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e6.1 - *particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
*particle group* Berlin Script
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Berlin Nanoscript: Act Two

(First lab image appears on the screen.)

Dr. Dominguez:
Particle Capitalism! Particle Capitalism!
Burning bright In the labs of the night
What posthuman hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful trans_patenttry?

Dr. Ludin:
"It is true that one cannot patent an element found in its natural form; however, if you create a purified form of it that has industrial uses-say, oxygen-you can certainly secure a patent."-Lila Feisee, Biotechnology Industry Organization's Director for Government Relations and Intellectual Property (2006).

Dr. Dominguez:
We are no longer under the sign of natural selection or even artificial selection-we are now under the force of particle selection. Everything on the planet, from indigenous aromas to public spaces to our atoms, is now forced to march into the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) filters of globalization. The neo-liberal matrix that started to emerge fully in the 90's has played itself out on three stages: digital/Virtual Capitalism, genetic/Clone Capitalism and nanotechnology/Particle Capitalism. Each of these stages of techno-capital is being integrated via a new "deep harmonization" of the global Intellectual Property agenda: copyright laws, trademark laws and patent laws. A process that starts in the research chambers and ends in ownership enclosures, from patenting technology to patenting life, from patenting information to patenting atoms and creation of Trans_patents.

Dr. Ludin:
Particle Claimed! Particle Claimed!
Burning bright In the labs of the night
What posthuman hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful trans_patenttry 3,156,523?

"What is claimed is Element 95."—from Glenn Seaborg's US patent 3,156,523, issued November 10, 1964—the shortest patent claim on record.

Dr. Dominguez:
Remember that almost as soon as scientists figured out how to manipulate life through genetic engineering, corporations figured out how to monopolize it. A dangerous precedent was set back in the 1960s when a Nobel Prize-winning physicist "invented" the chemical element Americium (element no. 95 on the periodic table) and acquired US patent #3,156,523. In the US alone, patents awarded annually on nano-scale products and processes have tripled since 1996. The current nanotech patent grab is reminiscent of the early days of biotech-"it's like biotech on steroids" in the words of one patent attorney. At stake is control over innovations that span all industry sectors-from electronics, energy, mining and defense to new materials, pharmaceuticals and agriculture. As the Wall St. Journal put it, "companies that hold pioneering patents could potentially put up tolls on entire industries."

Dr. Carroll (recorded):
Trans_Patent 6608386: Sub-nanoscale electronic devices and bacterial processes
July 12, 2006
By Assignee(s) Yale University/YU (New Haven, CT)
Inventors: Reed; Mark A. (Southport, CT); Tour; James M. (Columbia, SC)

Sometimes Lila would feel a bit itchy as she floated in her partner a few hours before integration-birth. Most birthing was now a trans_patented condition involving sub-nanoscale trading-it was the only way to pay the cost of life now. So every hour during this last trimester Lila and her partner would ferment mass nanowire production on her in-vitro skin in collaboration with the Yale University Inc., nanoteria colonies. She could feel the oldest most sustainable microbes on the planet staging WIPO-2 contracts for the latest off-scale metal-changing particles. Hundreds upon hundreds of Yale University Inc., products were waiting impatiently for Lila to catch a bit of crying air at the edges of her partner's canal to install and run-for just-in-time delivery. Delivery was all that mattered now.

Dr. Ludin:
Governments, industry and scientific institutions have allowed nanotech products to come to market in the absence of public debate and regulatory oversight. An estimated 500 plus products containing invisible, unregulated and unlabeled nano-scale particles are already commercially available (including food products, pesticides, cosmetics, sunscreens and more)-and thousands more are in the pipeline. Meanwhile, no government has developed a regulatory regime that addresses the nano-scale or the societal impacts of the invisibly small. This unregulated agenda is being driven by the new protocols of Venture Science the core of Particle Capitalism.

Dr. Dominguez:
Only a handful of toxicological studies exist on engineered nanoparticles, but it appears that nanoparticles as a class are more toxic than larger versions of the same compound because of their mobility and increased reactivity. This raises serious health concerns because nanoparticles can slip past guardians of the body's immune system, across protective membranes such as skin, the blood brain barrier or perhaps the placenta.

Dr. Ludin:
Some governments and scientists are belatedly conceding that nano-scale particles raise unique risks for health, safety and the environment. Given the knowledge gap, some experts recommend that release of engineered nanoparticles be minimized or prohibited in the environment:

"Release of nano-particles should be restricted due to the potential effects on environment and human health."—Nanotechnology and Regulation within the framework of the Precautionary Principle. Final Report for ITRE Committee of the European Parliament, February 2006.

Dr Dominguez:
"Until more is known about their environmental impact we are keen that the release of nanoparticles and nanotubes in the environment is avoided as far as possible. Specifically we recommend as a precautionary measure that factories and research laboratories treat manufactured nanoparticles and nanotubes as if they were hazardous waster streams and that the use of free nanoparticles in environmental applications such as remediation of groundwater by prohibited.—Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, "Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and uncertainties," July 2007.

Dr. Carroll (recorded):
Late Onset of Particle Capitalism (i)

27 07 2006
Strike when the iron is hot: the spot bubbles to the surface-red-faced-some malicious, illicit strawberry, singed below a soft cap of hair, I discover it there by accident, demand an explanation. Vague mumblings of scalp stimulation, postpartum emotion in high gear. I dream of an embedded chip, my son's induction into the matter market. What matters is this: He is okay. Well, temporarily. Weeks later, the market crashes, so to speak-in the ER, we become parental footnotes while the real work is done-intubation, a central line, the social worker in talcum tones. The doctor lays down her hand, a pack of worst case scenarios that fan out across the table. He may not make it through the night and if he does we cannot predict the extent of the "devastation." Devastation? Loss of limbs, loss of hearing, loss of vision, permanent brain damage, multiple organ failure. Unable to process listing-as-event, I adhere to my own paranoid versions of the tale: they are removing the chip*, deactivating the product. He is temporarily checked into an upscale refurbishing clinic. On a respirator to regain consciousness, he manufactures nipple dreams, which intersect with my own fantasies of his lopsided smile, an escape-artist's grin. In other words: recycling lines pared out to me, choking on their saccharine-sweet cadences, I wish first that he might live and then greedily branch out to demand additional reassurance. The white-coated herds that hoard expertise like pocket change prove all too accommodating, commodity-trading interpellation: late onset GBS, bacterial meningitis; each one of us, a petri-dish, navigating the birth canal.

Prelude | Act One | Act Two | act three