Gabriel Coren

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9327

Approve Date

October 5, 2016

Project Title

Coren, Gabriel Glantz, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'New Materials for Life: Experimentation with 'Biocompatibles' at the Biopolis-Dresden, Germany,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong

GABRIEL COREN, then a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley, California, was awarded funding in October 2016 to aid research on ‘New Materials for Life: Experimentation with ‘Biocompatibles’ at the Biopolis-Dresden, Germany,’ supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong. The fieldwork supported by this grant involved participant-observation in life and material science laboratories in Dresden, Germany. It was motivated by the relatively recent emergence of new kinds of biomaterials, which are materials designed for interaction with living matter or beings. Through the figure of the biomaterial, the project investigated how shifting notions of life and inchoate techniques for its commercial fabrication reconfigure the relationship between the biological and material sciences as they create new objects of potential value for clinical therapeutics: in particular, those with ambition to mobilize stem-cell technologies to regenerate tissues and organs in patients whose bodies have been damaged due to injury or disease. By ethnographically accompanying an array of experimental systems in which a particular variety of biomaterial is becoming integrated, this research charted and conceptualized the ways that contemporary modifications to living matter reconstitute not only what it is to be biological, but to be natural, technological, diseased, embodied, chemical, and designed as well. The project situates biomaterial-based conceptions of and interventions into life within a renewed vision of German engineering and polymer science, one that is particular to Dresden’s political and economic history as well as its current urban and industrial revitalization.