Mary Farwy & Michel Barchini


Cocobiota is a work in progress of lab-grown chocolate, infused with oxytocin and endorphins. Cocobiota is also the name of the symbiosis of bacteria and fungi that exists on the cacao bean and performs fermentation. This natural symbiosis gives chocolate its delicious taste.

Cocobiota references current ecology, where the human ethos is directed towards consumption and injustice. Cocoa -as a colonial good and main ingredient of chocolate- is built on dark and invisible narratives that bring harm to laboured bodies and the environment. Culturally, this aphrodisiac good is associated with pleasure, and desire due to its mystical powers to alter the mood. Herewith, Cocobiota infuses chocolate with oxytocin and endorphins, stretching the limits of altering moods and feelings of comfort. Can we use synthetic biology in favour of environmental and social justice? Can we use synthetic biology in favour of emotional comfort? Can we use synthetic biology in favour of architectures of well-being?

This work proposes the use of emerging biotechnologies to make lab-grown cocoa beans. A High-Frequency Somatic Embryogenesis technique is performed allowing suspended cocoa cell culture to grow in a growth medium under a controlled environment. By applying such a technology we eliminate the need for the cocoa fruit in the supply chain. How would that affect the architecture of the multi-million-dollar chocolate industry?

Hackitects (Mary Farwy & Michel Barchini)We are two interdisciplinary designers. We are driven by dismantling the normative approaches to design, highlighting the interconnected relations between environments, human, and non-human bodies. We find it very important to reformulate what ‘architecting’ is. Architecture for us stretches to architecting our genes and emotions, architecting the technosocial and sustainable fabric of society.

Final project Biohack Academy 2022