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 began the week with a guest lecture from Dr. Walter Gekelman, who gave us an overview of plasma and magnetism. At some point, he brought in ferrofluids, a jet-black substance that is quite mesmerizing when it is drawn to a magnet. When the magnet gets close to the ferrofluids, it creates a liquid spike that reveals the magnetic field lines around the magnet.
We learned in depth about plasma and magnetism on Monday with Dr. Walter Gekelman. Previously having toured the plasma lab he had generously allowed us to tour. We learned about the basics of laws like Maxwell's Equations that each had to do with different gravitational pulls.
1. The chemistry behind baking a bread
This week, we gathered as a class to celebrate the Year of Rabbit, together with the HOX Zodiac professionals on zoom. Professor Vesna invited outstanding scientists in various fields, biologists, interdisciplinary research scholars such as James Gmzewski, Pat Badani, Alison Hiltner, Marta Menezes, and Santiago Torres. The six guest speakers, including Professor Vesna, are all in the year of rabbit.
Week three started off with a celebration of the lunar new year. This year we are celebrating the year of the rabbit and we got to share some delicious snacks together. We learned about the Hox Zodiac project which is an interesting way of merging the concepts of the chinese zodiac with genetics. The Hox gene is present in all creatures and responsible for informing our bodies what to become.
In our second week, we really got to take an interesting look at more botanically related science concepts. I really enjoy the fauna of the natural world, so I loved getting to dive into the science behind it. On Tuesday we got to bring in bread and share it amungst ourselves while learning about it. I loved seeing the spread on the table, with various forms of bread coming from each person.
The first day of class started by learning about the pencil. We began by talking about carbon as the building block of all life. We are 40% carbon and it all comes from the big bang. We learned about 3 forms of carbon: Graphite, Diamonds, and Buckee Balls. The third category is interesting because it is the most recently discovered.
This week we celebrated the Lunar New Year/Year of the rabbit at the botanical garden amphitheater. We had Korean sesame snacks, chocolate desserts, Japanese corn puffs, and Kombucha! As we walked through the botanical garden I felt as if we were traveling through different biomes; some areas felt rainforest-like while others were more reminiscent of grasslands.
On Tuesday, the class celebrated the Lunar New Year and the HOX Zodiac which is a project led by Professor Victoria Vesna. This project is similar to some of my research that I presented in one of my classes last quarter; I explored some ideas from writer and philosopher Baptiste Morizot about the relationship between us humans and other creatures on earth.
On Tuesday we celebrated the Year of the Rabbit (which was actually the weekend before). Students brought in food for the new year and we celebrated the single rabbit in the room. Victoria then introduced us to a project she had been working on with a few of her colleagues, Hox Zodiac. Hox is a set of genes with specifically coded information. However, we are now able to alter the Hox gene, we can create mutant creatures with interspecies qualities.