Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Making a field of interpretation for biosolar cells

This project investigates the role of art in the public and academic debate on biosolar energy

Duration
2012  -   2017
Funding
Towards Biosolar Cells Towards Biosolar Cells

BioSolar Cells wants to contribute to a sustainable energy and food supply. Whether it concerns growing tomatoes more efficiently, biofuels from algae or a new kind of solar cell, sustainability, food and energy supply are controversial topics. So are a number of modern technologies employed by BioSolar Cells, like genetic modification and nanotechnology. This project researches the role and function of art in intensifying the public debate on these topics.

The application of BioSolar cells in a new energy system will have a profound impact on the production and use of energy resources. This project explores a new way of engaging the public by addressing the questions raised by BioSolar Cells that concern society at large, outside the realm of scientific research or industrial production, with artistic probes for debate. The core of this project is to implement and reflect on a new form of science communication, in which active participation of the public is central. We are seeking to establish a shared or public responsibility for the cultural, social and ethical implications of the research into BioSolar cells. This new communication form involves bioart: an art form in which both research on biosolar cells and public debate are visible. The focus is on science communication and engaging the public in scientific thinking by means of art, but without communication with beautiful pictures; hence without using art to achieve a specific goal.

In the project, artists, scientists and scholars create an open space for public discussion of the implications of the biobased economy. The art works and interactive artistic performances are presented and discussed at public events with the objective of shaping ethical guidelines. These events will be analyzed by a PhD student who will draw conclusions on how to produce new ethical guidelines and reflect on the role of art in public and academic discussions.

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