Vivoarts workshop with Adam Zaretsky

Entitled in full flourishing diversity: ‘DIY-Hydroponic HYBRID DNA ISOLATION Skill-Share Lab: How to Extract DNA from Anything Living in the Laboratory or in your Kitchen: A Compare and Contrast Vegetarian Laboratory and Hobbyist Workshop’.

This was a hands-on lab and bio-political discussion, led by renowned bioartist Adam Zaretsky (US), on the difference between whole plant preparations and purified, ‘isolated’ extracts and risk assessment of intentional release ‘utilisation’ of Hybrid DNA. Participants were encouraged to bring samples of fruit, weeds, trees, nuts, seeds and roots from urban foraged plant-life. We threw all samples into the mix.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is found in all living cells. Cells are a part of all whole organisms: plants, fungus, bacteria, protozoa, animals. Some viruses have DNA in them too. Varieties of living samples can have their DNA isolated together in an admixture. Hybrid DNA can be isolated from a collage of various food, pets, pests, human bodies, laboratories and free or not so free living portions of the outdoors.

For the Herbologies workshops during Pixelache Helsinki Festival, our DIY-Hydroponic HYBRID DNA ISOLATION Skill-Share Lab the Window Farm garden was functioning as a hydroponic pharmacy. The Window Farm garden provided us with a two important plants from which we isolated a mixture of DNA using household materials.

This workshop was free of charge, held in English language, but had a limited number of spaces for involved persons (Maximum 25 participants), although another 15 are welcome to watch the proceedings.


Adam Zaretsky (US) is a bioartist, performer, researcher and art theorist. A former researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he recently founded VASTAL: The Vivoarts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd. which focuses on legal, ethical and social implications of some of the newer biotechnological materials and methods: Molecular Biology, ART [Assisted Reproductive Technology], genomics, developmental biology and Transgenic Protocols. Vastal Public labs aid people in their own exploration of the intersections between art and life: Ecology, Biotechnology, Non-human Relations, Live Art and Gastronomy.