Dangerous Matter

Biohacking as a Technology of Cybernetic Biopolitics

Laura Hille

In this research project Laura Hille is following the moment that cybernetics got under the skin. As of late we can identify the establishment of a counterculture to the major institutions of life sciences and molecular biology: Biohacking. In home-made backyard labs and hackingspaces genetic sequences are getting decoded, bacteria and organic material cultured, biometrical sensors designed and RFID chips implanted. With hacking ethos and under the “Do It Yourself” claim, Biohacking provides a community of exchange and a place for experimenting for people who are interested in molecular biology, citizen science, and cyborgianic enhancement of the human. The famous maxim of the hacking culture “Give us the source code!” is getting adapted to the code of life, the DNA.

At the present nothing other than knowledge of life itself seems to be contested. Which concept of life is the object of the hacks? Can this be the moment of the reformulation of life? Hence, what is still the bios in Biopolitics?

Drawing on the works of Michel Foucault and his teacher Georges Canguilhem, the project will show, that the present biopolitical regime can be reformulated as a cybernetic one. Cybernetics and biopolitics are sharing the same regulatory fantasy: the control of life. Therefore “Cybernetic Biopolitics” can be used as a theoretical epistemology for a contemporary analyses of current practices of transhuman cyborgianization , biohacking and the informatization of life.