speculating alternative realities





Skin Database



Skin Database speculates on the possibility of DNA-digital data storage on human skin, which inquiries an alternative relationship between the human body and data storage. It imagines that due to the data overload in the year 2040, hardware-based storage is not able to support striking data growth. Therefore, people start to archive data on the skin by taking advantage of the outstanding capacity and longevity of DNA-strands. It aims to open discussion on how fast developing DNA-editing technology such as CRISPR could make an impact on our daily routine and potentially shape new social norms.
Client:
TACTAG

Timeline:
May - Nov 2040

The challange:
How we live with our digital memories?

The outcome: 
TACTAG: a product that enable people to store digital memory on their skin.

Embody: an advertising film based on a real customer story







The exponential growth rate of data is exceeding the ability to get stored even with the forecast improvements microchip-grade silicon-based storage technologies. As an alternative solution, scientists are developing a cutting-edge technology that uses DNA sequences to archive digital data. And they have successfully assembled synthesized oligonucleotides in vitro and add the nucleotides into the genome of E-coli according to the paper “CRISPR - Cas Encoding of a Digital Movie into the Genomes of a Population of Living Bacteria”, which proves the possibility of storing and retrieving data from living cells. 





This project inquiries not only a potential practice of biotechnology with an enormous impact on us but also invites reflection on possible modifications on the human body made to better adapt to the digital world. As a speculative design, it is both realistic and fictional. As a creative way to test and examine the hypothesis produced by emerging technology, this design facilitates ways to look forward to helping people better prepared for potential challenges.






This is an ongoing project and we are currently builidng the larger system of using DNA as data storage. Stay tunned!





皮肤存储器探讨了当前新兴的DNA电子数据存储技术在人体皮肤上的可能性。该作品设想在2040年由于电子数据量爆炸式的增长而存储设备超载,人们开始使用DNA电子数据存储技术和DNA编辑技术将数据存储在皮肤上,以此引发对DNA编辑技术的快速发展如何可能塑造新的社会规范的开放讨论。作为一种推测性的设计,它既是现实也是虚构的,意在引导人们关注DNA编辑技术对日常生活可能带来影响以及科技与人类关系的另一种的思考。该作品用创造性的手法对这个新兴技术提出一种假想情景从而帮助人们更好地准备面对潜在的挑战。








︎Special thanks to Dana Foss from Innovative Genomics Institute