Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

egg and sequin kitchen session 30th January 2010 pt 3

Monday, February 1st, 2010




Posted in embryo, bioreactors, protein, chick embryo, tactile, sequins, eggs, punctum, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Touch, Non human animal, Biocraft, Bioart, tissue culture, photography, Bioarchitecture, cooking, DIY biotech, Events | No Comments »

egg and sequin kitchen session 30th January 2010 pt 2

Monday, February 1st, 2010








Posted in embryo, stuff, Materiality, Matter, chick embryo, tactile, home, sequins, eggs, punctum, skin, bioreactors, Ethics, Cake, architecture, Bioart, Food, cooking, protein, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Touch, Bioarchitecture, Events | No Comments »

egg and sequin kitchen session 30th January 2010 pt 1

Monday, February 1st, 2010





Posted in embryo, bioreactors, chick embryo, eggs, home, sequins, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Touch, Cake, Bioart, Biocraft, DIY biotech, cooking, Events | No Comments »

egg on my face

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

egg on my face

fertilised egg shell shattered and spilt the 3 day old embryo.

egg opened up

opened up egg showing a 5 day embryo in the top left hand corner












Posted in bioreactors, tissue engineering, protein, unconcious, Biocraft & Edge Practices, Matter, Materiality, punctum, eggs, explant, chick embryo, embryo, Touch, cooking, Superpowers, Ethics, Non human animals, Performance, live art, action, Events, Biocraft, Non human animal, Food, DIY biotech, cell culture, tissue culture, School of Biosciences residency | No Comments »

Fat Chocolate explorations notes (i)

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Mel Grant, ( see some links to her here, here and here) a molecular biologist School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, and I have begun some experiments to see if we can feed chocolate to fat cells in the eventual hope of feeding chocolate to lipsuctioned fat cells.

We also want to embed gold particles into fat cells - however this idea has been adjusted to coating fat cells with gold. Nano sculptures within and with out fat.

The evolved from incidental chats in the tea room of the 5th floor lab at the school of Biosciences. Mel mentioned that she was reading medicinal material from  early books archived online, curious cures of extractions that seem both poetic and whimsical and not remotely similar to the dominant contemporary Western allopathic medicine. (Although Chinese Traditional Medicine and Homeopathic Medicine and no doubt many more, use highly poetic and metaphoric language and remedies. That is not to say that terminology in allopathic medical usage is not metaphoric but it’s relationship to material - pharmaceuticals etc. could be described perhaps as more categorical and reductive). We pondered the possibility that dismissal of these approaches and remedies might mean the loss of remedies that actual worked, that had some discreet active ingredient embedded within a vital but seemingly absurd material/object context that current conventional medicine cannot embrace.  She mentioned chocolate as a cure for something or other and somehow we ended up with the idea of feeding chocolate - or rather it’s cocao solid component, to fat cells.

Mel has a colleague who has been working on obesity and has generously agreed to advise and contribute resources for our research, ie. cells -both primary and cell line, consumables - media, and protocols.  So I’m hooked. Rachael Sammons has agreed to help us with SEM imaging of the gold fat cells.

Our first investigations - when I say “our” I mean that I have significant amounts of enthusiasm and conceptual ideas but little “how to do”, especially with ordinary lab bench work. Mel has significant bioscience research experience but also considerable artistic experience - so it’s an entirely asymmetrical partnership!

 Fat cells lab book entry

a note from my lab book that reads:

subcutaneous obese female 1° Adipocytes

visceral adipo - obese female  1° Adipocytes

These were the labels on the two dishes of human primary cells. The cells were contaminated with a variety of bacteria - filements, rods and cocci,  and so had to be destroyed immediately. The bacteria would of come with the cells - from the donor body perhaps of the someone who’d has the cells removed during an operation of some kind. My first task after looking to them was to sprinkle the wells of infected cells with virkon to kill the bacteria and the cells. Knowing that these had come from a human female, woman, person, individual who I could of passed in Sainsburys, sat on a us beside dramatically altered my viewing of them and positioning. They were far more entering an area of subject as opposed to mere material matter like the 3T3 - L1 cell line we were also given. This ongoing destabilising and recapitulation of bodily matter and it’s circulation within and around institutions, ethics and classifications is one of my ongoing preoccupations. I need to work Butler’s Bodies That Matter into this and my other activities in the lab, and Karen Barad but more on that later. (But do read this if you have time Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter, Karen Barad )

We  grated Green and Black 85% dark chocolate and added the following to about 0.5 ml of chocolate.



DMEM F 12 (a liquid medium used to grow certain types of cells in)

FBS (foetal bovine serum)

Then put it in the 37 degree oven to melt, meld and mix.

FBS container


fat chocolate day 1 01

FBS, DMEM F 12, grater, dish with grated 85%.

More of each was added to make up 5ml and to encourage dissolve.

fat chocolate day 1 03

Chocolate was also added to  DMSO.

A combination of 2:3 ethanol:FBS was also tried.

chocolate solutions day 1 01

Butanol was added to the chocolate H2O - but not alot happened, apart from the suspended chocolate forming a barrier between the butanol and H2O and my getting a little woozy.

Cremofor - a sun flower oil derivative was added to the H2O one as well, I think, and a glutinous mess formed around the stick.

cremefor container

cremofar, H2O and chocolate


More of each was added to make up 5ml and to encourage dissolve.

They were centrtifuged and redissolved to try and get another more lipid extract.

We had discussions about whether the lipids (fat) was the cocoa fat of perhaps lipids for the FBS for example. FBS is also full of albumin, a generic protein that lipids attach to, so it’s a good carries as we want to fat cells to uptake the cocoa solids from the media.

We tried liposomes which are used to deliver material into cells, like DNA, their membrane is bi-lipid so it is not antagonistic to the cell membrane.

Liposomes reminded me of Protocells (it’s a bi-lipid thing) and Rachel Armstrong’s great talk and research on living architecture - she was recently awarded a TED global fellowship.  But that’s an other story.

Add all other links.

Write the plan for the next day.

Ethics of using human primary cells.

Cultural ideas around fat and chocolate

Cite fat as feminist issue etc. Fat is Feminist Issue.

Chocolate and gold.

Precedents for use of fat as an art material.

Elanor Antin, Carving, A Traditional Sculpture, 1972.

Janine Antoni.

Joseph Beuys’ use of fat

Orlan, fat reliqueries.

Stelarc and Nina Sellars, Blender

Adam Fiannaca and Cynthia Verspaget’s INCUBRA held a test tube containing adipose cells from Stelarc and Sellar’s Blender.

Croatian artist Zoran Todorovic, soap made from the artist’s liposuctioned fat. See Suncica Ostoic discuss Todorovic’s work here.





Posted in cooking, Bioarchitecture, fat, Molecular biology, cell culture, Ethics, tissue culture, Bioart | 1 Comment »

Yeast speculations, laboratory sourdough starter?

Monday, May 25th, 2009

On Saturday, before I went into the lab to do tissue culture (see previous entry) I did some DIY biotech at home, using technology somewhat older than tissue culturing I baked bread using a commercially available bakers yeast. Yeast is one of the most common and undesirable contaminants in tissue culture, guaranteed to compete with the cells for the goodies in tissue culture medium it will lay havoc with the delicate cell culture ecology and destroy it. So it’s status is radically redefined between the spaces of my home kitchen and the university research lab, from essential organic componant to contaminant.

I was careful to not carry any into the tissue culture room with me on my hands or clothing however it made me very conscious of the presence of everyday airborne yeasts and as Janet later pointed out, the yeast incubator that is adjacent to her lab. There’s also a fruit fly lab next door where vast amounts of yeasty materials are cultured to as fly food. The tissue culture hood and the extended tissue culture room itself is an architecture of filtered air flows designed to keep airborne contaminants out.

I would like to culture the bread yeast and take a look at it and in doing so to explore the possibilities of third spaces, neither the domestic nor the research laboratory, where I can explore yeasts and cells cultures, for a moment suspending both of their defined framings. And perhaps to capture and cultivate some airborne yeasts. I’d like to tackle sourdough bread baking and the idea of making my own starter from yeasts in my environment appeals to the idea of local ecologies and the permeabilities we enact with organisms through our domestic practices. Perhaps I can make a wild sourdough starter from wild (?) laboratory yeasts. Janet has added beer making and compost making to the list of exhanges between domestic biotech and The Lab. She uses bokashi to break down in her kitchen to break down waste into garden nutriants.

Posted in DIY biotech, microbiology, cooking, Molecular biology, cell culture, Biocraft, tissue culture, Bioart | No Comments »


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