Since the mid 2000s researchers have been developing the technique of DNA origami, wherein DNA is folded into nanoscale structures. These DNA origami structures are the present and future of nanobots; the inherently modular system offers promise for therapeutic uses, such as nanobots targeting cancer cells as well as the safe delivery of gene editing tools into cells.
While nanobots are being developed for utilitarian purposes, the technology itself is amoral, and could be used for a non-utilitarian purpose by someone with malicious intent. In order to protect ourselves from such threats, one must entertain them. Because of this, I began to wonder, in the age of COVID where our public biosecurity should be at an all-time high, how easily could one deliver nanobots onto/into unsuspecting targets?
To explore this, an absurd penetration test was performed on our public biosecurity system using phallic DNA nanobots. Penetration tests involve analyzing systems for exploits and weaknesses which would allow an unauthorized user to bypass security measures. The results of the test were disturbing and documented in the artwork ‘Biosecurity Penetration Test’, developed during Callum’s residency at SymbioticA, which explores themes of trust, safety, invisible threats, and the absurdity of biotechnology.
The work was first performed at KISS club 2021 presented by PICA and pvi collective. Photos by Dan Grant.