Original definition of life in proposal
The term “life itself” refers to how the biological body, on any scale, becomes a site for political, technological, scientific, and critical engagement. The founding of the Human Genome Project in 1988 marked the life sciences as a major cultural paradigm of the late twentieth century; the early part of the twenty-first century has continued this proliferation of the biological, initiating the increased funding and visibility of such phenomena as biomedia, biotechnology, bioinformatics, biometrics, and other technological engagements with the biological. The phrase “life itself,” then, is suggestive of both the essence or foundation of the biological (life at its core) and of the ways in which the biological has influenced/infiltrated modes of thought in many other disciplines (from cybernetics to political theory). (Comparative?) media studies has taken up this discourse, investigating in recent years certain “biological” phenomena such as media ecologies, outbreak narratives, genetic databases, disease surveillance networks, and insect media. Such investigations of the understading of "life itself" in its mediated forms is at once metaphorical, rhetorical, and material.