Eureka and the Biomass

Eureka falls in love with a biological anomaly

Eureka and the Biomass is a Beauty and the Beast for the 22nd century. Through original music, lo-fi special effects, and an eight foot puppet this sci-fi musical raises questions about our emerging relationship to biotechnology.

The story is set in the year 2100 after a period of climate change has radically altered ecosystems around the world. By this time, a biotechnology company called Synthetic Earth Corporation has designed and patented the Biomass- a metabolic system for stabilizing the carbon cycle. Without knowing the true nature of the work, a young woman named Eureka accepts a janitorial position at the company’s maximum-security facility.

After spending most of her life in unstable environmental conditions, Eureka is committed to her job, even after she realizes the work revolves around a grotesque biological anomaly. Yet as she struggles to come to terms with this alien lifeform and its daily detritus, she steps ever closer to an unauthorized return to a sci-fi Eden.

This story has its origins in the impulse to synthesize two paradoxical aspects of our ecological future – biotechnology and climate change. Both subjects inspire visceral and emotional reactions and generally divide people into camps. After spending time with individuals from biotech startups, environmental groups, a bioethicist and a Monsanto spokesperson, it seemed the only way to capture the complexity of the subject matter was through a fairy tale.

In conventional stories of star-crossed lovers, an intimate relationship between two characters is constantly being thwarted by the agendas of outside actors. In Eureka and the Biomass, the romance itself is an allegory for the unbreakable bond between human beings and the wider biological world. On present day planet Earth it’s clear that outside forces are threatening to turn that unbreakable bond into a star-crossed disaster scenario. The twist is that our own daily choices constantly cast and recast us in the opposing roles of “the outside forces” or “the lovers” as we play out our relationship to the environment. Eureka and the Biomass aims to tell the story of one girl who steps out of her role as an outside actor and falls in love with the life force she never knew she yearned for.

Megan May Daalder is a self-styled guinea pig using video, performance, and science to investigate life on earth. She has a BA from UCLA’s Design Media Arts department, but most of what she knows has been passed down from her radical Dutch ancestors and a pinball wizard from Tennessee.