Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


The Demiurge - Film inspired by research at UCL

19 February 2016


Research at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) has inspired a new science-fiction film, The Demiurge, on the origin and destiny of DNA. The Demiurge has its origin in part in artists' conversations with LCN scientist Dr Bart Hoogenboom on his research visualising the DNA double helix, 'like a blind man using his cane to visualise a wriggling snake'.

It narrates the quest of a (fictitious) scientist who exploits his knowledge of DNA and his ability to modify it, in an attempt to revive his dead wife. The result includes a mind bending performance of thousand genetically modified clones by actress Sophie Linfield, as well as visual art inspired by nature at the nanometre scale.

The film has been commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, and produced by British artists Al and Al. In its world premiere at the HOME arts centre in Manchester as part of their solo-exhibition Incidents of Travel in the Multiverse, it complements their earlier work with Prof Brian Greene on Icarus travelling to the edge of a black hole, and their award-winning film on thinking machines travelling back in time in search of their creator Alan Turing.