MutaMorphosis:Nomadic Science Lab

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Nomadic Science Workshop aka Pre Symposium BioHackLab


Short Info

DIYbio and Open Biology tribute to Renaissance alchemist, makers, artisans, and tinkerers of Prague

  • 3 - 8. December, 2012
  • 5 days of collaborative hacking, making, brewing, reflecting, discussing.
  • invite 3-4 international BioHackers/Artists
  • collaborate with the local hackerspace, brmlab, andrej, rdka


We want to revive the creative science experimentations mixed with craft tradition, rich religious and mythological iconography, but also arts, which enabled the unique global exchanges in the 17.century Europe and gave rise to modern science. We want to return to these origins to develop our project of a nomadic science, which does not settle and identify with one institution nor one discipline and goal. It operates under the hackerspace paradigm, as a Renaissance utopian artisan network with their particular style of circulation and exchange of information (see Vera Keller, a historian of science). The Hackteria network revived this tradition of learned friendships and exchanges and introduced the forgotten format of “album amicorum”, book of friends, by members traveling and gathering personal texts and illustrations from colleagues and exchanging “wishlists” (desiderata) on various eccentric projects.

Present day tinkerers, disciplinary wanderers and artisans are invited to Prague to enjoy the “folly of empirics” and join us for a week of celebration of “maker’s knowledge”, eccentric science and inventions. While open biology and DIYbio often identify with attempts to democratize science and create open source, cheaper equipment and protocols, we want to open science to new, imaginative uses and collaborations, which support utopian and eccentric projects. Nomadic science is the opposite of institutionalized science. It supports lab “pastoralism” and moving from one location to the next in order to create autonomous zones for science tinkering and exchanges, which never settle for one goal or model of research and refuses progressivism in favor of radical openness and even knowledge anarchism.

In Prague we plan to commence a "lab archeology" by connecting old and new lab equipment, spaces, and protocols, and defining desiderata of nomadic science. Rather than creating more efficient and cheap DIYbio equipment, we want to design more creative and imaginative, even imaginary equipment, and embrace the aesthetic possibilities of hacking and anarchistic marking. We want to develop further the idea of "media is the message" into “lab equipment is the science” approach. Instead of 3D printers and plastic we want to rehabilitate glass as the material of choice for open biology and democratize more materials for creative appropriations of science. We want to translate science protocols into artistic and alchemist iconography, read these new protocols against old texts, combine practices and equipment, rethink some new uses of old distillation and fermentation apparati, translate and compare on this material level the various practices and ideas. While science supports institutional knowledge with well-defined methodology, theory, and labor division, we want to revive alchemy as a space of improvisation and tinkering, which gave rise to plural ideas of political, economic and philosophic reform. The Senecan commonplace, “There was never a great talent (ingenium) without some mixture of madness” (Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit), in the motto for nomadic science as a utopian project of plural science & society interactions.


Vera Keller


We will have our open Bio/Food-Hacking lab in a Bar called Vzorkovna, on Bartolomějská 13, Old Town / Prague 1. Very close by foot from the Mutamorphosis Conference Venue. The space will be open for visits and discussion from 12 - 23h.

Seting up Nomadic Science Lab 3.11.2012



Special Events

Tuesday, 4th. Dec, 15-18h, Visit by New Media Studies Program

Tuesday, 4th, 20h, Visit to brmlab

We will present our activities to the geeks at brmlab

Sticker war langton.jpg

Thursday, 6th, Lightning talks at brmlab

Brmlab 3DPrinter.jpg brmlab 3D Printer
1. brmlab juggling notation sideswap 2. urs and nomadic lab guidilab 3. brmlab x-ray machine 4. BrianDegger and why you should come to Newcastle in 2013 5. Robertina on ljudmella media space, Slovenia 6. Space institute Slovenia Miha Space Culturalisation

Saturday, 8th, Panel at Mutamorph, see below


please add ideas and links

Tasks day 2 3.jpg

mobility of taste

1. mobility of taste (slipping out of the control of a Dead Cook/Author/God)

Trojan dishes

2. Trojan dishes (dishes either playing parts of other dishes/ingredients or hiding other materials, both living and dead, raw and cooked)

sous-vide hacks

DIY andrej sous-vide.jpg

Nomadic Furniture

Nomadic life means travel and reduce your equipment to the necessary. Still you want some good working condition. A chair, a bench, a small storage. How to build nomadic furnitre? From wood, suitcase, fabric. Let's explore. Recommended Reading:,-case-studies,-and-philoso/

Desc Edison.png

Desc Nomadic Furniture.jpg

Desc plan.jpg
Nomad is a person who moves from place to place as a way of obtaining food, finding pasture for livestock, or otherwise making a living.

Desc nomad.jpg
Nomadic_woman_Niger, source wikimedia
Desc edel nomad.jpg

Digital Nomads:
Desc technomad.jpg

Desc nomad bags.jpg
Nomadic Bags

Desc nomad science bag.jpg
Nomadic Science Lab Bag.





Given a random mix of spices how do you determine what the constitute ingredients are?

What pieces of information do you know?:

  • number of ingredients
  • identity of some of the ingredients
  • etc.
  • What kind of questions do you need to figure out to get to the next step?




1. Smell the mix. Can you identify any of the components by smell?

2. Can you mechanically separate the ingredients by color, shape and size using a pair of tweezers?

3. Can you taste each of the separated ingredients and identify them?

4. When you look at them under the microscope do you notice any differences? Can you compare the microscopy images with other images online?


5. Is Chromatography a way to separate the constituent parts?


LIST of spices.

REVERSE ENGINEERING "Spice Cellar" Curry Spice Seasoning



  • Coriander (smell)
  • Tumeric (sight)
  • After mechanical separation there were 7 identifiable ingredients (photo)
  • Fennugreek (taste)
  • Caraway Seed (taste & sight)
  • Garlic / Onion salt? (taste & sight)
  • MSG (taste & sight?)



AKA KFC >>> CFK: Crowdsourced Flavor Kit

Advice recieved for when @centgg asked Anyone know how to analyze a spice blend? Someone emailed wondering how they can find out whats in a spice blend that Grandma left behind.

  • @noii: mix with liquid and separate out with chromatography? a search suggests they use hplc to test spice strength
  • @noii: you would need to compare the stripes from your spice mix with tests with known spices
  • @cetgg: Thanks Ben. I will pass those along. And now I am wondering if it is possible to reverse engineer the KFC spice blend using these? :)
  • @gharp: spice measurement standard
  • @gharp: "spices just a guess: possibly revealed with spectrophotometry or chromatography. might be a nice set of bumps and lines to construct"


Micro_spice Forensiscs

Overview secrets asia.jpg

MSG Crystallography

Msg crystals overvew.jpg


Let's make one for investigating food! For future.....this has super potential. arduino/avr + opamp + diy glass pipette probe.

tools and instruments

Rather than creating more efficient and cheap DIYbio equipment, we want to design more creative and imaginative, even imaginary equipment... see also the Philosophical Toys Panel @ Mutamorphosis (Friday 7th, 11-13, Academy 2)

Micro-Algae Pickling

Algae pickling overview.jpg

Fluorescent Karot (carrot)

Agar Egg

Egg Agar Egg.jpg
Agar Egg with Lemon structure inside.
Egg Carrot Egg.jpg
Carrot Egg made from mashed carrot and bonded with agar
Agar Lemon.jpg
Agar Lemon. Lemon poured of with agar.

"Fluorecent Agar Egg" the movie: Link

MutaMorphosis: Tribute to Uncertainty

Part of Mutamorphosis

details of the Attractor call

Nomadic Lab Impressions

Nomadic 1.jpg

Nomadic 2.jpg

Error creating thumbnail: File missing

Session at Symposium

Saturday, 8. Dec, 16-18h, New Stage

Combined Panel first part with:

  • Marc R. Dusseiller, Nomadic Labs /
  • Denisa Kera, Spice Archaeology
  • Zack & Cathrine, center for genomic gastronomy
  • Brian Degger, Yoghurt as PicoApothecaries
  • Urs Gaudenz, True Nomadic Lab
  • Dominik Mahnič, Nomadic Artists Kitchen
  • HotKarot

Presentations by: Marc, Denisa, Brian, Zack&Cat, HotKarot

Large panel/discussion, more guests:

  • Andrej
  • Pavel Sedlak
  • Maria & Bugs
  • Friedrich
  • Spela & Robertina

Topics to discuss in the final discussion round:

  • Projects from the Nomadic Science Lab
  • The Conference and the Lab, invite Andrej and Pavel onto the stage
  • Invitation to Vzorkovna

From the earlier program

Extreme Metabolic Interactions: Cooking for Apocalypse | Attractor: Denisa Kera (SG)

Nomadic Science BioHackLab | Attractor: Marc R. Dusseiller (CH)

  • Sumugan Sivanesan (AU) & Tessa Zettel (AU) | Radical Banquet Aesthetics
  • Jennifer Willet (CA) | BioARTCAMP: experiments in performing alternative biotechnological futures. >>> CAN SKYPE ONLY
  • Maria Joao Grade Godinho (UK) | What is happening at the boundary: mutagenic art/mutant science
  • Corina Catana (RO) | Internet Memes – a New Tool in Risk Management
  • Brian Degger (UK) | Freeing the Genetically Manipulated
  • Špela Petrič (SI) & Robertina Šebjanič (SI) | Towards the (in)Human Spore