Biominerals, minerals produced by living organisms, perform important roles in the structural support and defense of many organisms. These minerals form the natural structural foundations of many organisms like the shells of mollusks and the skeletons of many terrestrial animals. The first evidence of bio-mineralization dates to some 750 million years ago and some sponge-like organisms may have formed calcite skeletons as long ago as 630 million years.
What you will do
For this workshop you will use fibers from silk moths enhanced with a gene for a bio-mineralizing protein from the marine sponge, Tethya aurantia. This particular sponge uses an enzyme, silicatein, to form its silica (glass) endoskeleton from soluble silica found in seawater.
You will learn how to ‘magically’ transform your genetically modified silk into a metallic and precious fabric by stripping it bare, bathing the fabric in a chelating agent and infusing it into a solution containing a soluble form of metallic gold. The result? Your own threads of Golden Silk, the stuff of legends and fantasy.
More details about the process of bio-mineralization and procedure will be explained in the workshop. No prior knowledge is needed, however a feeling for the scientific vocabulary will help you on your way.
While we wait for the Bio-mineralization to happen, Joe will tell you some more about another project of his: Reversals of Fortune, a talk that includes an account of his work to resolve the microbiome of money dust.
The gold-biomineralized silk created by workshop participants can be picked up on Sun. 28 or Mon.29 between 10:00 - 19:00 at Mediamatic.
GM silk moths
For this workshop you will use the Bombyx mori silk moths which are genetically modified by Joe Davis in collaboration with Tara Gianoulis and Mariko Kasuya at Harvard Genetics, and Hideki Sezutsu at the Japanese National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan.
The alchemy of silk
Workshop: Bio-mineralizing - with Joe Davis
Friday Aug. 26, 12:00 - 18:00**
Tickets: Students + Artist*** €45,- / Regular €65,-
**Your bio-mineralized silk can be picked on Sun. 28 or Mon.29 between 10:00 - 19:00 at Mediamatic.
*** Please bring proof our your KVK nr or student card
Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijkspark 6, Amsterdam