Special Topics in Design | Media Arts: Biotechnology and Design
Bio-designers use cells, DNA molecules, proteins, and living tissues to highlight ethical, social, and aesthetic issues that influence contemporary life. Introduction to how bio-design blurs distinctions between science and design through combination of design and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. Introduction to new sciences that influence food we eat, clothes we wear, and environment in which we reside. Students challenged to think outside the box, explore divergent and convergent thinking, and seek out knowledge and inspiration from ideas that drive nano- and bio-technology. Peer collaboration encouraged to develop speculative design projects that address issues covered.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.
We had class time to work on our project, so we ended up gathering some prototype materials. Those materials consisted of twigs from trees and ropes. We tried first to make our mockup and started struggling in which we realized that we might have to rethink of the materials we were using and looking at alternatives. We also were able to get a piece of Scoby that we can use to see if our ideas could potentially work. We even decided to time lapse some of our progress.
Tuesday we had a tour of the meteorite gallery and learned that meteorites are extraterrestrial rocks that travel through interplanetary space. Described to traverse the atmosphere and land on the surface of the earth. Meteorites that are observed to fall are called "falls" during the atmospheric passage, they create bright fireballs and generally sonic booms. There are about 1300 observed falls in the world's collection.
During our first week of class, we worked as a group to solidify our “MUKJA!” project. I was able to go visit my favorite Korean restaurant named “The Corner Place” that is known for their house made radish kimchi. Thankfully, I was able to speak to one of the employees and I was told that their recipe has been kept with them for more than three decades.
This week, Alexia focused on hammering out the rest of our story and the other subtleties that go into telling the kind of story we want to share. To support our theme of grief tying back into the death of stars, I began doing basic research into the different kinds of star deaths. Smaller stars can burn for as long as the universe has currently been alive, regular sized suns (like ours) can burn for millions of years, and larger stars can only shine for a few million years.
This week I dove deeper into my material development for my project. Firstly, I started a new batch of SCOBY in order to grow material for my window. I wanted to grow larger sheets of SCOBY in order to use it for material, so I made it in wider dishes. I also did a preliminary experiment using a cornstarch base to make bioplastic. While it yielded a result, I was not happy with how it turned out because I wanted to create a rigid shape.
During Thursday’s lecture, we spent a long time diving into the fascinating micro world using a digital microscope. From observing sample slices like a slice of onion, a slice of fly leg, to our skin, tattoo, scars, doll, and scoby, we gained an unforgettable experience in seeing all these tiny but gorgeous structures and patterns. We were so surprised and fascinated by the micro beauty inside each macro object, and I saw people’s mouth were wide-open, and eyes were sticking to the images shown on the screen.
This week Matthew and I have been working on finishing the writing for our story, we have the basic storyline but are working on the detailed writing, the number of pages, etc. We hope to focus on final edits and illustrations in this next week so week 9 can be more production focused! I've attached some sketches of what our art style will be like. We are going with a more minimal, mostly black-and-white, sketch-like illustration style. We've also decided the story protagonists are a child and a cowboy.
On Tuesday, Yama and I began refining our project proposal into a more comprehensive and polished version. We decided that our final presentation would be a combination of cards that would function as divination tools and augmented reality when users scan the symbols on the cards. We plan to spend more time on 3D modeling and building more animated 3D scenes in the augmented reality.
This week, Rachel and I wanted to test out and experimented with different foods for our dinner. The dish that I created was a Crying Tiger Steak that consists of New York Cut Steak that has been marinated with Oyster Sauce and white pepper. Alongside the steak, there is a sauce that I created that is made out of: Fish Sauce, Lime, Garlic, Sugar, Salt, Cilantro, Green Onions, and Shallots.
On Tuesday, week 7, my group members and I decided to focus on individual project tasks. I worked on creating our protection mapping dress with digital materials/textures using microscopic images I took with my iPhone 14 Pro macro mode camera. I took pictures of myself, Bela, Maxine, and my sister. They’re all skin photos from various facial and body parts. The images feature macro facial hair shafts with moles, blackheads, whiteheads, scars, bellybutton hairs, bruises, dry dead skin, and stretch marks.
This week I started my first batch of kombucha. I was a bit overwhelmed to start because I was afraid to accidentally give myself food poisoning.