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We Have Always Been Biohackers
By The Center for Genomic Gastronomy

Description:
Technology is the most human thing about us. Other than fossil fuels, agriculture is the technology that has most reshaped the planet earth. Many biospheric flows have been redirected based on human needs and preferences in order to provide the foodstuffs that sustain human life.

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy presents a series of dishes, maps and narratives that document the human and non-human actors who have contributed to the agricultural biodiversity, culinary development and industrial production of Eggplant, Tomato and Salmon with special attention given to the creation and marketing of recent transgenic varietals.

The decentralized and open process of localized selective breeding is compared to the centralized and proprietary development and marketing of a genetically engineered varietals with other practices of agronomy, farming and cuisine placed on this spectrum. A celebration of genomic and culinary diversity and a call for continued bioaccess follows.

The practices of large agribusiness companies are compared to the practices of transnational corporations who have created and sold digital products over the last 30 years. Genetic User Restriction Technologies (GURTs) and an agrinformatic commons are compared to other regimes of control and exchange from digital media history. Finally, the case is made that managing the Earth's biosphere works best by leaving intelligence at the fringes and privileging redundant and resilient food systems that can be locally and iteratively adapted with the input of many actors.

Biography:
The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an independent research institute engaged in exploring, examining and understanding the genomes and biotechnologies that make up the human food systems of planet earth. We are dedicated to the advancement of knowledge at the intersection of food, culture, ecology and technology. The Center presents its research through public lectures, research publications, meals and exhibitions.

The Center has worked in Spain, India & the United States to create access to the documents, ideas, artifacts and organisms related to agricultural biotechnology, agricultural biodiversity and agricultural policy & law. Using a lens of food, cuisine and gastronomy allows groups of eaters, activists, artists, cooks and farmers to ask questions about biotechnology, farming and food in new ways. When direct experience of organisms or molecular bioforensics is impossible because organisms are unavailable, our research has relied on data mining and remote bioforensics.

Our current research is contesting the expected and normative use of transgenic animals by cooking with zebrafish (www.glowingsushi.com) and curating a suite of genomic gastronomy meals.

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