Keywords of the Greater Bay Area



Jo Wei

Gene Editing

Eight years (2012–2020), the time it took to develop the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, is the shortest period from invention to award in the history of the Nobel Prize. CRISPR/Cas9 is a classic example of technological acceleration, and it has inspired commentary and critique from all sides. First, from a technological perspective, the importance of CRISPR/Cas9 is unparalleled. Like the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), it has become a foundational molecular biotechnology used every day. When it is fused with synthetic biology, neuroscience, and precision medicine, CRISPR/Cas9 will usher in an era of everyday self-modification on a molecular level. Second, from an ethical perspective, the controversy over a gene-edited baby in 2018 tripped the early warning system, prompting the simultaneous updating and monitoring of the legal, social governance, and science education systems. This event prompted an unprecedented passion for science education among gene editing scientists. The response from the public has been very prompt. For example, the publication of Heritable Human Genome Editing (2020) was an effective response from the scientific community. More profoundly, in a cultural sense, a new molecular biopolitics has begun. In the future, when people speak about identity, it will not just be limited to external, physiological characteristics, such as skin color, sex, or ethnicity; it will dive deep into the rights and secrets of a specific gene. In addition, this may produce a true non-anthropocentrism. In Posthuman, Rosi Braidotti wrote, “Zoe-centered egalitarianism is, for me, the core of the post-anthropocentric turn.”1 Zoe is a horizontal force that reconnects species, categories, and fields that have previously been isolated. Her formulation no longer simply reflects an egalitarianism rooted in a romantic vision; gene editing offers technological support for the posthuman in its true sense.

  1. [1] Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013: 60.
About Keywords of the Greater Bay Area

The "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" is a new construction envisioned from a top-down perspective and territorial integration. It is a blueprint for a future urban development based on efficiency, speed, and mobility. What if we conceive the Greater Bay Area as an experiment, an imaginary experiment? On the one hand, there is the question of 'diversity'. When we talk about smart cities, artificial intelligence, automation, ecological crisis, information security, the future of virtual reality, global trade, etc., where does this view of the future come from, and what determines it? On the other hand, a profound political, spatial, historical, and geographical significance is present in the Greater Bay Area. Is it possible to develop a different imagination based on the history and culture of the "Pearl River Delta-Greater Bay Area;" meaning, to consider a development departing from local knowledge production, negotiating with accelerating technologies, facilitating collaborations between art and other disciplines, and reshaping the vision of institutions of art and technology? By exploring the diversity of technologies, human and non-human ecologies, and reproduction of social relations, might it be possible to reposition the "Greater Bay Area" as a pioneering experiment of southern China's technological and cultural imagination beyond a mere economic zone?

Editors: Jianru Wu, Guo Yun
English editor: Christy Lange