Aeon
Emilia Tikka selected for the Tokyo Art & Science Research Residency
posted by Erich Berger on 7 March 2019

Our open call for the Tokyo Art & Science Research Residency 2019 hosted by BioClub Tokyo in partnership with the Finnish Institute in Japan for Finnish and Finland based artists was answered with more then 20 excellent applications. We thank everybody who applied for their effort. The selection commitee consisted of members of the BioClub Tokyo, the Finnish Institute in Japan and Bioartsociety.

After a careful reviewing process the commitee unanimously selected designer and filmmaker Emilia Tikka for the residency. Emilia is interested in the philosophical and societal implications of "prolonged life". In her residency she will focus on the genome editing technology CRISPR and the Yamanaka factors in pluripotent stemcells within the longevity discourse.

Emilia says "The residency will give me on the one hand an opportunity to explore non-western perspectives on cultural concepts of longevity and also to gain deeper understanding of the Yamanaka factors connected to auto-rejuvenation abilities of animals – focusing on the Japanese “immortal” Jellyfish Turritopsis."

Emilias artistic research is based on Speculative Storytelling method drawing from Speculative Design , Speculative Fabulation and hands on laboratory experiments. She applies this methods to create narratives, objects, scenarios and future speculations alternative to transhumanist utopias and dystopic fictions, dealing with dreams and wishes driving biotechnological innovations. When biotech companies and research institutes of Silicon Valley such as RejuvenateBio and Sens Foundation from Aubrey de Grey are facilitating a hype about reversing cellular aging with genome editing technologies. However, they strongly avoid to discuss the societal implication of these possible futures. Therefore, her work focuses on opposing these simplified perspectives by discussing the complex underlining philosophical and societal questions of: what would happen to the perception of time if ageing could be reversed? How does the cultural concepts of death and afterlife shape our perception of the idea of radically prolonged lifespan?

Emilia Tikka is a designer, artist and researcher and currently Visiting Scholar at the Helmholtz Centre for Cultural Techniques at Humboldt University Berlin. She has been recently selected as artist in residence at MDC labs Berlin and State Festival, the first European artistic residency on the CRISPR. Her interdisciplinary practice explores philosophical dimensions and cultural implications of novel biotechnologies such as synthetic biology and genome editing technology CRISPR.