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.


Natural Dyes!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this last week’s workshop. It was a great time to me getting to work on the dyes along with my classmates and learning about Kelp from Emma. For my natural dye I decided to use ivy as my choice of invasive species. It was the most accessible plant in my area but it actually worked out quite well.


Natural Dyes and update on my kombucha

In class, I tried the first-ever natural dyeing in my life (thanks Emma!) and before that, I didn't even know what the purpose of collecting those invasive plants was during the hike. I know some natural dyes in food, like Indian turmeric rice and Butterfly pea flower tea. But I never imagined people out there are trying to do natural dyeing with ingredients that are out of my expectation, for example, chestnuts, onion skins, and brazilwood.

Experiment Updates + Kelp

I really enjoyed last week's class and how hands on we were! I have never tried natural dying before this. For reference the plant I collected is shown on the right. I was surprised to find the color turned into a bright yellow. The plant had bright green leaves, reddish stem, and the inside was more of a light yellow.

Mycelium Kit and the potential of biomaterial

Being quarantined for almost a year, it is so nice to get some fresh air outside, especially in nature. This weekend I went to Laguna Beach Cliff Hike with my sister and her puppy Willow for collecting invasive plants. The process was pretty interesting because my focus was looking for invasive plants instead of hiking so it turns out like a Scavenger Hunt game. I wanted to collect eucalyptus on the trail, however, there was a lot of shrub and it was not easy to find eucalyptus trees.

Check out this GIANT REISHI Mushroom!

Last month my friends and I went on a 14-mile hike through the forest and winding roads of the Oregon coast and we came out with a treasure!! 

This giant Reishi mushroom was spotted by a guest mycologist who found it attached to a rotting tree trunk on the side of the road. Luckily one of our other friends (holding the mushroom in this pic) knew just what to do with it- He took it home to make a potent Reishi Tea, known for its healing, medicinal properties. 

Stepping Outside

Today I went out for the first time in 2-3 weeks to collect invasive plant species. I took my dog with me, which meant I wouldn't be able to walk for too long because he's fat, old, and lazy. The good thing was that when I went through the list of California's invasive plant species the night before, I recognized a lot of the plants. If I knew they were invasive plants, I would've uprooted them while I was young so I could get away with it... Anyways, I just decided to walk through my neighborhood and see what I would come across.

Hiking and Mycelium Biomaterials

I had a lot of fun hiking and get out into nature! I hiked through Placerita Canyon Nature Center and did the Hillside and Canyon Trail (a little over 4 miles round trip). Placerita is located on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains southeast of Santa Clarita. On the hike there were a lot of stumps, and I was excited to find mushrooms growing on the side of them!

Kombucha and the possibility to replace plastic

The process of making kombucha is more simple than I thought and it was so fun that I finally made one on my own. I used two English Breakfast tea bags and added dark Muscovado sugar instead of white sugar, therefore, the color of my kombucha is pretty dark. I left some space in my mason jar but not sure if that’s enough for my kombucha to breathe. I am pretty worried if mine will explode. I will definitely check it every week and upload its picture to my blog.

Bread Making + GMOs

Bread making + GMOs


In this blog I will be covering the process of my first time making bread. The ingredients I used are as follows: bread flour, dry active yeast, brown sugar, and water. I chose to not use salt because I planned to dress the bread with salted butter. 



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