A Memorial for the Still Living. Premiered at John Hansard Gallery in Southampton. Upcoming show at the Horniman Museum in London.

Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism, and Technoscience. MIT Press; Leonardo Book Series. ed., Beatriz da Costa & Kavita Philip.

Invisible Earthlings Workshop. [as part of "Species We Live With"]

Pigeonblog [documentation & ephemera] on view at Sweeney Art Gallery in Riverside, CA.

The Place of Art in the Age of Biotechnological Reproducibility. (pdf) [Review of Tactical Biopolitics in "BioSocieties."]

Processes, Issues AIR: Toward Reticular Politics. (pdf) [Full fledged article about Preemptive Media's and my work in "Australian Humanities Review."]

Interview with Beatriz da Costa. (pdf) [by Alessandro Ludovico, "Neural Magazine."]

Preemptive Media Preemptive Media is a collaborative operating at the nexus of art, activism and technology.

Beatriz da Costa is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. She works at the intersection of art, politics, engineering and the life sciences.



A Memorial for the Still Living is an installation originally developed for “Dark Places,” an exhibition conceived and organized by the Office Experiments and the Arts Catalyst in London. A Memorial for the Still Living confronts visitors with the realities of species endangerment in the UK. On view are a number of regional taxidermed specimens currently being under threat of extinction. The specimens are temporary donations from the Natural History Museum in London and the Horniman Museum and represent the only form of encounter we will be able have with those species once they have been eradicated from our planet. As humans we will be able to "study" the species in their dead preserved form but the opportunity for in person encounter will be lost. "Go out and "meet the species" before its too late," is the somewhat sombre undertone of this project. more


Invisible Earthlings is an investigation into the possibilities of relating between humans and members of the lived non-human worlds that we are least likely to recognize as social actors within urban environments: microbes. Microbes, partially defined by their small size and the fact that they are commonly not visible to the human eye, quite literally escape our view and awareness of their existence. Although most people have some vague notion about the importance of microbes in our ecosystems, microbes commonly only receive our attention when they are perceived to cause problems; ʻproblemsʼ in this case defined as either harmful to human, plant and animal health, or material goods. But what type of activities are the numerous relatives of these so-called "harmful microbes" performing while we are walking by, stepping right on top of them or are busily shopping for "mold resistant" building materials? What type of organisms are present, what types were present once but no longer, and why? Where did they come from, what do we know about them, what type of roles have and are they performing in different historical and geographical settings? more


Experiments in Biosensing took various forms and public manifestations. It's first version consisted of the construction of an CO sensing yeast colony I created In collaboration with system's biologist Tau-Mu Yi. The cells were intended to change color (lacZ) in response to high exposure of CO, thereby serving as an experimental air pollution sensor. While we had some success in laboratory conditions, or sensor wasn't sensitive enough to function in real world condition. We did explain its construction and function however during a public workshop (as part of Wetwarehackers ) at ISEA 2006. Participants were able to learn about the different steps involved in modifying yeast cultures for sensing purposes and tested their result in the outdoors. more


Pigeonblog was a collaborative endeavor between homing pigeons, artists, engineers and pigeon fanciers engaged in a grassroots scientific data gathering initiative designed to collect and distribute information about air quality conditions to the general public. Pigeons carried custom-built miniature air pollution sensing devices enabled to send the collected localized information to an online server without delay. Pollution levels were visualized and plotted in real-time over Google’s mapping environment, thus allowing immediate access to the collected information to anyone with connection to the Internet. more


Delocator.Mapyourcity.Net was a collaborative web-project between Beatriz da Costa and Xtine Burrough. Delocator.Mapyourcity provides participants with corporate-alternatives to cafes, bookstores and movie theatres; and celebrates the diversity that exists within the culture of independent businesses across the United States. more

AIR 2006-08

AIR, a project by Preemptive Media (Beatriz da Costa, Jamie Schulte and Brooke Singer), was a public, social experiment in which people were invited to use Preemptive Media's portable air monitoring devices to explore their neighborhoods and urban environments for pollution and fossil fuel burning hotspots. more

ZAPPED! 2004-06

Zapped! took a close look at—and a new approach to—the mass deployment of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID was not yet a household name or a pervasive technology, but Preemptive Media predicted that everyday encounters with this technology (whether known or not) would soon be commonplace. Zapped! was an effort to learn about and respond to the tags that industry is embracing for product tracking, the government for border control, schools for attendance-taking and public libraries for automatic checkout. Zapped! was a project by Preemptive Media. more

SWIPE 2002-04

Swipe, addressed the gathering of data from drivers' licenses, a form of data-collection that businesses are practicing in the United States. Bars and convenience stores were the first to utilize license scanners in the name of age and ID verification. These businesses, however, admit they reap huge benefits from this practice beyond catching underage drinkers and smokers with fake IDs. With one swipe—that often occurs without notification or consent by the cardholder—a business acquires data that can be used to build a valuable consumer database free of charge. Post 9/11, other businesses, like hospitals and airports, are installing license readers in the name of security. And still other businesses are joining the rush to scan realizing the information contained on drivers' licenses is a potential gold mine. Detailed database records, of course, also benefit law enforcement officers who can now demand this information without judicial review in large part due to the USA Patriot Act. more

(with Critical Art Ensemble)

Free Range Grain was a live, performative action that used basic molecular biology techniques to test for genetically modified food in the global food trade. more

(with Critical Art Ensemble)

Molecular Invasion was a participatory science-theater work done in cooperation with students from the Corcoran School of Art and Design and exhibited at the Corcoran Museum, Washington DC. In this work, CAE/da Costa/Pentecost and selected students attempt to reverse-engineer the genetically modified canola, corn, and soy plants through the use of nontoxic chemical disrupters. In this theater of live public experimentation, we attempt to transform artificial biological traits of adaptability into ones of susceptibility, as well as establish a model for contestational biology. more

GENTERRA 2001-03 [with Critical Art Ensemble]
(with Critical Art Ensemble)

GenTerra was a live exploration of the variety discourses on transgenics in relation to environmental risk and human health policy. Participants manipulated transgenic bacteria in an effort to develop a more nuanced understanding of risk assessment regarding the uses of recombinant DNA. more


Transgenic Bacteria Release Machine was developed as part of GenTerra, a project with Critical Art Ensemble. The Transgenic Bacteria Release Machine is a simple robotic game machine. It holds ten petri dishes on its circular surface. One of the dishes contains transgenic e-coli bacteria (a harmless strain, which is usually found in the human intestinal system), whereas the other nine are growing bacteria and mold samples collected from the nearby surroundings (changing each time the machine is installed). The transgenic bacteria are recombinant e-coli bacteria containing human DNA. As part of the GenTerra performance, visitors are invited to interact with the Transgenic Bacteria Release Machine. more