In the beginning, DIYsect had fairly simple ambitions. In Mary's kitchen, we discussed what we would like to do with the summer after our graduation: Mary Tsang, a bioartist wanted to find and meet other people that made work that was similar to hers. I wanted to film a story that caused discussion and pushed people's buttons. As we continued talking about these things, we realized that our ambitions could work hand in hand, and we almost immediately got to work on our documentary.
Bioart, for many cultural and philosophical reasons, has been a segment of art that the public has been aware of, but never really been given the resources to understand. Most headlines about bioart read things like "Monstrous Glowing Bunny!" or "Artists play god?" when really, a typical bioartist has a much more complicated relationship with their work. Mary wasn't just interested in looking at bioart; her senior year project, entitled "Plants of the Future", leaned heavily on the philosophies behind the DIY Ethic. Many of the projects materials were cheap or re-purposed, like PVC pipes and an old satellite dish. So, in her research, she had developed an interest in the world of DIYBiology, and was very interested in the leaders of this community.
At first, it was hard to find a connection between the two, but as we continued to research, we realized there was a commonality in bioart's and DIYBiology's goals involving Biological Literacy. Most information about how biotechnology works is only available at the corporate or university setting. New research found by companies and professors is often kept secret for fear of it leaking to competitors. Also, the information is often left intentionally vague to confuse and manipulate would-be consumers. However, DIYBiology and Bioart are interested in educating everyone. DIYBiology provides classes and resources that's accessible to just about everyone. Bioart attempts to make the public ask questions about their current relationship with biology. These were projects that we wanted to highlight, and voices that we felt needed to be heard.
And so, three months after that conversation, we have 30 contacts, 2 hours of footage, and a pretty slick looking website, if I do say so myself. We've taken the first step into this exciting world, and we're ready to keep going, to meet new people and find interesting projects.
DIYsect: a documentary web-series on DIYBio & Bioart