★·.·´¯`·.·★ 𝘽𝙞𝙤𝙢𝙤𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝘽𝙞𝙤𝙥𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙨
𝙃𝙤𝙧𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝘽𝙞𝙤𝙥𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧! ★·.·´¯`·.·★

Open Source Estrogen combines do-it-yourself science, body and gender politics, and ecological ramifications of the present. It is a form of biotechnical civil disobedience. In response to the various biopolitics of hormonal control on female and trans bodies prescribed by governments and institutions, the project aims to develop a system of DIY/DIWO protocols for the emancipation of the estrogen biomolecule. What is the feasibility of citizen science-based approach to synthesizing hormones? How can the recontextualization of laboratory biochemistry to an open source recipe outline the esoteric procedures and knowledge that are required to carry out such a process?
In addition to production of lay-scientific protocols is a critical analysis into the institutional access of hormonal estrogen -- who or what does its distribution prioritize or pathologize? The pharmaceutical industry has dictated the primary applications of estrogen biomolecule in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. The pill is a politically-charged product that is both a tool for population control and liberation from reproductive labour and domesticity (the recent Zika virus outbreak necessitates contraceptive access as pregnant women and their offspring are at highest risk). Hormone replacement therapy is even harder to come by, requiring the diagnosis of gender dysphoria as a psychological condition for justifying its treatment. Thus we ask: can biological intervention free our societally-bound bodies through mutation at the molecular level?

In our scientific methods, we do not seek techno-solutionism.
With the creation of a DIY estrogen protocol, increased endocrinological know-how and body sovereignty, becomes a public platform for discussing the ethics of self-administering self-synthesized hormones. What physiological dangers are posed with potential overdosing and exposure to impurities, and what will people trade in return for wresting greater control over their bodies? Can we look to bio-technoscientific capabilities for eradicating gender binaries in human society? What does this say to the current reproductive havoc on ecosystems as a result of endocrine disrupting compounds in industrialized and polluted bodies of water? How is toxicity uneven across gender, class, and race? Can we harness the potential to emancipate not only female, trans, and queer bodies from pharmaco capitalism and institutionalized hormones but also the bodies of non-human species, extending feminist health care across species of our shared environment?

Open Source Estrogen on residency during Interactivos'16?: Possible Worlds in Madrid, Spain with collaborators: Byron Rich, Gaia Leandra, Paula Pin, Amanda Padilla, and Carlos Gamez 

 ✭ 𝕶𝖎𝖙𝖈𝖍𝖊𝖓-𝕷𝖆𝖇𝖔𝖗𝖆𝖙𝖔𝖗𝖞 𝕾𝖚𝖇𝖛𝖊𝖗𝖘𝖎𝖔𝖓 ✭

***This project pays homage to the pioneers of cyberfeminist art (subRosa) and transhackfeminist projects (Pechblenda, Gynepunk Lab) as well as current efforts in the diybio/biohacking community (Open Source Insulin) in providing greater access to our own bodies.


Let's begin with a speculative idea. Let's say you've identified an area with estrogen toxicity. Can chickens raised in estrogen-polluted environments deposit hormones in their eggs yolks, thereby serving as the open source estrogen? Perhaps chickens can be genetically enhanced to produce estrogens in their eggs, modified through DIY avian transgenics.

So why chickens? Shortly after Dolly the Sheep was cloned, scientists set out to create Brittany the Chicken. Brittany would be genetically modified to lay eggs containing pharmaceutical drugs in her egg whites, symbolizing a union between Big Pharma and poultry industry that is centered on the womb of this domesticated animal. One could say that women share a similar reproductive burden. From the egg donor industry to harvesting of fetal material, women have had their bodies commodified for the biotech industry since the 70s. In addition to the heavy investment in reproductive technologies marketed towards women is the cult of domesticity, enforced through socio-cultural brainwashing and heteronormative roles. Is a woman like a caged chicken, an organism factory producing eggs?

The "chicken-as-open-source-estrogen" idea draws a strong narrative metaphor between the fate of women and chickens being one and the same.

-- Steroids in chicken egg yolk: Metabolism and uptake during early embryonic development (2009)
-- Measuring Steroid Hormones in Avian Eggs (2005)
-- Egg Yolk Layers Vary in the Concentration of Steroid Hormones in Two Avian Species (1999)
-- Yolk is a source of maternal testosterone for developing birds (1993)


A synthetic biology approach where the metabolic pathway of yeast is genetically engineered to produce estrogen from a cholesterol precursor. This is however a daunting task, as five genes encoding five different enzymes must be knocked into the yeast for synthesis of estrogen from a cholesterol precursor.

ENZYMES (metabolic pathway from cholesterol to estradiol)

  1. (cholesterol monooxygenase side-chain-cleaving 31,800bp) 
  2. (CYP17A1 780bp)
  3. (CYP17A1)
  4. (3beta-hydroxy-Delta5-steroid dehydrogenase) 
  5. (steroid Delta-isomerase)
  6. (aromatase; CYP19A1)
  7. (estradiol dehydrogenase)

#02 Agrobacterium Mediated Transformation (Hormonal Plants)

Used in tobacco plants that alters the plant’s natural sterol production pathway. This method is currently being explored by artist Ryan Hammond in Open Source Gendercodes http://opensourcegendercodes.com/projects/osg/

#03 (Xeno) Estrogen Recycling

Can urinary estrogens be extracted, purified and recycled back into the body and/or Xenoestrogens from the environment, refined into a potentially useable form to be re-injected as a kind of ritual for taking responsibility for the environmental toxicity generated by human activity?


Feminist Biopolitics
-- Xenofeminism: a politics for alienation, Laboria Cuboniks
-- Sonogram of a Potential
-- Notes on the Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood, Catherine J. Lavender
-- Precarious Labor: A Feminist Viewpoint, Silvia Federici
-- Feminism and the Politics of the Commons, Silvia Federici
-- Seizing the Means of Reproduction, Michelle Murphy
-- Unsettling care: Troubling transnational itineraries of care in feminist health practices, Michelle Murphy
-- Biopolitics and the Female Reproductive Body as the New Subject of Law, Allaine Cerwonka and Anna Loutfi
-- Feminist Bioplitics, Reconstructing Space through Organized Feminism
-- menstruationresearch.org
-- Museum of Menstruation & Women’s Health
-- Cult of Domesticity, wikipedia
-- Oral History of the First Cyberfeminists, Motherboard
-- We Are the Future Cunt, Motherboard
-- W.I.T.C.H. (Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell)
-- Semiotics of the Kitchen, Martha Rosler (1975)
-- subRosa cyberfeminist art collective
-- Why are women chickens or cows, cyberfeminism interrogates biotechnology
-- Expo Emmagenics! by subRosa
-- Thinking Like a Chicken: Farm Animals And The Feminine Connection by Karen Davis

Herms, Trans, Queer, Intersex Bodies
-- Open Source Gendercodes, Ryan Hammond
-- Gender Trouble, Judith Butler
-- Testo Junkie, Beatriz Preciado
-- Pharmacopornography: An Interview with Beatriz Preciado
-- Intersex Society of North America
-- One in 2000 (documentary)
-- The Five Sexes, Anne Fausto-Sterling
-- Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling website, Fields of inquiry
-- Hermaphrodites with Attitude, Cheryl Chase
-- Stop Trans Pathologization
-- The Logic of Gender, Maya Gonzales

-- Baedan, Journal of Queer Time Travel
-- Transgender History, Susan Stryker
-- Biological Notion of Self and Non-self (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
-- How Male to Female Sex Reassignment Surgery Really Works (youtube)
-- Hormone Therapy: Hormone References (GID.info)
-- Sub Reddit group on DIY Trans
-- Sketchy Pharmacies Are Selling Hormones to Transgender People, The Atlantic (2016)

DIY Gynecology
-- GYNEpunk: Autonomous gynecologyLAB
-- GynePunks: A hacker’s guide to reimagining women’s health
-- TransHackFeminism (THF!)
-- Pechblenda
-- Cyborg witches of DIY Gynecology, Makery
-- GynePunk, tumblr
-- Anarchagland, tumblr
-- 3D-printed speculum, thingiverse, Gaudilabs
-- Meet the Gynepunks pushing the boundaries of DIY gynecology
-- Health Heresy Kit
-- Poussy Draama's mobile doctor's office is challenging sex ed norms in america
-- Female Ugandan students create app that detects vaginal bacteria
-- Tampon of the Future, NY Times
-- Becoming machine-witch-plant, Aniara Rodado
-- Female Genital Anatomy (Boston University School of Sexual Medicine)
-- Vulvacademy (Amy Stenzel)
-- Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Oral Contraceptives
-- Carl Djerassi, wikipedia
-- Bill Gates Foundation working on “Birth Control Chip”
-- The perfect birth control for men is here, Motherboard
-- Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of the Pill
-- History of Birth Control Pill
-- How the Pill Became a Lifestyle Drug: The Pharmaceutical Industry and Birth Control in the United States Since 1960

PROJECTS  🌐️