associated with the pristine, the good and the pure. On the contrary, technology is usually connected to socioeconomic power and perceived as existing through the destruction of the natural world and natural behaviours. Given this highly dichotomous relationship, we usually only consider two responses to the Anthropocene: either we continue advancing unsustainable technological practices or halt progress and ‘revert’ to nature by looking to the past. However, synthetic biology and the redesigning of biological systems could offer an alternative option: a living, growing, biological technology. Such an alternative would be capable of disrupting many fossil-fuel based industries and reshaping technology as we know it. This video questions these types of biological technologies, how do we consider, and design with, various perspectives, including the non-human organisms and microbes on which these technologies are built?
Synthetic Organisms’ Variations open an unusual perspective to ‘Laboratory Life’ and the human and non-human organisms that inhabit it.

  • Sarah Pini
    ABISSO, Bocca di Rosa
  • Jestin George
  • Sarah Pini
    ABISSO, Bocca di Rosa
  • Critical Path
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
    Key Cast
    "single-cell green alga"
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Synthetic Biology, Choreography, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    1 minute 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 8, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Sarah Pini, Jestin George

Sarah Pini is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist based in Sydney. She works across the fields of anthropology, visual arts, film, mix media and performance, cognitive science, dance and choreography. Sarah’s artistic research captures the interconnections of movement, emotion and environment and how their dynamical relationships shape embodied narratives and sense making. She is completing a PhD in Cognitive Science at Macquarie University, working interdisciplinary on the cognitive ecologies and the enactment of stage presence across different dance genres and performers. Sarah’s work is featured on DANCE CINEMA.

Jestin George is a biotech PhD candidate at C3 Climate Change Cluster at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), working with CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to make microalgae better cell factories, as well as a freelance artist. Jestin sees a vital gap between the types of exciting technologies being developed in life sciences research and the creatives who could be designing with them. Jestin is interested in engaging with varied publics about the future of biological technologies through collaborations with artists. She aims to use non-conventional platforms to contribute towards two-way knowledge sharing to improve biotechnology and biodesign.

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Director Statement

Our work invites the audience to reconsider the Anthropocene through different perspectives, including video art and choreography. By looking at ways to rethink the Anthropocene, and how can we reorient, act, think, move, and feel differently, our work aims to bring into dialogue dance and synthetic biology.