Biopolitics is a journalistic journey to find the politics that shape biotechnology. Current technological advances approach the design of life itself. Implications seem profound; from victim-free meat to designer babies. So how is decided what research to fund? For whom are these biotechnologies developed? Is biotechnology democratic? In sum, who really shapes our bioengineered future?
We, Duuk Baten, Erik van de Pieterman and Gijs de Boer, want to understand. We study Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society at the University of Twente; effectively looking at the relation between labs, R&D departments, design studios and the world outside. The upcoming three months we will infiltrate the world of biotech from each of those angles. With all perspectives combined, we will be closer to how biotechnology can be democratic.
This blog documents our journey to an answer. The destination is a manifesto for democratic biotechnology. We share our insights, interviews and reflections; next to reader queries and inspiration. Each of us has a personal focus; Duuk digs in the labs, Erik follows the funding and Gijs discloses design. Follow our journey and join with comments, questions or suggestions!
PS: Are you fresh on this blog? Start with our introductory post!
Meet the team
Gijs de boer | correspondent DESIGN & DISCOURSE
Hi, I am Gijs, a 23 year old idealistic generalist. Where technology and society overlap is my home. In my design bachelor I spend more time reflecting than making, so I choose a philosophy master. I believe in conscious change as the key to a desirable future. That is, embracing technology’s blesses but minding its implications. I hope to contribute by opening the black box of technology for the values from us, citizens of spaceship earth.
For Biopolitics I will focus on developments in design. Speculative biodesigners are experimenting with the design of life itself. Through their products, they can open the debate on technology. Read more in my intro post.
Erik van de pieterman | CORRESPONDENT FUNDING & CONTROL
Hi I am Erik, 26 years old and I want to introduce new values in business. During my masters in Business Administration, I found out that this master was about understanding organisations, the how questions. But I also wanted to know why. I decided to enroll in the master Philosophy because I think there is more to life than just making tons of money. The combination of Business and Philosophy hopefully enables me to do the right thing right. Making a difference but also knowing why this difference should be made.
For Biopolitics my tasks will consist of connecting my knowledge about how organisations function with the way biotechnological research is influenced by the politics of funding. I want to see who really controls the process of bringing new technologies to our society. Check out my first post here.
Duuk Baten | CORRESPONDENT researcH & ENGINEERING
I am Duuk and I want to bring humanity back into technology. With a background in Creative Technology and a focus on philosophy of technology I try to uncover the human aspect in emerging technologies. My interests in innovative and emerging technologies resulted different varying projects, ranging from organising symposia to designing street lighting. Being interdisciplinary trained I try to bridge all aspects of technological development.
In the Biopolitics project I will use my skills and network to discover the inner workings of biotechnological research and engineering. What drives researchers’ work? How are they influenced? During this adventure I hope to form a well-balanced view on biotechnology. Join my quest here.