Today I went to a one day SymbioticA workshop. Missed the end, as I had to catch a plane, but got to see most of it.It was incredible. I learnt a great deal, and as I sped off to the airport, I felt like my frontal lobe was going to explode.
Why? Because it took you into the thick of laboratory processes, teaching us super basic lessons like how to use a pipette to measure 0.5ml as part of an apparently 'untouchable' (for non-scientists) process of DNA extraction and 'gel electrophoresis' (a DNA analysis). All this, while throwing up larger socio-political questions with the help of a adjacent projector, such as the use of DNA analysis in forensics and the genetic modification of tomatoes. It was, as one would expect, no more than a light touch of a fingernail (not yet even scratching the surface), but enough to demonstrate that more of us should be exposed to this experience. I was convinced that what might seem like hype about the radical changes afoot via biotechnological processes is very real, and very much with us.
And, on top of that, it was attended by a group of interesting, intelligent people.