Local Flower-shop as a decentralized data-centre

Data Prescriptions

On Site Lab

Our methods to store data in Plants:

Method 1: Data Injection

  1. Using a syringe take in the sequenced DNA solution

  2. Take plant and apply solution to the underside of a leaf

  3. Allow leaf veins to absorb the solution

Advantages

  • Simple and fast

  • Relatively Cheap

  • Convenient if looking for short term data usage

Disadvantages

  • Transient Expression, no incorporation of the exogenous DNA, most is degraded before integration.

Method nr.2: Floral dip

Floral dip transformation is notable for a number of reasons. First, it is strikingly simple to perform.

  1. Agrobacterium is applied to flowering plants

  2. Wait for the plant to reach full maturity and germinate

  3. Transgenic plants are then selected among the progeny seedlings.

Advantages:

  • Extremely simple

  • No need for plant regeneration

  • Avoid somaclonal variation

Method nr.3: Biolistic Shot (microprojectile bombardment)

Microscopic gold particles are used as ’bullets’ to deliver DNA into callus cells. The gold particles are coated with hundreds of copies of the data of interest. Once inside the nucleus of a cell, the genes dissolve off of the gold particle and can potentially insert into a chromosome.

Advantages:

  • Stable expression: some incorporation of exogenous DNA into plant genome

  • Longer lasting data

  • Expression of transgene through life cycle of plant

Disadvantages

  • Expensive equipment

  • Requires special training

  • Several copies of the data will often insert into a chromosomal position, and can be detected as DNA that should not be expressed by the plant cell, therefore copies are silenced.

Our data florist advised clients on how to care for their plant, to ensure their data could bloom and grow. We created a data-care card that lived with the plant, providing plant information and care instructions. Each visitor left with an encoded plant and a special download kit, allowing them to send us a sample of their plant, which we could use to read their data back when required.

Growing data in Thailand

Educational posters designed by: Kuba Bogacki, Krzysztof Seyfried, Olek Znosko

 Project Advisors: Cecilie Ida Cetti Hansen, Johan Andersen-Ranberg, Martin Malthe Borch

 

GROW YOUR OWN CLOUD

www.growyourown.cloud

Our appetite for data is insatiable. In a digital world, watching videos, taking photos or asking for directions, means more data flowing into an invisible cloud.

Yet this cloud is far less fluffy than we think, occupying swathes of land to house giant data farms and consuming huge amounts of electricity. Today global data centers use more energy than the entire UK, and by 2025 they will use more than 20% of our Global Energy.

In a post-industrial age of information, data is the new oil, and companies that deal in data are the largest in the world. Just like oil before it, our demand for data has a serious impact on the environment. The greenhouse gases emitted by data consumption already rival the aviation industry, and look set to grow exponentially.

We’re locked into a new consumption cycle, driving us towards a future of data warming. Our ecological awareness might be rising, yet our behaviors and technologies seem to lead us towards the same outcomes. How can we intervene and draw attention to something as seemingly abstract and immaterial as data consumption, before it’s too late, again.

Grow Your Own Cloud is a new biotech company storing data nature’s way, in the DNA of plants. This new type of cloud has the potential to store all of the world's data in just 1 kg of DNA. It works with organisms that create their own energy. It stores data in a format that never grows obsolete. And emits life giving oxygen instead of CO2.

We launched a website where people were asked to mindfully select data to encode, and book an appointment to upload their data to a plant, removing it from the distant privatized cloud and transferring it to something more intimate and tangible.

To bring this into reality, we transformed a local flower-shop into a decentralised data-centre. Set within this environment, we explored the plants and their unique characteristics with each visitor, introduced them to scientific concepts and new possibilities to unlock deeper curiosity and provoke ethical considerations.

Step 1

Each visitor received a personal consultation from a data-growth expert, who guided them through the data-to-DNA-to-plant encoding process, converting uploaded files like JPEGs and mp3s into ACGTs and synthetic DNA. We used data prescriptions to explore people’s data requirements while educating them on the possibilities of using DNA based data storage, such as storage capacity, ultra-longevity and the ability to cross-pollinate or re-plant data.

Step 2

Once we had helped the visitor select a plant, we visited the on-site lab, where a data scientist was on hand to demonstrate three laboratory techniques that could be used to encode synthetic DNA containing data, to an organism like a plant. The data scientist used the visitors’ prescription to decide upon a particular technique for data encoding, whilst explaining each of the possible techniques and their implications. Just before the insertion we deleted the files from our digital servers ensuring the client enjoys full ownership and privacy.

Step 3

Next, our data florist advised clients on how to care for their plant, to ensure their data could bloom and grow. We created a data-care card that lived with the plant, providing plant information and care instructions. Each visitor left with an encoded plant and a special download kit, allowing them to send us a sample of their plant, which we could use to read their data back when required.

Our aim was to immerse visitors in a new world of possibilities, inform them about a set of growing issues, empower them to think differently and leave them with a fresh perspective. The response was wonderful, both online with our experience fully booked, and extremely rich, positive and insightful feedback from everyone who visited on the day.

Grow Your Own Cloud is a self-initiated project made possible through collaboration. In particular we engaged with plant geneticists and biohackers in gene-editing labs to experiment and refine our ideas. We used the uncanny setting of the local flower shop-cum-data-centre, to exhibit artistic techniques outside of the gallery while bringing science to life outside of the laboratory.

All this was achieved without official support or funding, brought into fruition through our own resources and through cooperation with other curious, imaginative individuals.

We hope that this work, immersing visitors in a world of new possibilities, scientific processes, and ethical considerations particularly around current behaviors related to data and the usage of genetic modification, can be extended and serve as a platform for further investigation to explore and propose novel use cases for plant-based data storage, while creating a new affinity with nature.

Project Concept: Cyrus Clarke and Monika Seyfried

Graphic Design: Kuba Bogacki, Krzysztof Seyfried, Olek Znosko

Advisors: Martin Malthe Borch, Johan Andersen-Ranberg, Cecilie Ida Cetti Hansen

Gene Hacker: Juliana Levis

Growth Expert: Martin Reinicke