Bioarchive was founded by designer and lecturer Hannah Hansell in 2050. Collecting bioartefacts for almost 10 years Hansell decided to make it into a public collection. The ‘Biotechnological Revolution’ of the 2030’s saw the design or redesign of biology and a new material age and production paradigm focused on cultivation, growth and bioengineering take shape. Large investment in research and development for biotechnologies in the area of biomaterials and synthetic biology for application into the textile and apparel industry in the 2020’s supported this industrial shift. Hansell felt that this new industrial era; a biological age where products and materials are designed and grown by biological organisms, needed to be recorded and conserved.
Rather than simply conserving the organisms as many other museums have such as Micropia Museum in Amsterdam, Hansell wanted to focus on the cultural objects produced by these synthetic and modified organisms, particularly her industry of fashion, textiles and apparel. The objectives of the archive are to document the shift in technology, aesthetics, production methods and design practices. Practices and systems of biotechnology, biodesign and biofabrication to create materials, products and production systems from living cells using biomimicry through to synthetic biology can all be found here.
The archive consists of physical artefacts held in South East London and digital artefacts stored in an online repository. The digital archive holds photographic works that are only available online as well as photographic records of the physical artifacts. Many objects have to be kept in specific climate controlled conditions; public funding and private donations have supported the continued conservation of these artifacts for future generations.