Wetware Ontologies

Wetware Ontologies is a research tumblr dedicated to exploring the present paradigm and set of metaphors we have for understanding biological processes. Molecular and synthetic biology make great bounds in the biological sciences by framing the processes of biological life as akin to digital processes. DNA is data, the ribosome is a machine that reads that data and subsequently executes programs.

The definition of wetware is diverse: it initially denoted how our brains could be figured as homologous companions to software and hardware so that the interface between all three was more integrated. With synthetic biology, wetware can also refer to the synthesised proteins and genetic sequences which are human assembled machines, written in the substrates (DNA and enzymes) native to biological ‘machines’.

Ontology can refer to the existential categories by which we sort our reality into. It is an ordering through which we can know our reality. Ontology can also refer to an agreed ordering in information sciences: an ontology formally represents knowledge as a set of concepts within a domain, and the relationships among those concepts.

The main aim is to trace the impact of the powerful conceptual drives of ‘the universal turing machine’ ‘computation’ and ‘simulation’ upon biological processes. Said processes can be figured as digitally machinic, but which might also possess a machinism all of their own.

The theoretical domain of biopolitics is being deliberately elided. This is because the author does not consider himself well versed enough in the critical theoretical literature and practice of this area to dabble within it.

The use of tumblr remains an experiment. Tumblr lends itself very well to visual artefacts, which is a very particular way of disseminating knowledge. Methods of visualisation are a topic of interest for the author.

Given that this will be a visual mediation of biological matter, an additional focus will be on the spectrum of ways that biological matter can be mediated.