Bio Design Lab
May 2019
Dr Naomi Nakayama, Edinburgh

Research and speculative concept for a system to degrade vinyl records

Positioned in the current time of the anthropocene, the EXTINCTION DISCO SCOBY sits between the reality of the fossil fuel past and the new time of self-reflection, responsibility and bio-remediation. Crate diggers and and vinyl junkies have amassed a permanent legacy of human culture inadvertently detrimental to all living and non-living matter- in the form of PVC- polyvinyl chloride discs or commonly known as vinyl records made from prehistoric bio-matter.

The EXTINCTION DISCO SCOBY is a collection of microbial consortia that colonise records and degrade the PVC into hydro-carbons.

Much like a traditional scoby, this EXTINCTION DISCO SCOBY is a D.I.Y science kit, a microbial culture to be shared between neighbours, friends & family.

PSEUDOMONAS PUTIDA OCHROBACTUM SP. ACINOBACTER SPP. bacteria make use of a plasmid encoded enzyme to degrade PVC.

The plasmids are manipulated by the insertion of florescent reporter genes– as enzymes are expressed, the bacteria also produces a fluorescent protein.

The vinyl itself becomes transformed into a ‘disco disc’ – a multi-fluorescent cellulose disc.

V.1 Audrey Ryback & Sneha Solanki