During the first half of class, we explored how new research in mushrooms could change the world as we know it. Scientists turned artists, and artists turned scientists are helming the movement on sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based products. While leather is a byproduct of the beef industry, plastic leather is produced to meet the unrealistic scale at which fashion suppliers manufacture their products. MycoWorks is a California-based company that has been developing a type of mushroom leather that needs very little post-processing.
2023 is the year of the rabbit. I am not personally very familiar with Chinese New Year and how it is celebrated. Beyond sitting around a table with loved ones and googling our corresponding zodiac animal, I haven't thought of it. This class was much more about the sharing of culture and the breaking of bread. Perhaps tying well into our previous class where we baked and shared bread with one another. We began the class by watching recordings of a talk hosted by several artists discussing a book they had all participated in creating featuring recipes from their own cultures.
Although I was unable to attend class in person this week, I reflected on class discussions made by reviewing my classmates' blogs and doing my own research on the subjects listed on the agenda.
Tuesday’s class commenced with a Year of the Rabbit celebration, where we went over the zoom event that had been hosted the Sunday of that week and then learned more about the traditions that go along with this occasion. We learned about different cultural foods, and one that stood out to me in particular was haggis.
On Tuesday, we visited the botanical garden as a class and rang in the new year with a shot kombucha and a variety of traditional snacks. I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about kombucha, as I’ve acquired to the taste quite recently. I never understood the appeal of kombucha due to it’s sour and fermented taste, but after knowing about it’s health benefits and probiotics, I was able to enjoy the beverage.
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.
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.
Tuesday: Lunar New Year & Botanical Garden