chapter  8
20 Pages

Model territories

Choreographies of laboratory flies
ByTara Mehrabi, Cecilia Åsberg

This chapter focuses on the fruit fly as model territories. It investigates both the practised and heavily trafficked corporeal site of the fly, laboratory technospace of human-animal interaction, and the wider biopolitical/biosocial domain, where boundaries between human and animal, life and death, nature and culture are constantly redrawn through the choreographies of the laboratory fly. Fruit flies are in fact quite small and take up very little space – in both laboratories and in the scientific ethical imaginary. Despite their influential position within natural sciences and laboratory life, these flies are exempted from most ethical protocols for animal models. The chapter focuses on a very specific species of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and how it in a way has embodied the very iconic emergence of the life sciences. It argues that – whatever view on animals in laboratory practice – they represent or index our disease for us.