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.


Midterm Proposal- Herbs

160 midterm proposal 

For my midterm project, I want to focus on research on traditional Chinese Medicine- Chinese Herb. How these herbs influence and cure human diseases—also, the culture behind these herbs.

I plan to design an installation focus on Chinese Herb's Aromatherapy. By using the aroma of herbs, through interactive smell, to recording people's reflections such as facial expressions and mental changes. The aroma printer will print out the results about people's reactions to different herbs. 

(Midterm) Reusing Recycled Materials

For the midterm projects, I wanted to focus on ways to reuse recycled materials. A number of plastics and paper wastes produced everyday world widely and they harm the ecosystem. I saw one video that straw is stuck into a turtle’s nose. This made me realize that a single straw that I use for drinking a cup of coffee from a cafe can be effective for animals from the natural environment. Therefore, I would like to study how those wastes, such as plastics, can reuse in daily life.


[Midterm Topic] Climate and Diet

For the final project I have decided that I want to focus about food.

Since the "stay home" announcement from the coronavirus I have been just home for a little over a month now. And because I am stuck at home I have been cooking a lot. I've been so used to just either buying food from school or packaged food at grocery stores that I didn't even realize that I haven't actually cooked for myself in a very long time. As I started cooking I came to realize the importance of my diet and how that can relate to our environment. 

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.


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