“Design meets Synthetic Biology” has been selected to be part of the session“Futures” during the BLACK BOX Pop-up Cinema event @ Bio-Medicine West Wing Foyer, Newcastle upon Tyne, from 4 Feb – 1 Mar 2019.
Thank you to Louise Mackenzie for giving me the opportunity to show this Video clip I made while I was a Research associate @ Design Informatics in 2016.
It was the first time this video was publicly shown, and even thought I could not attend the screening, I am very proud and happy that this creation finally made it out from my computer 🙂
On 12th July 2016, in Edinburgh, during ‘Design meets Synthetic Biology workshop‘, biologists, engineers, designers, artists and social scientists were invited to discuss issues of representation, access and perception of synthetic biology. We asked them to share their vision of the future synthetic biology, their hope and fears… This video aims to represent the voices of a range of practitioners gravitating around the discipline but disconnected from each other. Far from a single united vision, it depicts the complexities of working with living material (working and understanding living materials, prediction of long term effects, ethic concern…) and paradoxical opinion surrounding the discipline (complex boundaries between positive outcomes of the research and dangerous usage…).
It as a scene in Shanghai metro I have captured during my first trip back in 2016.
I have painted it with water-colours pencils, water-colours paint and water-soluble wax oil pastels.
It is signed and is strictly limited to a unique edition so once it is gone it is gone.
Frame size: 300mm x 400mm.
I am just back from Shanghai, where I had the pleasure and honor to teach Interior Design for 5 weeks at Donghua University representing Edinburgh University. The students have a lot to teach us all over here about passion, hard work and positivity.
It was 5 amazing weeks with my great colleagues and mon amoureux. In our free time we visited lots of galleries (list bellow of some of the best exhibitions I have seen), spend a day walking and riding in Hangzhou around the west Lake and we went for a week end in the mountains. We stayed in xia yan bei village (下岩贝村), hiked 19 peaks (穿岩十九峰), the Hanfei river ( 韩妃江) and dao tuo xue (倒脱靴). And of course had some amazing food: hot pot, dumplings, wonton soups, noodles, Chinese crepes, vegan dishes…
I am starting to learn basic Chinese to prepare our next trip in March, looking forward to it.
chi K11 –.com/.cn
The work exhibited is digital / conceptual art. What we found most interesting for your practice is the building in itself.
MOCA Shanghai – Apple+
✸✸✸ The exhibition highlights Japanese designer Ken Miki’s four decades of practice as well as his unique approach to design thinking and education, summarized in what he promotes as “Learning to Design, Designing to Learn”.
Rockbund Art Museum – Hugo Boss Asia Art 2017
High-profile award that honors emerging contemporary artists in the early stages of their artistic creation and exhibition practices.
Long Museum West Bund– Antony Gormley
The first major presentation of Antony Gormley’s work in China. At its core is Critical Mass II (1995) an installation of 60 life-size cast iron body forms.
Power station of Art – Shigeru Ban & Li Shan
✸✸✸ Shigeru Ban : What is the architectural content to be presented possibly only by exhibitions? The first half of the Exhibition will introduce the disaster relief projects across the world, & the second half of the Exhibition will introduce the projects in progress and the projects in China.
✸✸✸ Li Shan : he gave up his decades-long familiarity with painting, and turned his artistic thinking to topics that are related with bio-science. He claimed to be creating on a canvas once reserved only for the God, and created a new artistic discipline: BioArt.
✸✸✸ Balkrishna Doshi: Celebrating Habitat-The Real, the Virtual & the Imaginary. The exhibition showcases more than thirty pieces of the Indian architect’s notable works, including personal and public housing, community projects, educational institution, urban planning and furniture design.
Modern Art Museum – Hello, My Name is Paul Smith
Touring exhibition showcasing the fashion designer’s journey in building his company, as well as his stylistic tastes and eye for design.
Dialogue In The Dark
✸✸✸ Very exciting life-changing experiences where visitors are guided by blind guides in absolute darkness. You get a chance to experience space and daily environments of life without your sight. Daily routines become exciting and a reversal of role is created where sighted become blind and Blind become sighted. It was a life changing experience.
In 2016, The Design Informatics Pavilion was designed by Biomorphis, an Edinburgh-based architecture practice led by Pierre Forissier. Interested in how digital technology can be efficiently used to design an affordable modular structure, Biomorphis developed an algorithm to test and generate different cellular divisions to form a self supporting lightweight building envelope. For this 2017 edition I have been employed to give it a facelift, inspired by the 70 years anniversary of the Edinburgh Festivals starting from the launch of the first festivals in 1947 to 2017, by the Design Informatics research topics and data from Edinburgh.
The graphs painted on the pavilion give the local context in which the festivals and Design informatics are taking place: the top line graph represents rainfall in Edinburgh in August in 5 year periods between 1947-2017. The bottom of the pavilion represents the elevations of Edinburgh during a walk through the cities most popular venues so starting on George Street and going to the Castle, the Meadows, The pleasance etc.
Then, the idea was to situate the history of the festivals in an international context, represented by technological breakthrough: each panel of the pavilion represents 5 years, creating a time line where icons (vinyls on acrylic) representing carefully chosen innovations, as well as some of Edinburgh festivals. Moreover, it established a link to Design Informatics, where students are trained and researcher worked on developing tomorrow innovations.
The pavilion become a time travel vessel: the outside is displaying the past of innovations, leading to the inside with the exhibition where you can imagine what the future might look like.
To realise this project, I worked in collaboration with Sigrid Schmeisser, to designed the icons. She realised the exhibition graphics, panels and brochure.
The paper presented the process I went though and the issues I had to face when designing and exhibiting living organisms.
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.
The knife piece has been chosen as Provocation #1 during the Museum Panel session to discuss how do museums go about selecting which of today’s objects need to be preserved and why? How do they use these to map the lineage of our material culture, and how important are museum collections in giving rise to the new? What are the curatorial processes in place to achieve this? More precisely the role of the museum to ‘kill’ artefacts in order to collect or to keep artefacts alive.
The first one called Gender in Artconfronting significant civilisational themes with artist’s interpretation.
Presentation by the museum
Gender is socially constructed sex. Gender studies examine the way history and culture determine sex. Who a man or a woman is in a given world largely depends on the one who manipulates these images. For centuries the conception of gender has remained in the hands of religions, which have imposed ʻproperʼ social roles on the representatives of different sexes. This has been going for so long that it has come to be seen by many as the law of nature. A vast majority of religions have reduced woman to the role of the weaker, more stupid and subordinate sex. To many people this still seems to be ʻnaturalʼ. Currently we are trying to understand the mechanisms behind this manipulation and lead to a situation in which full dignity and equal rights of all genders would be secured. We endeavour to arrive at a point where gender would cease to be an ideological construct and become man’s individual decision that is closest to their sense of identity. The exhibition at MOCAK fits in with the field of these reflections, studies and claims.
The second one Poland – Israel – Germany: The Experience of Auschwitz It was very moving, and maybe for me more powerful to foster the historical atrocity than visiting Auschwitz. Some of the pieces were actually about questioning the fact that it is becoming a touristic destination, where companies are making money and tourists take holidays pictures. They are questioning if it is appropriate in such place.
Presentation by the museum
The exhibition at MOCAK highlights the significant presence of the theme of Auschwitzin the historical, social and cultural discourse. It demonstrates how contemporary artists from Poland, Israel and Germany interpret events from the past. This is not about presenting art broadly thematically related to the Holocaust, rather – about works that deal with the ‘anus mundi’– Auschwitz as a place of genocide, the most tragic man-made symbol there is. The exhibition poses a number of questions. After the last witnesses have died, will Auschwitz become a dark and vacant pop-cultural motif, a pure provocation, a horror Disneyland? Or are such worries exaggerated? Will the second and third post- Auschwitz generations feel a responsibility to carry the memory of these events?
I wanted to pointed out this great web site: Artsy. It is a great source to do research, to find artists, projects or simply good quality images of your favourite art work.
They are featuring the world’s leading galleries, museum collections, foundations, artist estates, art fairs, and benefit auctions, all in one place. The database have more than 230,000 images of art, architecture, and design by 25,000 artists spans historical, modern, and contemporary works, and includes the largest online database of contemporary art. They have all the arguments to be known widely, not to mention that the web site is very well designed.
You can set up an account to create customizable collections of works from the Artsy database, available from the app on iphone as well.
I already pointed out this platform on my article on JR.
Article from the Gardian: Your street should be more than a road. Emma McGowan looks at how to reduce the noise of traffic and increase the noise of play in your neighbourhood. Bristol example in blue.
“People are growing much more aware of the impact of traffic, including air pollution and crowded residential streets,” says Sian Berry from the Campaign for Better Transport. “It’s not surprising that communities are taking action to make their streets quieter, cleaner and friendlier.”
There are a number of approaches you can take. The charity Sustranshelps communities redesign their streets to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists over cars. Its two-year DIY Streets project in Haringey in north London reduced traffic at monitoring sites by 10%.
Finlay McNab, national projects coordinator at Sustrans, says that people shouldn’t feel daunted by the process of getting a street layout changed to reduce traffic or to slow it down. “You can do more than you think if you’re prepared to go to council meetings,” he says. “You can achieve a lot, even with small amounts of money.”
Another approach is to try to change the mindset of road users by altering the appearance of the road. The Victoria Parade Residents Association in Bristol applied to its neighbourhood partnership access fund for money to purchase giant colourful stickers that were then blowtorched onto the road surface.
“Ours is a long, one-way street that’s used by drivers as a cut-through between two main roads,” says resident Jim McEwan. “We wanted to do something that would make drivers turning into the road think ‘hang on, people live here’.
“There’s no limit to how creative you can be with thermoplastic road markings. We viewed the road as a 150-metre long canvas. We ran art workshops and had a street party where we tried out our designs in poster paint on the road. And from the start we had our local councillor on board, which was critical.”
Getting people to see the street as a community resource is important. “A high proportion of traffic will be made up of people who live locally,” says Finlay. “A street party can make people more receptive to the idea of traffic reduction.”
Playing Out, the Bristol-based community interest company that encourages street play across the UK, successfully lobbied its local authority to introduce temporary play street orders, which allow residential streets to be closed to traffic for up to three hours a week, every week for a year.
“The orders work best when people really consult with their neighbours,” says Naomi Fuller, communications officer at Playing Out.
“And it can be a good idea to apply to do a one-off to see if there’s an appetite to do more and whether you have enough people willing to be stewards.
“The benefits are felt by all residents, not just the kids. When I went to apologise to an elderly couple on my street about the noise the children had made, they said they preferred the sound of children playing over the noise of cars speeding down the road and doors slamming.”
Visit the Playing Out website to find out if your local authority has some form of play street order. If not, lobby your local councillor.
Your local transition group is also a good starting point; it may have traffic-reducing projects under way that you could help with. Or ask your local council if your community has a neighbourhood plan, which should include information about transport and traffic issues, as well as ideas for improvements.
A walk to school campaign can also help reduce traffic. The charity Living Streets has been campaigning since 1929 to make the streets safer and more attractive, largely by getting more people walking. If your school isn’t one of the 2,000 across the UK involved in Living Streets’ Walk to School campaign, contact your headteacher or ask your local authority to involve all schools in your area.
“One of the things we do is look at what is stopping people from walking their children to school,” says Kevin Golding-Williams, public affairs and policy manager at Living Streets. “It can be anything from poorly maintained pavements to traffic congestion around the school gate. Addressing those barriers can have a big impact on getting people out of their cars.
“We also conduct street audits with local authorities and community groups to identify what improvements could be made. That might be removing unnecessary bollards or other obstructive street furniture to help make walking safer and easier.”
Article from the Gardian: Tidy St: Shining a light on community energy efficiency. Residents of a Brighton street are taking part in a project to monitor daily energy use
The old adage that you can’t manage what you don’t measure is particularly pertinent when it comes to household energy use, which soared by 13.4% in 2010. Few people measure their weekly or even daily electricity consumption, which makes it hard for them to work out, where cuts might be possible – even if they wanted to.
Enter Tidy Street in Brighton. Residents who volunteered for a new energy-saving initiative have been given electricity meters so they can monitor their daily energy use, and identify which devices are using the most power, and when. For the past three weeks, they have been entering daily meter readings on tidystreet.org, to build up a picture of each household’s energy use.
Once people started measuring – 17 of the street’s 52 households signed up straight away – local street artist Snub was commissioned to paint the street’s average energy use against the Brighton average in a graph on the road outside their homes.
“It’s a great way to do it,” says Paul Clark, a software developer who has lived on Tidy Street for 10 years. “It engages people – passers-by often ask what it’s all about – and for those of us that live here, it’s something to be proud of.”
Open-source software designed specially for the project allows each household to compare their energy use not only with the Brighton average, but also with the national average or even that of other countries. Involving the community was key to getting the project off the ground, says Jon Bird, the project co-ordinator and designer of the software.
“I went along to the residents’ annual street party last year, and explained what we were trying to do; that it was voluntary and that no one was trying to impose anything on anyone,” he says.
“Then it was a case of identifying the ‘champions’ in the street – those who were going to tell their neighbours about the project; those who were going to be doing the measuring in the individual households.”
Each household has chosen its own icon to mark the data points on the street and online graphs and residents’ input helps foster the sense they own the project.
Ruth Goodall, 70, who has lived on Tidy Street for 30 years, says she wasn’t interested in her electricity use before the initiative but measuring it every day has inspired her to change her behaviour. “I always used to fill up my kettle to the top but having seen how much extra power that uses I’m careful to just boil what I need,” she says.
Strikingly, over the three weeks the project has been running, the street’s average energy use has dropped by 15%, with some people cutting usage by as much as 30%. Much of this has been achieved by simple behavioural changes such as turning of lights and devices on standby.
“Now the challenge is to see if those reductions can be maintained,” says Bird.
Phase two of the project is about to be launched, during which 10 households on Tidy Street will for the first time measure their gas usage over the next six months.
“We are also looking at working with community groups based in the city, such as Brighton and Hove 10:10, to encourage other streets and organisations in the city, to start measuring their energy use,” says Bird, who has recently been approached by one school, keen to set up an electricity-use measuring project with its pupils.
Perhaps energy companies should take note. Next year sees the introduction of the “green deal”, a scheme whereby people can invest in energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost, instead paying through installments on their energy bills. Community engagement will be key to their ability to deliver the programme.
Artist Aparna Rao re-imagines the familiar in surprising, often humorous ways. With her collaborator Soren Pors, Rao creates high-tech art installations — a typewriter that sends emails, a camera that tracks you through the room only to make you invisible on screen — that put a playful spin on ordinary objects and interactions.
The ‘Pygmies’ is the installation which is the most poetic for me.