DMA 160 | Biotech was a broad introduction to the different approaches in which art and science merge to create innovative projects. Our instructor took simple ideas and deconstructed them in order to find the complexities that exist within such subject matters. In class, we studied a variety of topics, such as the following: microscopy, consciousness/neuroscience, bioplastic, mycelium, grains, Chinese zodiac, origami, natural dye, KOMBUCHA and many more! I really enjoyed seeing art in the scientific context and vice-versa, it encouraged me to merge scientific research into my own work.
After taking this class, it made me reflect on how important it is to have designers and artists involved in the science field are that through collaboration innovation flourishes. Being that I went to a high school where it focused mainly in science and then I transferred to an art school in University, this class brought me back to my interest in science and math, yet allowing me to approach such topics through critical design.
P.S. Victoria and Maru were amazing! I fell in love with the energy that they brought to class, always excited to share interesting topics and making them interactive. I was always eager to go to class!!
For my final project, I decided to focus on behavioral learning through visual memory. I got inspired by Victoria’s lecture about neuroscience and consciousness where she talked about how consciousness has been studied by both scientists and artists in the search of understanding ourselves both scientifically and artistically. My fascination grew once I began researching artists who’ve experimented with neuroscience technologies, e.g. EEG. An example of this is Ion Popian’s “Mental Fabrication” where he worked with EEGs to understand how people perceive space and design architectural structures accordingly.
There were a few reasons why I decided to focus on behavioral learning and memory, the two main ones were my dance background and my lack of memory for my childhood. I danced Ballet for 13 years and remembering movement was crucial for being a good dancer. Being that ballet has a lot of structure, I was taught by Cubans, which added that structure. My professors were incredibly strict, I was dancing half of the day 5 days a week, learning different movement every day and having to remember the ones I had done previously. It was mentally and physically exhausting. However, through years of practice, I was able to train my body to memorize movement and be conscious of others physical language. What many don’t realize is that there is an unspoken code that happens when bodies interact.
For my final project, I decided to make a prototype to demonstrate the design quality and experiential potential that this project has. I collaborated with two other designers, we did research and held meetings every week to discuss the best design approach to our understanding of how neurons communicate with one another and how that information is stored. Evgenia Terzi developed the structure where user A would be looking at it on one side, while user B looks at it on the opposite side. Both users would have an EEG that is recording their brain activity and such activity would be represented visually on the structure. The visualizations were done by the other designer, Matea Friend, and I. The way in which the users would interact with the visuals would be through their brain activities, the frequency and color of the visuals would change accordingly. Subject A would see the visual representation of Subject B and vice versa. The idea behind this structure is to create visual communication between the users through the visual language.
Top Three Projects
Deena Mostafa, Mycelium
I really enjoyed the beautiful geometries that Deena applied on her mycelium and their cultural references. I think it was very clever of her to tint her structure with Hibiscus tea and to make turn it into a perfect geometry. I know that she enjoys doing fabrication and it’s nice to see that with natural materials.
Lilyan Kris & Zoe Ingram, Plant App
I had fun trying their app, the idea that I am being classified as a plant is simply brilliant! It’s endearing and at the same time, it makes reference to the idiotic classifications that are being used in social media.
Chelly Jin, Hair Book
Chelly’s book was simply stunning. I really enjoyed going through her research as well as her photographs. I think it was well written and had a strong design quality. Even though the content of the book was beautifully put, the part that I had most fun was the front cover where the string resembled hair. It allowed the user to interact with the strings as if though you were interacting with your own (or someone else’s) hair.