Living with Living Things
In Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival (EDEF) as part of Living with Data exhibition
4th – 27th August, 2016
Collaboration with Larissa Pschetz and Shi Hui Tan
Edinburgh, Scotland 2016
Recent advances in biology and intersecting areas of research have brought a renewed interest in engaging with living materials. BioDesign is becoming increasingly popular, and has included diverse proposals, ranging from products that incorporate microorganisms as new, often considered more sustainable materials, to speculations on future impact of synthetic biology. In this paper we present three objects that incorporate living organisms as a way to reflect on the design process. We discuss how engaging with living materials could be considered a shift in traditional design practices, and the challenges of integrating design in current biotechnology development.
Living with Living Things explores what it means to live and design for a world where things have a life of their own, and where the lives of things become integrated with human practices, constructing new everyday rituals.
Larissa Pschetz, Shi Hui Tan and I designed three concepts:
a) a fabric that evolves according to seasons and human care,
b) a knife that is augmented with biological material to support consumption of specific foods and
c) a sink that, as a clock, signalises when a particular action is needed.
The three concepts reflect on the role of living things as
a) actively integrated in human routines
b) passive producers of contents for consumption
c) as commensal co-habitants of the human environment
This work had great amount of generous help from synthetic biologists Jamie Auxillos & Roy Walker.