Grow Your Own Ink
Grow Your Own Ink is a fascinating project in which ink is produced by bacteria ! Ink is polluting to produce and difficult to recycle. At La Paillasse, a young designer and a biohacker had the idea to grow ink from a soil bacteria that naturally produces beautiful blue pigments. In addition to their Organic and recyclable characteristics they also have the magic property to change color depending on the acidity so it’s possible to get a nice range of colors ! From this exciting exploration, the project divided into 2 branches :
I. Developping this renewable ink on a larger scale : the start-up Pili gathers biologists, chemists, economists, designers and engineers to bring the project forward.
II. Organising workshops to share the pleasure of making a "living" ink. Both designed for children and adults, these events are an opportunity to exchange on the new behaviours and uses that biotechnologies proposes and therefore discuss the scenarios we want to influence together with citizens !

Although very young and foreign to the world of the laboratory and the biology, we believe that kids are able to learn this language because of their curiosity which is the heart of this project. Children have no trouble projecting in imaginary universes. We guide them through the discovery of these unknown worlds. Each workshop starts on a series of questions and answers on these microscopic living form, with animated scenarios that trigger the anecdotes and the characteristics of their everyday life !
Gaïté Lyrique - Paris
Pousse ton encre
25/10/14, 1/11/14, 17/01/15, 24/01/15
These workshops took place during the exhibition «Capitaine Futur» for children aged 5 to 8 years old
Once the ink is manufactured by children, we offer them to draw with this ink some bacterias that are still unknown or modified in order to produce an action (so that they understand the main ideas about synthetic biology). Then, we discuss the implication of their visions through their proposal. It’s amazing to realise that children understand very well the issues currently discussed in this field !

Some examples of imaginary bacterias drawn and described by children :

#Rudder Bacterias can tell the time when you turn them
#Top Bacterias to swallow. They would have the ability to turn very quickly in circles to help us digest better.
#Radar-Music Bacterias floating in the universe. As soon as they identify music, they return it to bacterias on other planets
#Lumeric Bacterias create light during the night on our way «for those who are afraid of darkness».
With an adult audience, the purpose is different. It is not just interesting to build a discussion but also to deconstruct fantasies and fears associated with the laboratory and more particularly with micro-organisms, only seen as vectors of disease. To create the conditions for a dialogue, we therefore decided to translate the universe of the laboratory into the one of the kitchen, typically convivial. It is almost like a real meal, with forks, funnels, lemons, a booklet standing for the recipe book.. there are even plastic glasses of champagne which serve as separatory funnels !

Science Gallery - Dublin
A bunch of workshops in January, 2014. Dublin, Ireland.
These workshops took place during the
exhibition «Grow your own...»