Panel: BioARTCAMP: Laboratory Ecologies in the Wild West
Deep Woods PCR is an historical fiction of science, in which I source primary molecular biology chemicals from the remote encampment. The Banff region is famed for its natural hot springs, which are the habitat for bacteria named Thermus aquaticus. This bacteria produces the heat-activated Taq DNA Polymerase, one of the most important enzymes in molecular biology because of its use in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA amplification/identification technique. In this project, I will harvest Taq Bacteria from the springs to use in each reaction and then perform PCR without electricity as I will thermo-cycle DNA reaction tubes by physically moving from one temperature region of a hotspring to another, and thus induce amplification. While acknowledging its history in the first great patent war of molecular biology, my retro-pioneering of this PCR identification technique will also hopefully invoke mythic narratives of (self) discovery.
- Paul Vanouse has been working in emerging technological media forms since 1990. His electronic cinema, biological experiments, and interactive installations have been exhibited in over 20 countries and widely across the US. Vanouse is an Associate Professor of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo, where he co-Directs the Emerging Practices MFA concentration. His recent projects, “Latent Figure Protocol”, “Ocular Revision” and “Suspect Inversion Center” use molecular biology techniques to challenge “genome-hype” and to confront issues surrounding DNA fingerprinting.