[-empyre-] Fourth Industrial Revolution and DIY

Renate Terese Ferro rferro at cornell.edu
Sun Mar 5 03:29:23 AEDT 2017

Welcome to -empyre- Soyo. 
Wonderful to hear you were one of Kathy’s students at nearby Troy, NY. Your account of moving to Seoul and setting up a DIY lab in your kitchen in the middle of Seoul is an absolutely incredible story.  I can imaging now your kitchen with the kimchee refrigerator filled with biological tissue.  What a wonderful description you have written of the working space and environment you have provided for us.  I know many of my own students return to Seoul and feel the pressure to go into design oriented fields.  You seem to have resisted that trend and I’m wondering if the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” initiative by the government has helped to nurture niche. DIY interventions into art and technology?  Is there an entepreneurial spirit within this DIY community or is it more of a resistance.  I am hoping to travel to Korea again soon and I hope that I can visit you and so many others that are doing this kind of work.  Hoping that is is within the year or so. 

Hope you will post more within the next few days not only about your work but about the new publication.  Thank you.  Renate
 I collaborate with other makers and independent researchers from all fields of art-science-technology rather than just ‘bio’ people, because our number is so small and we need solidarity. At the start of this year, I started an independent press + artist-run-space called Lifeforms in Culture to publish and exhibit artist research projects. The type of techniques I can perform in this setting is rather low tech and primitive at the moment, but I also feel the information and resources I can access and share as a regular citizen is expanding as I work…We are seeing more citizen-run maker labs and open labs each year, and institutional scientists or professional engineers are sharing protocols and materials through online and offline platfoms. Just last month, young bio-medicine students and researchers in Seoul held a meeting called the “Mad Scientist Festival”. It was a self-organized Pecha Kucha night in which anyone interested in the biological sciences do a 2-minute presentation about their work. The event brought together about 150 participants talking about their research as well as various issues they encounter within academia. I hope this ‘movement’ will continue to expand upon an independent spirit, but funding is always the biggest issue as a lot of our work rely on government grants.

Renate Ferro
Visiting Associate Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Art
Tjaden Hall 306
rferro at cornell.edu

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