ÆON was a result of the artist in residency project with Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine and State Festival. Selected amongst over 40 proposals received through STATE's Open Call, Emilia Tikka spent two months at the MDC laboratories for the first European artistic residency on gene-editing technology CRISPR.

Today scientists claim being able to eliminate the major hallmarks of cellular aging by partially re-activating specific genes in human genome called the Yamanaka factors. Emilia Tikka created an artistic concept engaging with the question of longevity and novel gene-editing technology CRISPR. She obtained proof-of-concept experiments with the scientists from MDC, including experiments about “resetting” the cellular ageing by partially reactivating the Yamanaka factors in human cells using CRISPR/dCAS9 system and “rejuvenating” cells by differentiating human iPS cells into neurones and growing them into “mini brains”. These experiments were realised as a film shot with microscopic camera inside of an incubator over 2 weeks of time.

Experiments produced in a collaboration with MDC Scientists:

Jürgen Stumm and Norman Krueger (Stem Cell platform)

Dubravka Vucicevic (Computational Regulatory Genomics)

Film music:

Cristian Cassara