The cyborg subject, a hybridization of “the human and the machine,” has the potential to create a new contract between two elements. Like a cyborg subject, my project TLC involves the joining of two agents. One agent, a class of molecules known as capsaicinoids, is the active chemical agent of pepper spray.
The parent compound in this group is capsaicin A, which chili peppers naturally produce. The second agent, CS, is a non-naturally occurring molecule, and the active component of tear gas. Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton first synthesized CS gas at Middlebury College in 1928; the title of the compound refers to the chemists’ surnames.
For my research with TLC, I worked with a chemist at Brown University to study the chemical properties of the two agents. Soon after, I learned the basic process of using lab equipment to run reactions and test for products. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is used to monitor and visualize reactions. The name TLC comes from the plates that are used for these tests. The plates indicate if the reaction has occurred and if the product is useful.
In TLC, I continued to investigate the institutional ordering of protection and security to control crowds and individuals. I researched the chemical properties of tear gas and pepper spray because both are agents of security used to divide and control individuals.