Week 5: Midterm Proposals

During Week 5, we listened to our classmates’ midterm presentations for both Monday and Wednesday classes. It was really interesting to see the diverse range of projects within the biotech design realm presented. It truly shows how explorative the department of Design Media Arts can be, and I’m very excited to see everyone’s final projects.


A project that really stood out to me was Seenahm’s bioplastics exploration. It never came to mind to actually create a new recipe regarding bioplastics, so I think it’s really cool. Bioplastics are a biodegradable material  that come from renewable sources, thus reducing plastic waste and aiding the planet and its current contamination of single-use plastics.[1] I also really appreciated her commitment to using and testing these recipes for everyday wear of practical things she uses daily, and is something I would also consider doing in the future. I think bioplastics could be such a key component in product and food packaging in the future as well, and am excited to see what my other classmates have in store regarding this commercial direction. According to Wageningen Food and Biobased Research, consumers can usually tell the difference between conventional packaging materials and bio-based or biodegradable packaging that has a different material composition.[2] However, as being environmentally conscious becomes not only more trendy, but necessary for our survival, hopefully this is something all manufacturers will transition into. 

 


In addition, I also really enjoyed Jimmy’s project proposal on DNA. DNA has always been extremely interesting to me ever since learning about it in detail in my high school science courses, and I think the way that Jimmy is merging DNA data and graphic interpretation is fascinating. I think maybe incorporating something regarding the popular sites 23andme or Ancestry.com could add another layer of depth to this project as well.[3]

 


Lastly, Week 5 was also the week that I activated my Mycelium package. Mycelium, known as the internet for nature within ecosystems, is the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony.[4] So far, according to the instructional manual for the Ecovative Mycelium Material, I have completed Step 1.[5] I’ve activated my package with flour and water, shook it vigorously for a minute, and have left the mycelium to grow for 5 days. Soon I will begin to mold it, and am still thinking about what I exactly want to do with it. I’m leaning more in the direction of a planter of sorts to put succulents in - it’d be interesting to see how it would interact with it!

 

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[1] https://www.activesustainability.com/environment/what-are-bioplastics/
[2] https://www.european-bioplastics.org/bio-based-food-packaging-through-the-eyes-of-the-consumer/
[3] https://www.smarterhobby.com/genealogy/best-dna-test/
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycelium
[5] https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ecovative-website-production/documents/Grow-It-Yourself-Instruction-Manual-v1.0.pdf