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Emilia Tikka – EUDAIMONIA (Art’s Work/Genetic Futures) | GES Colloquium

November 26, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

EUDAIMONIA - Biotechnologization of the Soul?

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Storytelling in Synthetic Biology: Eudaimonia – Biotechnologization Of The Soul?

Speaker: Emilia Tikka, Artist, Designer, and Researcher

Website | Art’s Work/Genetic Futures: Artist Profile | Recent press: Nature and Frankfurter Allgemeine


Artist Emilia Tikka will talk about her interdisciplinary practice combining storytelling methods, feminist technoscience and speculative design, following with an introduction to her work Eudaimonia.

Eudaimonia – Biotechnologization Of The Soul? is a philosophical-speculative future scenario where human psyche and character has become a matter of molecular biology and can be altered with personalised genome editing device. Today scientists claim to have found that specific genes fundamentally determinate human behaviour. Explicit features of character and psychological qualities, such as empathy and creativity, are traced even to a single allele of a gene. These claims open up the question of whether the “optimization” of the human psyche would become an issue of genome editing and biotechnology. The work raises questions about possible impacts of the novel genome editing technology CRISPR through a critical near future scenario. The art work is realized as a fictional genome editing device, as a desirable consumer product and as a short film imagining the possible societal impacts of the technology: a dark poetic story of three individuals seeking help from mysterious gene editing technology in their quest to find happiness in contemporary western capitalistic world. The near future scenario thematizes the phantasmatic drive towards happiness as the ultimate goal of human existence.

Speaker Bio

Emilia Tikka is a designer and artist – Her interdisciplinary design and research practice explores philosophical dimensions and cultural implications of novel biotechnologies such as synthetic biology and genome editing technology CRISPR. Her methods of research vary from designing objects, constellations, concepts and future speculations to writing and hands-on laboratory experiments.

Emilia Tikka is a PhD Candidate at Aalto University, The School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki and a Research Associate at Tampere University in Finland. She is also a former artist in residence at Max-Delbrück-Centre for Molecular Medicine and State Festival, the first European artistic residency on CRISPR.

Her works – ranging from objects, scenarios, films – has been awarded and exhibited in several international design exhibitions, film festivals and art museums including Ars Electronica in Austria, Imagine Science film festival in NYC, STATE Studio in Germany, New York University Arts Centre in United Arabic Emirates, Västerås Art Museum in Sweden, EMMA Contemporary Art Museum in Finland, Contemporary Art Museum CoCA in Poland and Helsinki Technical Museum to mention few. Her work has been featured in publications such as Nature, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt and Frankfurter Allgemeine.

Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology: Shaping Our Genetic Futures (Art’s Work/Genetic Futures) is an art-science exhibit and symposium of artists, scientists, and humanities scholars, led by the the NC State University Libraries and the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, held at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, the physical and digital display spaces of the NC State Libraries and the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA). These activities will elicit discussion about genetics in society through the lens of contemporary art and offer viewers new ways to think about their role in the genetic revolution.

By combining science and art and design, the artists, and artworks chosen for display, will contextualize genetic engineering by bringing it out of the lab and into public places; challenging viewer’s understandings about the human condition, the material of our bodies, and the consequences of biotechnology. The exhibit(s), integrated curriculum, and cross-campus dialogues will raise awareness and discussion about biotechnologies and their consequences in our society, while drawing in art practices for reaching new communities.

Art’s Work/Genetic Futures: October 17, 2019 – March 15, 2020
Details and related events at:


November 26, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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