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Byrne House

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"Biomimetic science and the politics of pluripotent life" - Dr Elizabeth Johnson (University of Exeter)

Egenis Seminar

An Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences seminar
Date12 November 2014
Time15:00 to 16:30
PlaceByrne House

This talk presents an overview of my current book manuscript on the implications of the growing but controversial field of biomimicry. Biomimeticists bridge the biosciences with technological engineering, finding inspiration for innovation in nonhuman life forms. In doing so, I suggest that the field creates a new class of natural resources through experimentation with biological organisms, opening up new interfaces between socio-political institutions and biological systems. Among other examples, I’ll explore the study of gecko foot adhesion, which has advanced the development of commercial adhesives and inspired ‘Geckoskin,’ military gear that enables urban soldiers to scale walls. The paper works to illustrate how this and other projects remake life as a set of what I call ‘pluripotent’ capacities—capacities that can be redistributed within global networks of economic production and geopolitical security. I’ll discuss the political implications of these transformations, particularly at the changing interface between ‘life’ and ‘production.’


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