WELCOME TO DESMA 160

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.


BLOGS

Cordyceps: Your Best Friend or Your Worst Nightmare

    When I was in high school, I really enjoyed this one zombie game called The Last of Us. It was a story driven, single player game that followed the story of two survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The difference between this story and countless other zombie narratives was the the zombie infection was caused by a parasitic fungus known as Cordyceps. Despite the intriguing fictional narrative, I was surprised to find out that Cordyceps are a real thing.

Mycelium bricks

When considering my project ideas I wanted to create a project that captured the social climate of today's society, mainly focusing on the idea of change.We can already see the changes from the way people interact to the flux in the economy. It is already predetermined that there will be huge changes in technology and human experience in the years to follow covid-19.

Midterm Topic: Clean Cosmetics

            For the midterm and my final project, I wanted to focus on makeup. My inspiration for wanting to touch upon this topic is twofold. Last year, when I was in Professor Vesna's Honors 177 Collegium, I stumbled across a project from a then student in DESMA 160, Yuna Park. Her project went into detail about chemical free cosmetics. She wanted to focus on creating an app that detailed all the harmful chemicals within specific products, and, to my recollection, also provided healthier alternatives to some makeup compounds.

Bioluminescent Fungi

As I watched the movie “Fantastic Fungi,” the growth and their process fascinated me. Mostly, mushrooms were made from the dead organisms as they decomposed. However, it was so interesting that new life was born through the deaths. Those mushrooms were so diverse in terms of colors, shapes, and characteristics. Among those various kinds of mushrooms, the fungi that glowed in the dark seemed very interesting and I wanted to know why and how it happened.

 

Earth Day app, Fungi, horseman and the bible apocalypse

I really appreciated the work of Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho that Group 1 had presented. The installation titled Lines is a visual representation of potential elevated sea levels should we continue down this trajectory. It manages to convey complex ideas in a simple, effective and beautiful way.

Currently, especially given the limitations of the digital platform, there is a heavy emphasis on data visualization that is dependent on graphs, or charts or maps. How do we spread awareness in a way that is alarming but not overwhelming?

Earth Day

Earth Day proposition

This is a blog in response to the project proposal assignment for earth day. On Thursday we were prompted to theorize a project in response to Earth day and what that means in our new technology heavy environments. Our project was very much in the conceptual stages, we were posing questions and suggesting projects that inspired us. We concluded that the most impactful project would be one that is educational and simple.

Group Summary: Sebastian, Iman, and Shreya

During Thursday's class, Iman Person, Shreya Neogi, and I discussed Earth Day and what artists are doing around the world to commemorate its 50th anniversary. After we learned that this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station, we stumbled across a NASA campaign dubbed "Picture Earth" that is designed to foster creativity and promote a sense of "togetherness at a distance".

Some Good News: Earth Day

            In this blog, I want to first address something that has been on my mind in the last few weeks and has recently become more and more exacerbated over the past couple days. News media outlets that I follow such as Bloomberg, Businessweek, Business Insider, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, CNN, CNBC, etc. have all posted about how radically different cities and streets in some of the world's largest metropolitan areas have looked during this pandemic.

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