Other Biological Futures | Issue 4, Journal of Design & Science. Edited by Dr. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Natsai Audrey Chieza, Betül Kaçar, Ytasha Womack and Justinas Vilutis

Other Biological Futures: Future Shaped By Pasts That Could Have Been

MIT Media Lab, MIT Press

Ytasha L. Womack is an afrofuturist, writer, and film director. Known for her influential primer, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture (2013), she also writes afrofuturist fiction, including Rayla 2212, a time travel and reincarnation series. She directed the afrofuturist dance film A Love Letter to the Ancestors From Chicago, and teaches afrofuturism dance therapy. Betül Kaçar is a synthetic biologist and astrobiologist, assistant professor at the University of Arizona in molecular biology and astronomy, and an investigator at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. She uses the tools of synthetic biology in an attempt to reconstruct life’s past and explore how it evolved, to examine the role of chance in evolution and to ask whether life elsewhere in the universe would resemble what we have here on Earth. Ultimately, her research aims to assess the possible environmental impacts of ancient DNA on global-scale biotic signatures. She is interested in ancient biology and function at the interface of synthetic biology, evolutionary biology, and geobiology. Kaçar describes her work as making “molecular time machines” as a way to explore common ancestors and try to rebuild lost histories. Guiding us across multiple pasts and futures, their conversation explodes possibility across time and space and explores molecular time travel through genetic and imaginative engines.

For full article go to Other Biological Futures.


Dr. Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Natsai Audrey Chieza


Conversation: Betül Kaçar, Ytasha Womack & Justinas Vilutis
Photography: Justinas Vilutis


Journal of Design & Science
Issue 4
Other Biological Features

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