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.


Pencil Art (Sculptures)

During the lecture on Tuesday, Dr. Gimzewski briefly mentioned the type of artworks that can be created with graphite or a pencil. Specifically, he mentioned that there were artists online who have been carving micro-sculptures out of a standard pencil. Before Dr. Gimzewski mentioned this, I had somehow never come across this surprisingly popular art form that seems to have been on the internet and in the art world for quite a bit.


Before the lecture on Tuesday I never questioned about the how pencils are made. Pencils is something we grew up with without questioning anything about it. It's been something that always there. After the lecture I looked up for the first time what the process is like to make a pencil. I have linked the video below that I found that was very interesting by showing the process of how these pencils are made. I also did some research to gather more information about how its made.

April 7


Today we will learn about SCALE -- macro to micro and we have a nanoscientist, Dr. James Gimzewski give us a short lecture to discuss. We will look at a PENCIL in depth! From a tree to a log, cutting with saws to mining metals, transporting the log to mills, shipping, communication systems, packaging, assembly. In the factory the graphite is mixed with clay, lacquered, branded and the eraser is inserted in to the wood with the brass that holds it.


Yeast Making

So I wanted to try to make yeast with gluten-free flour! I searched around, and these recipes, as I found in my previous research, all seemed to mention how specific flour and measurements were necessary. I only had coconut flour at home so I thought to try to make it with that. I tried to make it and nothing seemed to happen after 24 hours so it seems either the flour just won't be able to host the yeast or my ratio was off. I am curious about what the ratio is as there are so many different recipes online.


For this assignment I decided to pick rice as something to build relationship with. Rice is one of the most important food supply in South Korea as many of the traditional food are all made with rice. So for this assignment I made a crispy rice cake. This is something I have always known how to make since its one of our traditional food. I haven't made one in a while so making this rice cake was very therapeutic. First you need rice and some tablespoon flour and vegetable oil.

Malt, yeast and hops

I take a sip. The liquid enters my lips, flows down my throat and into my belly. Another sip and the warmth spreads through my body.  Another sip, this time I hold it in my mouth, swirl it around with my tongue and I become acutely aware of the intimate relationship I have with my beer.


Of all the grains, I find rice to be the most fascinating, as it's immense versatility is something that can be completely incorporated into every part of life. In Japan, every part of the oryza sativa plant is used, even beyond rice for eating and fermenting into alcohol. Due to it's huge variety of texture depending on the method of processing, it is used to make glues, papers, mats, shoes, and more. 


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