Adam Bencard – Assistant professor
I am assistant professor in science communication at the The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research and at the Medical Museion. My work is split evenly between practical science communication (mainly curating exhibitions and teaching) and research. I have been employed at the Medical Museion in various positions since 2001, and did my Ph.D. here. My academic background is in philosophy and history.
My research revolves around materialism and materiality. I trace the complex meanings and effects of material thinking in three different contexts: post-genomic, protein-based metabolism research, philosophy, and science communication. And I attempt to develop these ideas in experimental practice within the museum.
I am interested in what I call “molecular being.” This concept revolves around the idea that we, as human beings, are fundamentally a part of an expansive, material network, stretching inside and outside of our bodies. Post-genomic researchers are no longer satisfied with reducing the organism to the informational logic of a coding system embedded in biological software. Rather, the organism is now increasingly seen as a substantive, material architecture, brimming with three-dimensional protein interactions (you can read some more about this shift here and in my essay from this anthology). The understanding of ‘life itself’ is shifting towards ideas of a multidimensional material body, made up of a complex system of proteins, where molecular structures, movements and interactions carry out the regulated work of the cell. These new developments have important consequences for how we understand biological organisms, and by extension what it means to be human.
I thus develop the notion of molecular being from protein-based metabolism research, contrasting it to a late 20th century genetic paradigm of life as information. I use this post-genomic, material conception of life to develop and rethink practices in science communication, museum practice and philosophy – in essence, I try to work out what it means to think materially in across a range of disciplinary and practical boundaries. I am particularly inspired by philosophers working with the so-called object-oriented ontology (such as Graham Harman, Levi Bryant and Timothy Morton) and materialism-inclined authors such as Jane Bennett and Ray Brassier.
Phone: +45 27 51 15 53