Conclusion: What Is Life Becoming?
In light of this ethnographic account of liveliness in the molecular stories told by protein modelers, this chapter asks, “what is life becoming?” in the contemporary biosciences. The analysis resists the temptation to claim that practitioners have finally captured “life itself” in their hands. Rather, it explores how it is the modelers themselves have been caught, captivated, and captured in their own experimental configurations. It builds on Foucault’s analysis of the “untame ontologies” of nineteenth-century life science to explore how contemporary practitioners are grappling with ontological indeterminacies in the molecular realm. The chapter considers emerging research suggestive of the excitability and affectivity of matter, and its implications for the neo-Darwinian logics that are supposed to ground all knowledge in the life sciences. The chapter considers how ethnography can amplify the otherwise muted registers in which these practitioners articulate their affective entanglements with molecular life.