Miller-Urey Bong, 2010

Bring your own combustible material to an installation recreating the origin of life


A scientific art installation involving high-powered lasers and combustive materials, Miller-Urey Bong is a BYOW (Bring Your Own Whatever) exhibition based on the 1952 Miller-Urey experiments that attempted to prove the genesis of life on Earth.

“We really don’t know what the Earth was like three or four billion years ago,” the late scientist Stanley L. Miller said more than forty years later. “So there are all sorts of theories and speculations.”


Theories and speculation aside, the famous experiment remains a fascinating spectacle when recreated, which the artistic team of Paul B. Davis (of the geek collective/record label Beige) and Aids-3D have rather cheekily done. Visitors to London’s Seventeen Gallery will have their chance to interact with the experiment that uses a searing-hot Class IV laser, injecting energy into the system to simulate “lightning” and “rainfall” and the other theoretical conditions that the Almighty presumably used during his own ill-conceived experiment to create life. Guests can take part by vaporizing their “Whatever” in the device, orally sampling the contents as long—as they also contribute “user provided suction.”

The playfully titled Miller-Urey Bong installation runs from 7 October 2010 through 13 November 2010 at Seventeen Gallery in Shoreditch.