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.


Bread 101

I didn't know much about the process of making bread before this class, but I was immediately intrigued after seeing the Netflix episode on the history of bread and the science behind the making of bread in the past and now. I never knew you only needed three ingredients to make bread, and I didn't know that you could make bread without yeast and that bread could naturally rise from the fermentation of microorganisms. I also didn't know how much unnecessary ingredients were put into the bread we usually purchase from the grocery store.

Workshop reflection

One of the speakers from the workshop, Dajuin Yao, is from China Academy of Art, the oldest fine art school in China. Within the academy, Dr. Yao opened the School of Intermedia Art in 2010, experimenting new media with students through the department of open media. Dr. Yao proposes the Chinese concept of “wang qi cun  dao”, which means to forget about the vessel and to keep the way, the vessel being the medium, and the way being the message.

Rethinking the chemistry of bread

I learned so much more about bread through watching the episode from the Netflix series Cooked during class. Making bread is as simple as mixing flour and water with a pinch of salt. With certain amount of fermentation by micro-organisms, the bread is risen and filled with air bubbles. Yet we spend three times more money on commercial bread that are made of at least 20 ingredients, including preservatives that keep them fresh on the food racks for a long period of time.


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