I had the chance to present “Designing with Living Organisms” at Research through Design (RTD) conference 2017
Research through Design (RTD) conference hosted at the National Museum of Scotland
22nd – 24th March, 2017
Collaboration with Larissa Pschetz
Edinburgh, Scotland 2017
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.
I created this project, in collaboration with PhD Hadi Mehrpouya, as the final piece of my master thesis.
Please have a look at our WEBSITE to have more informations about the project.
Everyday we get bombarded with data and information from all over the world. Often we feel helpless about our abilities to do things while being trapped in the dilemma of knowing the consequences of our consumptions and choices. Playing on these feelings, SAAD, from Afrikaans meaning Seed, is visualising human deaths as a direct and indirect result of the mining industry and conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), used to build smart-phones and computers. The project is constructed on different layers which all recall the idea of being on the edge, the border between life and death, and emphasise the complexity of nothing being either totally positive or negative. SAAD is composed of two complementary installations: a seed dispenser and a plant, visualising deaths due to the mining industry in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It aims to push the reflexion of the responsibility Western consumer users of smartphones and computers have towards these workers. It plays on the feeling of being helpless towards the different issues our societies are facing. The project is constructed on different layers which all recall the idea of being on the edge, the border between life and death, and emphasise the complexity of nothing being either totally positive or negative. It aims to symbolise the complexity of today’s world and the difficulty to position the self and the ethic in it. We choose to focus on the partial perspective we have of our electronic devices nowadays, as it is something most Europeans possessed and use everyday without questioning the impact it can have on other human beings and the natural environment.
Tao Liu Photographs The Awkward, In-Between Moments In Life:
Liu is fairly popular street photographer in China—where he lives—and is a self-taught artist. His photography and style are born from his (assumed) former job as a water meter reader. He would take photos of little things that caught his eye on breaks and when walking to or from work. Obviously what he saw has hit something very relatable as he has become incredibly popular at pointing out life’s little idiosyncrasies.
If you recall almost a year ago, we shared similar work by photographer John Goldsmith. Both artists point out how ridiculous life can be and that, if you stop to take the time or simply look at something another way, you can have a good laugh at it. And, again: photography like this relies on expert timing. From The Fox Is Black
Interesting work by Plan B. It is a very good reference in relation to my own work with MyMap. In a way I am also making a drawing of my life by revealing the map, but instead of having only lines on the white canvas, I am revealing where the user have actually been, making it more like a painting.
“I record everywhere I go (outside) with a GPS. I have been doing this since April 2003. My intention is to develop a sense for the drawing I am making across the surface of the earth with my body every time I move. There are technical reasons for why this is not easy in a building but everywhere I go that is in clear view of the sky, I turn my GPS on and begin recording my location. The initial impulse behind wanting to know what the drawing of my life would look like started when I contemplated leaving London where I was born and grew up and started spending more time in Berlin after 2001. At first I mourned the thought of all that knowledge of how to navigate around London plus all the stories and events that inform how I ‘read’ London being rendered useless in the new city. On further contemplation I realised that Berlin was offering me an option London now denies me – I could chart myself learning about a new city in a way I can’t with London – I could watch myself ‘joining the city up’.” by plan b