Metabolic Raceway opens at Big Orbit Project Space
30D Essex Street, Buffalo N.Y.
Friday, August 2, 6 to 10pm
Gallery hours are Saturdays, 1:00-5:00 p.m. or by appointment.
The exhibit—from Josh Archer and Chris Copeland, fellows at UB’s Coalesce BioArt program—is an investigation into the unique history of the first patented bacteria Pseudomonas Putida NRRL-B5473, and its importance to the fields of bioremediation and early genetic engineering. P. Putida was engineered by Ananda Chakrabarty at General Electric in the 1970s to break down hydrocarbons more thoroughly in the case of an oil spill. After having his patent initially rejected, General Electric successfully appealed this decision before the Supreme Court, setting a new precedent for the ownership and control of life. P. Putida was engineered for power and speed, similar to the way automobiles are engineered and marketed to consumers.
The exhibition of Metabolic Raceway includes three DIY sculptural bioreactors made of car parts that will be breaking down motor oil over the course of several weeks. Kinetic elements of these bioreactors include, windshield wipers, crankshafts and steering wheels which perform the function of sustaining the bacterial metabolic activity. In these bioreactors are a selected polycultures of species of bacteria that have been sourced from post-industrial soil samples around the Buffalo, N.Y. metropolitan area. The combined experience of these sculptural bioreactors will be a very slow exciting race not between cars, but between organisms.