Editable Future - The Technical, Ethical, Legal and Artistic Perspectives of Gene Editing

November 12, 2019

6pm CAFA Art Museum - Huajiadi Campus - Central Academy of Fine Arts – Beijing, China

Chinese Academy of Fine Arts, CAFA Art Museum, Berggruen Research Center, Peking University

Much controversy has grown in the public with the development of gene editing methods. The society looks confused in front of this cutting age technology which has the power to change people’s lives or rather the whole world, for good or bad. What is gene editing? What can go wrong? What are the ethical and legal controversies in the current debates? Where are we heading as a species? Two top gene editing scientists, two policy researchers, an artist and a curator sit together to share their thoughts with the public.

Topics and speakers:

A Brief Introduction of Genome Editing Technology
Yangming WANG, Berggruen Fellow, Principal Investigator of the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Peking University.

Gene Edited Babies: What went wrong and what could go wrong
Haoyi WANG, Principle Investigator of the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Ethical and Legal Controversies concerning Human Germline Genome Editing
Yaojin PENG, Associate professor at the Institute of Zoology, Innovation Academy for Stem Cell and Regeneration (IASCR), Chinese Academy of Sciences

The Governance of Biotechnology: the Wisdom of the History and the Challenge of the Emerging Gene Editing
Lu GAO, Associate professor in Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Gene as Artistic Media
Jo WEI, Researcher of Art, Science and Technology at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Curator

Identity issues: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
Marta de Menezes, Artist

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.

RAVE (IRCAM 2021) https://github.com/acids-ircam/RAVE