Agency [BE]

Assembly (Burning Ice #7) – Thing 000773 (Pseudomonas)


With: Pierre Cornelis (micro biologist), Steven Desanghere (activist), Blanche Magarinos-Rey (lawyer), Sigrid Sterckx (ethic philosopher), Ignacio Chapela a.o.

Agency draws up a 'list of things'. There is some hesitation about whether these things belong in the category of 'nature' or 'culture'. These controversies are mostly based on legal disputes over intellectual property. For Burning Ice #7, Agency is selecting a number of ‘things’ and speculates on how the idea of ‘commons’ can be included in art and science practices, with a special focus on folklore and traditional knowledge. Folklore is often described as being a common good, undefined, anonymous, untitled, unregistered, etc., and therefore incompatible with the intellectual property requirements of origin, identification, fixation, etc.


Assembly (Burning Ice #7) – Thing 000773 (Pseudomonas) 

Assembly (Burning Ice #7) – Thing 000773 (Pseudomonas) concerns a conflict between Ananda Chakrabarty, an Indian micro-biologist at the General Electric Company, and Sidney Diamond, a commissioner at the US Patent Office, about a genetically modified bacterium called Pseudomonas that is used to clean oil spills. For thousands of years cow dung slurry or “gomaya” has been used in India as a remedy for detoxifying pollutant waste. When sprinkled over oil spillage, the Pseudomonas bacteria in the cow dung soak up and degrade crude oil. During the 1980 court case “Chakrabarty v. Diamond” at the US Supreme Court, Judge Burger had to decide whether the genetically modified Pseudomonas microorganism was a new invention protected under patent law or a mere 'product of nature'.

Agency is an initiative that was founded by Kobe Matthys in 1992 and has its office in Brussels.