WELCOME TO DESMA 160

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.


BLOGS

Turmeric Paint

On Thursday we learned about Sasha's journey as an artist and bio-materials. I didn't think I would be interested in Sasha's life, but I was dragged in. I could relate to her struggles using harmful supplies since I was ceramic/ sculpture orientated when I first arrived at UCLA. I remember my high school portfolio had a lot of roofing tar in it and I just threw them away after I was done with documenting them. While looking at Sasha's pictures throughout college, I realized that art is a very wasteful field.

The hidden history of indigo pigment

I am so glad that we did another seaweed natural dyeing workshop in class, and it really has widened my horizon of how capable natural creation could be. So in Sasha FIsherman’s workshop, I chose egg yolk as my natural binder, and I took a photo right after I added a pinch of the indigo pigment powder which I found the colors and the texture look so great together. The mixture was pretty thick to be honest, I guess I should have added some water into it to make it smoother.

Horseshoe Crab Blue Blood + Paint Making

I really enjoyed Sasha Fisherman’s presentation and learned a lot of new information. I also appreciated Emma posting more information on horseshoe crabs. I previously knew horseshoe crabs are one of the oldest living species, but was unaware of their blue blood and how valuable it is. According to Carrie Arnold from National Geographic the lysate from their blood costs $60,000 per gallon.

Baby Blue Blood; Horseshoe Shoe Crabs & Medicine

Every year thousands of horseshoe crabs are plucked from the seafloor and taken to labs to extract vials of BLUE blood. This valuable liquid has an incredible coagulating property vital to developing vaccines. Within the last year, the demand for this species's blood has risen tremendously and reveals just how dependent we are upon the world's Oceans and the beings that live within them. 

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