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.


Week 1

After the Netflix episode we watched about bread in class on Wednesday and our conversation about GMOs that followed, I was really interested in learning more about the additives we put into our processed bread and the ramifications of having them in our food.

Forget your vessel, keep your weight

In the ARTSCI symposium the one main speaker that I really latched on to was Daijuin Yao. His way of interacting with his students and creating interactive performances really intrigued me. The mix of Chinese culture and performance art was very interesting to me. He blends the old Chinese culture of both visual and historical context and the modern practice of media arts to reignite interest in chinese culture for the younger generation as a means to preserve the culture he grew up with and admires.

Week 1

Entering this course with limited knowledge pertaining to the constant evolution of biotechnology, I was fascinated to begin learning about the origin and evolution of biomodification and food.  I spent the majority of last summer abroad in Berlin, but also traveled to Spain, Amsterdam, and the U.K. During this time I became cognizant of an interesting relationship between the food I consumed and my bodily response (both physically and mentally).

Week 1 Symposium

As a result of my parents both being collegiate athletes and health fanatics, I grew up eating nutritious meals and little to no fast food.  I have never drank soft-drinks or consumed microwavable meals. My mother cooked dinner almost every night with ‘natural, fresh’ ingredients.  This considered, neither my parents nor myself were aware of the importance of produce sourcing.

ARTSCI: Symposium and Workshops

This week I attended Artsci Symposium on Thursday, Linda Weintraub’s “What Now” workshop on Friday as well as the Angewandte art opening on Saturday. As I am still unpacking much of the learnings I can justify and say that all three programs were enriching in their dynamic and format and it would require a much longer explanation to evaluate everything so I will try and summarize the few that had the most impact for myself.


Week 1 - Bread and Society

After watching the documentary Cooked in class last Wednesday, I couldn’t stop thinking about how interesting the interaction between food and civilizations is throughout social progresses. I had no idea how simple it could be to make bread out of only flour, water, and salt, despite most of the bread we presently consume contains more than 20 ingredients.

Week 1: Grain

Hi everyone! I am Ann Suzuki, a third-year undergraduate DESMA major currently working towards being a film minor. I still don’t really have a focus yet but here are a few types of designs I gravitate towards: entertainment design, set design, motion graphics, and stop motion. To be honest, I am entering this class as a complete novice - I am by no means an expert or even a slight bit knowledgeable about Nano and Biotech but I am curious to learn more.

Symposium Response: Arts Based Dementia Research

A speaker that really resonated with me at the “Arts based Research in Times of Climate and Social Change” Symposium at the California NanoSystems Institute was Cornelia Bast, who identifies as an arts based researcher and social designer. Bast spoke about her creative projects surrounding her research on dementia, but most importantly, how she was working to abolish the stigmatized perspectives we have on mental disorders.


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