[ISEA2016] Workshop: Mary Tsang & Byron Rich — Open Source Estrogen: Detecting and Extracting Xenoestrogens in Local Ecosystems

Workshop Statement 

Open Source Estrogen combines do-it-yourself science, body and gender politics, and ecological ramifications of the present. It is a form of biotechnical civil disobedience. We do not seek techno-solutionism but instead, through the creation of a DIY estrogen protocol and increased endocrinological know-how, the project becomes a public platform for discussing the ethics of self-administering self-synthesized hormones, and a critique of the institutionalized control apparatus that defines current methods of hormone administration.
In response to the various biopolitics of hormonal control on female and trans bodies prescribed by governments and institutions, the Open Source Estrogen project is developing a system of DIY/DIWO protocols for the emancipation of the estrogen biomolecule.
This workshop will give participants the opportunity to detect and extract xenoestrogens from local waterways via a simple endocrine-disruptor detection system and the construction of a reverse-osmosis filtration system.
In particular we will examine three fundamental questions:
1. Can we look to bio-technoscientific capabilities for eradicating gender binaries in human society?
2. What does this say to the current reproductive havoc on aquatic species as a result of endocrine disrupting compounds in industrialized coastal zones?
3. Can we harness the potential to emancipate not only female, trans, and queer bodies from pharmaco capitalism and institutionalized hormones but also the bodies of non-human species, extending feminist health care across species of our shared environment?
The workshop is not intended to demonstrate a viable solution, instead offering participants a deepened sense of the complex intersection of culture, ecosystems, and body politics.

Please bring a water sample from a local waterway. 500ml-2000ml is suggested.

No prior knowledge is required.

  • Mary Tsang, MIT Media Lab, US, is an artist-biologist practicing in civic biosciences, open source organisms and tools, and how to deploy them. Her projects explore the biopolitical nature of new synthetic biotechnologies, their roots in society and transhumanism, and the question of who gets access.
  • Byron Rich, Assistant Professor of Electronic Art & Intermedia, Allegheny College, USA.  Having grown up on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in western Canada, where a seemingly endless wild gives way to the rapidly expanding influence of human hubris, Byron was compelled to make things that ask unanswerable questions. He now teaches Electronic Art, Intermedia and Painting at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, US.