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(Archive) Bio Stories

Re-envisioning relationships with nature

This project was part of DDW 2021
Faber Futures

BIO STORIES [Eindhoven] provides a forum to explore our relationship with nature and define a positive vision for what it could be.

Join the circle

For millennia, people have gathered in circles to discuss the world that surrounds them – sharing ideas, asking questions, establishing meaning and purpose. As we stand at the dawn of a new science, the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology gathers to discuss how and why we design and repurpose the building blocks of nature. Faber Futures aims to extend the conversation from specialist global discussions to include plural perspectives rooted in local contexts – to open up the circle to all.

Together we will examine how we can work with nature to shape a future that centres the values of equity, sustainability, solidarity and humility – and build a world in which we all want to live.

We need to talk

The dialogues are held within a space that welcomes plural perspectives by disrupting and redesigning two symbols of power brokering: the flag and the round table. BIO STORIES presents the flag, not as an emblem from the narrative of the nation state, but as a symbol of the hidden networks that embody and sustain the interdependency of nature. The furniture allows each participant to place their own seat at the table, breaking down hierarchies and bringing us all to the same level.

At the centre of the circle, selected artefacts act as both material and immaterial manifestations of synthetic biology – a nascent discipline developing approaches to design and repurpose the building blocks of nature. The possibilities that synthetic biology offers us are extraordinary. For the first time in human history, we have the power to develop and implement a vision for life on Earth. But whose vision should it be? Are we to be the masters of nature, its custodians, or its collaborators? These curated artefacts are the starting points of the conversation, prompting discussion of the innovations they represent, the possibilities they create, and the tensions they raise.

A global network

In 2020 the World Economic Forum formed a new Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology. Synthetic biology is developing approaches to design and repurpose the building blocks of the living world, and the Council’s mission is to explore which futures are made possible and which may be desirable. Natsai Audrey Chieza, founder and CEO of Faber Futures, is a member of this Council and has led the team at Faber Futures in the development of new strategies for stakeholder engagement to stimulate and inspire the Council’s work. The resulting framework is BIO STORIES.

BIO STORIES is the product of a multi-stakeholder collaboration led by Faber Futures and has been developed in close communication with members of the Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology, and the council’s program manager, Elissa Prichep.

The project would not be possible without the support, contributions and guidance of Dr. Megan J. Palmer and Dr. Melissa Salm and in association with the Bio Policy & Leadership in Society (Bio.Polis) Initiative and the (humans+earth) grotto at Stanford University.

Faber Futures with Roxy Zeiher