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.


Week 2: HOX Zodiac

On Wednesday in class, we were talking about the HOX Zodiac and when we got to the snake, it was really interesting to learn how often snakes come up in religious imagery. I’m not religious so I didn’t have a lot of context for it, so what I learned was pretty eye-opening.

Week 2: Genetics/Biotech - HOX ZODIAC

I found today’s discussion and presentation on the HOX ZODIAC (Based on a Chinese Zodiac) very interesting, because of the recent re-discoveries (interpreted as current advancements) in biotechnology. In this century the connection between living species and organisms is being extremely defined at a global level, and it is becoming more evident and understood as our linear sense of time passes us by.

Week 1 Cooked : Air

Wednesday’s class and movie was very captivating. Further than the content of the documentary, the way in which it was filmed and edited was tastefully done as well.

The entire episode was centered around the importance and the cultural value of bread and grain. The simplest recipe is shown modified and re-imagined through different societies and generations. I never looked this far into the production of bread, but this documentary got me extremely interested in the process.

Week 1: Workshop Makeup - Waste

During the class discussion, one of the videos that shocked me was “E-Waste Hell” on Youtube. Furthermore, the discussion lead by one of the presenters Vera Wittkowsky about where phones go after they become obsolete was very interesting. A lot of the people in class stated that it goes into their drawers, and I had to agree that the small electronics at my home also are placed into the drawers in our kitchen.

Week 1: Workshop

In Linda Weintraub’s workshop, I learned about what it means to be an eco material artist. These artists respond to Weintraub's question “what's next?”, by “presenting materiality as a strategy to convert society’s environmental neglect into responsible stewardship”. It was interesting to listen and work hands-on with these presenters as they taught about eco materialism and how it ties into contemporary art.


This Saturday, April 6th, I was fortunate enough to attend the exhibition UNDERSTANDING - ART & RESEARCH. This exhibition was a showcase and celebration for both the art and science world. The show was based around 15 projects where different artists used the integration of science and technological research to create projects that helped bend the lines of science and art.

Week 1: Workshops


In the Workshops What’s Next? Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art, there was a series of one hour long workshops with the theme of organisms being tools themselves which includes us as humans; to be using ourselves as the tools to solving issues. From these workshops, I attended “Unseen: The Invisible Menace” by Jiayi Young and “Totally Warm: The Materiality of Heat” by Iain Kerr.


Wednesday’s class brought a new perspective into my mind in regards to the importance of bread, grain, maize and the idea of genetically modified crops/foods that is being distributed to the everyday homes of people.

Week 1

After the Netflix episode we watched about bread in class on Wednesday and our conversation about GMOs that followed, I was really interested in learning more about the additives we put into our processed bread and the ramifications of having them in our food.


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