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Organised by Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine & STATE Festival

Artist Residency on crispr

Selected amongst over 40 proposals received through STATE Festival's Open Call, Emilia Tikka spent two months at the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine in the first European artistic residency on gene-editing technology CRISPR. During the residency Emilia Tikka worked with scientists of the MDC Stem Cell Platform and Genome engineering laboratories. As a result of the residency she created a multimedia work ÆON -Trajectories of Longevity and CRISPR.

As a part of her research at MDC she explored the concept of cellular ageing and possible future scientific techniques to reverse the biological clock with genome editing and cellular reprogramming. Today some of the 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. This proof-of-concept experiment is shown as a part of the ÆON installation as edited human fibroblasts on a petri dish and as film, shot with incubator`s microscopic camera. Based on this scientific concept, Emilia Tikka designed a speculative device, a CRISPR inhaler -, breathable “rejuvenation treatment”, including 3 glass vials of dCAS9, gRNA and Nano particles and a fictional philosophical story of a couple (see more in the page: ÆON).

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