The aim of the BioInk project is to produce DIY ink the same way that artists did in bygone days. But now, this is done with new methods from the field of biotechnology. BioInk makes use of the glowing fluorescent inks produced by the deep-sea crown jellyfish, a color system that’s never before been used in this form for artistic work. In the BIOKoSMoS project sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy’s Sparkling Science Funding Program, pupils attending five partner schools have been working for two years at the nexus of art, research and education.
To produce BioInk, molecular-biologically modified bacteria and wheat seedlings are combined in a lab to process multicolored glowing protein from crown jellyfish. Young researchers and artists first cleanse the materials in a lab, but in this form, it’s not yet suitable for artistic work. Using a wide variety or ideas and methods, the youngsters modify the protein so that it can be used as artistically processed material. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) is currently available as a watercolor-like paint or as glowing chalk. A few of the students have even been using the protein as a textile dye and a wood stain. A group of artists is currently experimenting with a paintable protein gel. And those are only a few of this work’s spinoffs.
These “new forms of paint” are for use in artistic encounters and projects. Could it be that, sometime in the 21st century, artists will be able to produce, adapt and mix their own paints in their own little garage lab and thus attain independence from industrial manufacturers? BioInk is the first step.
The work on the BIOKoSMoS project was done by 100 students attending five schools, some with an enriched program in science, others in art: BG/BRG Judenburg, BG/BRG Reutte, BG/BRG/BORG St. Johann/Pongau, Musisches Gymnasium Salzburg, Gymnasium/ORG Ort Gmunden. The artistic part of the project was coordinated by Reinhard Nestelbacher; the scientific advisor was Michael Wallner of the University of Salzburg. The BIOKoSMoS project has received support from the Sparkling Science Funding Program.
Core group of the project: Kerngruppe der ProjektteilnehmerInnen: Bianca Scharf (born 1999); Florian Steinwidder (born 1998); Georg Pickl (born 1998); Franziska Hollauf (born 1998); Christian Miedl (born 1999); Tamara Tomic (born 1998); Anne Antonisse (born 1999); Martin Tritthart (born 1999); Pascal Schnitzer (born 1999); Romana Lampl (born 1998); Elena Riedel (born 1999); Christina Dum (born 2001); Manuel Neumayer (born 2001); Vivian Auer (born 1999); Loreen Witte (born 2000); Edanur Sacan (born 1999); Katharina G. Lugger (born 1999);Jana Hobmayer (born 1998); Laura Neißl (born 1999); Lea Pammer (born 1998); Amelie Haid (born 1998); Antonia Klengel (born 1998); Tanja Prüwasser (born 2000); Christian Forstinger (born 2000); Nina Brandl (born 2000); Jasmin Walther (born 1998); Julian Heinke (born 1998)