Projects

SYNBIO TAROT READING

Comissioner
Studiolab Europe, Science Gallery Dublin
Project Team
Jon Ardern, Raphael Pluvinage, Anab Jain
Year
2012

game2

We were invited by the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art to take part in the on-going EU funded Studiolab project which is exploring the impact of Synthetic Biology on society and culture through practice-based research projects by using design as a way to imagine, test and discuss.

Within this broad remit, our early interests in the project were to explore the possibilities for new products and services at the intersection of synthetic biology and deviant globalisation – a murky world of illegal, informal and pirate economies, new patent laws, and cross-border flows of technology and expertise. We were interested in exploring the gradients of the informal economy; the grey spaces between the black market and mainstream commerce. What kinds of products and services might synthetic biology produce? How could patent law and regulatory regimes be shaped to meet the challenges of ‘synbio’? How would different legal decisions operate across regional and national boundaries? How might deviant entrepreneurs exploit or evade patent law?

As part of the project, we were invited to Science Gallery Dublin, to participate in a workshop with scientists and other designers and engage further with synthetic biology. Addressing some of the themes we were exploring, we devised a scenario-planning game inspired by the cards of the tarot. We were keen for participants to situate scenarios for possible synbio products and services within a wider social, political, and economic context. The tarot cards would, we hoped, help drive world-building and scenario work in a playful, imaginative manner, while addressing some of the themes we wanted to explore further.

 

cardspack2

By substituting synthetic biology for any other emerging technology, we hope that the cards will have a broader use for anyone interested in imaginative and engaging workshop materials.

HOW THE TAROT DECK WORKS

The tarot deck comprises six categories of card: Protagonist, Location, Synbio Condition, Year, Operating Environment, and Player mission. Each category had six cards. One side of the card named a specific item, character or point, accompanied by a visual cue. The reverse side listed a couple of questions specific to the card, intended to guide thought and discussion.

 

For the duration of the workshop, we divided the participants into smaller teams of 3-4 members. Picking one card from each category, they worked to imagine and fill in the details of their scenario, affixing cards and annotations to a large sheet of paper. The final card chosen was their ‘mission’, with which they’d have to pull the scenario together, and present a narrative about how they might go about accomplishing their mission.

mut_3_1

mut_1


“COUNTERFEIT AMERICAN BURGERS” SCENARIO

The selected cards:
Year: 2038 / Protagonist: PhD student / Location: Beijing, China / Synbio Condition: Rising synbio counterfeiting / Operating Environment: Global wheat blight / Player mission: Acquire power

“To combat many years of violent seasonal storms, China has developed an especially  robust strain of wheat. When a global wheat blight hits the world in 2038,  the Chinese strain turns out to be almost completely resistant to the blight, whilst harvests across the US perish quickly. In order to return America to its ‘rightful place’ as the world’s leading producer of wheat based products, the Mcdonalds Corporations (who are now in charge of Americas agricultural policy) fund a Phd student to study the DNA of wheat being produced near Beijing. After years of being  seen by the US as the ‘Counterfeit Nation’ its now America’s turn to copy China.”

 

SUPERFLUX

Somerset House Studios, London UK
hello@superflux.in
All rights reserved © 2017. No. 6601242

Web Design > SONIA DOMINGUEZ
Development > TOUTENPIXEL

We'd love to hear from you

New projects
Internships
General enquiries

Studio M48,
Somerset House Studios,
New Wing, Somerset House,
Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

Title By Filters Date
BACK TO THE FUTURE: WHAT WE DID IN 2016 Jake Charles Rees Autonomous systemsCity & InfrastructureIoT, Data & Civics 31.01.2017
REALITY CHECK: PRESENTING AT UNDP SUMMIT Jon IoT, Data & Civics 06.12.2016
MITIGATION OF SHOCK JOURNAL Jon Autonomous systemsBiotechClimate Change 12.07.2016
STUDIO HAPPENINGS Anab Autonomous systemsClimate ChangeIoT, Data & Civics 04.07.2016
PROFESSORSHIP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED ARTS VIENNA Anab 28.06.2016
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2015 Anab Autonomous systemsCity & InfrastructureIoT, Data & Civics 30.12.2015
SUPERFLUX MAGAZINE, ISSUE 1. Anab Autonomous systems 21.04.2015
THE DRONE AVIARY JOURNAL Anab Autonomous systems 09.04.2015
IOT, DRONES AND SPACE PROBES: ALTERNATE NARRATIVES Anab Autonomous systemsIoT, Data & Civics 01.03.2015
AUTUMN NEWS Jon City & InfrastructureClimate ChangeIoT, Data & Civics 08.11.2014
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND DESIGN: AN INTERVIEW WITH SARA HENDREN Anab 07.11.2014
A QUARTERLY UPDATE FROM THE STUDIO Anab Autonomous systemsBiotechCity & InfrastructureIoT, Data & Civics 11.05.2014
IN THE LOOP: DESIGNING CONVERSATION WITH ALGORITHMS Alexis Lloyd Autonomous systems 04.04.2014
IOTA WINS NOMINET TRUST FUNDING Jon IoT, Data & Civics 25.10.2013
SAILING THE SEAS OF SUPERDENSITY: GUEST POST BY SCOTT SMITH Changeist City & Infrastructure 19.10.2013
DNA STORIES: GUEST POST BY CHRISTINA AGAPAKIS Christina BiotechClimate Change 30.09.2013
PRESS RELEASE: DYNAMIC GENETICS VS. MANN Jon Biotech 01.08.2013
AN INTRODUCTION TO INFRASTRUCTURE FICTION: GUEST POST BY PAUL GRAHAM RAVEN Paul Graham Raven City & Infrastructure 24.06.2013
SUPERNEWS, VOL 1. Jon 08.04.2013