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''Imagine huge bodies of water, giant ponds and lakes and just below the surface are trillions of organisms working 24/7, eating plant life and producing gasoline.'' - George Church, envisioning future synthetic biofuel production

Synthetic biology assumes a future for modified organisms beyond the lab. Biofuel research is currently focusing on both natural and genetically engineered algae to generate gasoline, with the goal of one day being available for public use. This objective has created a network of open-ponds for algae production. Dispersed across the southwest of the United States, companies are utilizing the environment’s abundance of sunshine - ideal algae growing conditions. As synthetic biology moves out of the lab, to the wild, to factories, to garage labs, to people’s homes what are the potential ecological effects associated with the release of a modified organism?

Car Pools is a series of simulations that examine the potential ecological effects associated with the public release of genetically altered algae for biofuel production. The project draws on current open-pond algae production methods to imagine a future infrastructure of fuel producing pools for the city of Los Angeles, a metropolis built for cars, home to more than 43,000 swimming pools.

The pool is typically viewed as a symbol of suburban leisure, Car Pools recasts it into a site of homegrown fuel production. The oil wells of tomorrow may be in sunny California. The project plays out different scales of interaction, the home, the neighborhood, and the city, to explore potential effects, such as pool wildlife management, neighborhood inculcation and contamination, local fuel production, and Los Angeles resource expansion. How can simulations at both micro and macro scales be used within synthetic biology to expose issues and opportunities beyond the lab? How does the process of live simulations reveal possible implications for the individual, neighborhood, city, and overall energy infrastructure?