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.


(2/7-2/9) Week 5: The Boy, Hox Zodiac, and Stars

We started this week off with our guest speaker, Mariam Razi, who discussed her career as an artist, designer, and game maker. Mariam is part of the Hox Zodiac group, and she showed us her Illustrator file where she created the unique Hox typeface used in the majority of the project’s material. Additionally, Mariam also discussed the Feminist Climate Change movement and its  importance on viewing climate change from beyond the binary, and in Iran, beyond the border.

Week 5

On Tuesday, artist Maryam Razi visited our class to present her board game prototype based on the Hox Zodiac. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into her typography process. It was very inspiring for me, as someone who wants to develop my own typeface but has always been too intimidated to try. The premise of Maryam’s game is also very intriguing- it encourages players to generate their own zodiac-influenced recipes by rolling a dice.

week 5 - hox zodiac & midterms

The first day of class during week 5, we had guest speaker Maryam Razi share her project HOX ZODIAC. She shared that she was exploring different options to make a game. Her zodiac wheel consisted of the following: pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, and dog. To play her game she explained that one would spin the wheel to land on the different animals. Although her game was still in prototype, together as a class we brainstormed different ideas for her game.

Week 5: Hox Zodiac Designs & Bread Brainstorm

This week, Maryam Razi came to class as a guest lecturer to talk about the design of the Hox Zodiac project. Maryam’s process in designing the typeface for the project was inspired by the organic shape and silhouette of bones. Learning about Maryam’s process and seeing their working file in Adobe Illustrator was an insightful look into their design process. The way they laid out everything on their artboard almost looked like word map, in my opinion.

Week 4: Magnetic Fields & The Universe

In our first class meeting this week we met the Plasma scientist again but this time in our classroom. He spoke to us about magnets and magnetic fields. There were times I felt lost because he showed us many complicated scientific math equations. But I did learn more about magnetic fields. For example, the aurora. The sun ejects millions of electrons from its corona (upper atmosphere), creating solar wind. These particles slam into Earth's ozone layer and get trapped in the magnetosphere. The magnetic field around the earth (which we learned a lot about as well).

WEEK1 BLOG Graphite, Carbon, Pencils

Even though I missed the first lecture, I heard that the main topic discussed during the first lecture was Carbon and pencil. I think to take “Carbon” as the first main topic was a great start to the whole course, since Carbon is considered the most basic element in life, and we can say that Carbon creates our life and the Earth. Carbon is a chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. According to research, Carbon makes up 20% of the weight of an organism, and it is essential for them to live, grow, and reproduce.

Week 4- Kombucha, Magnetism, and Mind Maps

Week four started off with a brain dump. Though not directly related to the subjects of the course, the act of releasing all of my thoughts on paper felt very therapeutic and helpful for visualizing information. Once I had written out a lot of things I was thinking about, I was able to draw connections between them and see the way my mind wandered. It was similar to the activity of mapping our class concepts on Thursday! 

WEEK4 BLOG Magnetism, Aurora, Field

On Tuesday, Dr. Walter Gekelman gave us an extraordinary lecture on magnetism, from introducing the basic concepts, and the essential equations, to discussing the principle of Aurora and Tokamak. Each of us got a piece of magnet, and we played with the magnets and observed the phenomenon of how the different poles attract each other, while the same poles repel each other. It was fun to play with the small pieces of magnets during class, which made me seem like going back to my primary school physics class. Dr.


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