The Language of Biofacts. Semantics and Materiality of High-Tech Cultivated Plants
Biofacts are hybrid objects that, like the cloned sheep and the genetically modified tomato, undermine the traditional distinction between inanimate technology and living nature and thereby cause social conflicts again and again. The current discussions on the application of genetic engineering in the agricultural and food sector are a significant example.
The objective of the research association The Language of Biofacts is to develop, through the example of high-tech plants, a theoretically and empirically sound framework for the analysis and comprehension of biofacts as socio-technical objects in modern societies. In doing so we contribute to a deeper reflection on biofacts as well as a better comprehension of current conflicts in the agricultural and food sector.
As an interdisciplinary alliance of scientists (> people) from history, philosophy, sociology and industrial design, the research association comprises six sub-projects. The scientists are based at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, the Technical University Braunschweig and the Technical University Munich. The coordination of the research association is situated at the Technical University Munich.
The sub-projects are supported by a varying body of experts including Dr. habil. Werner L. Kutsch (>ICOS RI), Helsinki; Dr. Martha Mertens, Munich; Dr. Helga Satzinger, London; Dipl. Volksw. Maren Schüpphaus (>ScienceDialogue & >dialogimpulse), Munich, and Prof. Dr. Bettina Wahrig Braunschweig ( >Abt. Wissenschafts- und Pharmaziegeschichte, Technische Universität Braunschweig)as permanent members. The research association receives additional support from its two practice partners the >German Museum and the >KWS SAAT SE.
The research association The Language of Biofacts is promoted by the >Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the context of its initiative >The Language of Objects from the period of 3/2015 until 8/2017. The association is supervised by the >project sponsor in the German Centre for Aviation and Space Travel.
BIOFACTS OF THE ATOMIC AGE: IRRADIATED ORGANISMS OF THE AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD SECTOR IN PROJECTS OF THE DEVELOPMENT AID
Irradiated organisms such as irradiated potatoes, fruit flies sterilized by radiation or radiation-induced rice mutants primarily result from the application of nuclear technologies in the agricultural and food industry which was fostered in the cold war. Its development started in the inter-war period when researchers examined the effects of radioisotopes and ionizing radiation on living organisms. What started out of curiosity was pushed under the specific conditions of the cold war from the context of the laboratory into the world of industrial application in order to prove the peaceful usability of nuclear technology.(>more)
Prof. Dr. Karin Zachmann
01.03.2015 - 31.08.2017