Design and Science Exhibition Catalogue (2019)

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Curated by Leslie Atzmon September 11–October 17, 2019, University Gallery, Eastern Michigan University February 13–March 28, 2020, Esther Klein Gallery, Science Center, Philadelphia


DESIGN & SCIENCE Leslie Atzmon

Designers don’t just make things; they tackle complex issues by first considering how to address unresolved situations, then conceptualizing resolutions, and finally bringing these solutions to fruition. Design and Science investigates how these aspects of design processes overlap with science in fascinating and fruitful ways. The exhibition features projects that connect design and science through 2D and 3D models; projects that integrate design and science through biodesign; and projects that present material representations of data about natural systems. VISUAL METAPHOR AND THINKING MODELS Visual metaphor is common to both design and science investigations in which 2D or 3D models are used to think through imaginary, artificial, or natural processes. Charles Darwin, for example, sketched “tree-of-life” diagrams to help him determine the nature of evolutionary systems. Beginning with a tree metaphor, Darwin used sketching, information visualization, and graphic representation as mechanisms for both externalizing his thoughts, and for communicating his ideas to the public. Darwin, in fact, felt that such sketches frequently were the best way to express his complex ideas. The messiness of Darwin’s Tree-of-Life Sketch from Notebook B from 1837, Seaweed Sketch from 1843, and his two Tree Sketch[es] Showing Geological Time from the 1850s—”the uneven line widths, the sprawling, irregular patterns—suggest that these diagrams were drawn fairly quickly, while Darwin imagined the processes that he was trying to represent” (Atzmon 2015, 146). Most design sketches are fairly quick and messy, but the “messiness of these ‘tree-of-Life’ sketches” simultaneously suggest the “untidiness, unevenness, and unpredictability of the organic evolutionary processes that they delineate” (Atzmon 2015, 146). According to physicist and historian David Kaiser, physicist Richard Feynman understood his diagrams to be dynamic representations of the quantum-mechanical world, a “patchwork of comings and goings on the microlevel, particles careening to and fro as they marched through space and

time” (Kaiser as quoted in Frankel 2003). Feynman created schematics in which he used various sorts of lines as metaphorical models, as in his diagrams in this exhibition, Kaon Decay and Gluon Radiation.

Physicist Freeman Dyson, for instance, describes the Feynman diagram above: “an electron line joining x1 to x 2 represents the possible creation of an electron at x1 and its annihilation at x 2, together with the possible creation of a positron at x 2 and its annihilation at x1” (Dyson as quoted in Brown 2018, 428). Like Feynman diagrams, visual models of information “reveal knowledge relevant to understanding mechanism, process and dynamics, cause and effect.” In them “We see the unthinkable and think the unseeable” (Tufte as quoted in Shermer 2005). Information scientist Edward Tufte explains that his own 3D renditions of Feynman diagrams (including All Possible Photons 6-Photon Scattering, which is featured in Design and Science) “reveal the endless complexities that result from multiplying and varied fundamental elements” (Shermer 2005). In Darwin’s sketches and Feynman diagrams (and Tufte’s representations of them), the visual models are not just an aid to physical calculations and data, they are metaphorical representations that can reveal hidden natural processes. Philosopher Michael Polanyi, in fact, argues that data isn’t enough for scientists to imagine how uncharted scientific processes might work, there also needs to be a “leap of ‘illumination’”—for example, the myriad quantum mechanical behaviors in Feynman diagrams—that allows scientists



(and designers) to imagine a range of possible outcomes. Darwin’s sketches and Feynman’s diagrams are examples of how scientists generate visual models that “employ tacit as well as explicit knowledge to identify and trace ideas, connections, and experiences” (Rust 2004, 76).

function. “This combination of biology and engineering approaches,” Dean explains, “helps shine a light on the functional roles of tissues—while also pointing to features that would be useful for human-made tiled composites” beyond shark skeleton.

Scientists James Watson, Francis Crick, and Rosalind Franklin likewise utilized “designerly methods” to generate “rich representations” of possible structures and functions for DNA, as demonstrated in the Original Demonstration Model of the Double Helix, Reconstructions of Double Helix Model, Sketch of the DNA Double Helix by Francis Crick, and Franklin’s Photo 51 showing x-ray diffraction pattern of DNA that are exhibited in Design and Science. Franklin used X-ray crystallography to help her determine the three-dimensional structure of DNA (Rust 2004, 81). In this technique, X-rays are first directed at molecular structures; they are then diffracted (scattered) by the “solid” parts of the molecule, and pass through where there is no solid material. This process reveals the 3D structure of a substance. The diffraction pattern in Franklin’s imagery helped to determine the helical structure of the double helix strands of DNA. Watson and Crick generated several “thinking” sketches as well as models made from sheet metal and cardboard, in part based on Franklin’s imagery and data (which they acquired without her permission). Some of Watson and Crick’s models were inaccurate, and others were only partially accurate, but as design critic Chris Rust argues, “it was only by constructing and, arguably, dwelling in their model that Watson and Crick could make the mental connections needed to complete the puzzle” (Rust 2004, 81).

The skeletal system is likewise the subject of The Nature of Being by Jason J. Ferguson. Ferguson models his entire skeletal system using medical imaging. He explains that “Thousands of images were compiled and processed using Simpleware Scan IP medical software,” and clarifies that his “bones were segmented from the surrounding tissue. [Then] each bone was 3D printed at a layer height of 200 microns, and the skeletal system was reassembled.” In this piece, Ferguson creates a model of the unseen skeletal structures that function within his body in order to uncover issues around his own identity and mortality. In his other piece in the exhibition, Inanimate Dissection, Ferguson anatomizes a designed artifact—a common brown suede shoe—as a way of revealing the hidden structure of a functional object. “As the shoe was deconstructed,” Ferguson explains, “each layer was carefully peeled back and pinned in place following the protocol for disemboweling a frog or fetal pig.” Here a designed object serves as a metaphor for a living creature. For Inanimate Dissection, Ferguson also worked with a pathophysiologist to perform a post-mortem examination on a human cadaver. Doing so helped him to assimilate aspects of the dissection process; it also allowed him to understand the relationships between the materiality and functionality of his own body and the materiality and functionality of inanimate designed objects.

Biologist Mason Dean’s collaborative research group uses “thinking” models as well to discover how shark skeleton functions. Dean writes that cartilaginous shark skeletons “perform just as well as [our bone skeletons]—and perhaps better.” Using digital and physical modeling techniques— as shown in Shark/Ray Cartilage Digital Parametric Modeling Study—Dean’s group investigates how skeletal tissue can be made resistant to damage by looking at skeletal tesserae, which are minuscule “tile” structures within shark skeletal tissue. Dean’s group scales up models of the tesserae “tiles,” and prints them in 3D, in order to test how they

As Ferguson’s work suggests, design is a medium that allows designers and scientists to “blur distinctions between the ‘real’ real and the ‘unreal’ real,” giving “form to the multiverse of worlds our world could be” (Dunne and Raby 2013, 159). Modeling may be used in speculative design, which imagines possible futures as a “catalyst for change” (Dunne and Raby 2013, 33). In his speculative biodesign project Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS with SOFT Blimp Bumper Bus, architect Mitchell Joachim brings together design and science to model “a radical strategy for rethinking street crossroads.” This project proposes a


system of intelligent environmental elements called Smart DOTS, “green modules that filter rainfall (what is called greywater)—and, at the same time, slow…traffic to separate walking zones, bicycles, and transportation zones.” In Soft MOBS, Mitchell proposes a new technological and material arrangement in which cars move in pliable ways, and soft vehicles allow users to be in direct contact with the street. This speculative biodesign scheme “questions the hard boundaries that automobiles impose upon the streetscape,” Joachim explains, “in which people are forced to move around cumbersome barriers, and often around dangerous metal cars.” Joachim imagines these public spaces as a supple organic environment, a soft fleshly system with no hard borders among the streetscape, vehicles, and living inhabitants. The way that designers translate novel scenarios into pragmatic experiences using visual metaphor and models, suggests Chris Rust, can likewise serve as an investigative tool for scientists (2004, 78). Rust cites a project by designers Pelle Ehn and Morten Kyng in which they used visual metaphor and modeling to conceptualize computer systems that were based on yet-to-be-invented technologies. They came up with a technique called the “cardboard computer,” which utilized paper and cardboard representations. This system was easy to manipulate, and using unorthodox materials pushed those involved to suspend judgement and to engage in “imaginative play activity” that temporarily set aside “technical or organizational limitations.” This computer made of cardboard allowed “participants to enter into an imaginary world (which they would not have been able to envision by other means), explore it, and, most important, manipulate it to further their exploration” (Rust 2004, 79). Both designers and scientists use 2D or 3D models that adapt visual metaphors, utilize unorthodox materials, or employ atypical scales to reveal hidden, intangible, or imaginary processes or materials. BIODESIGN The material and functional qualities of design and science can coalesce in the co-evolution of ideas and things, what mathematician Danny Hillis calls “Entanglement.” Hillis describes Entanglement as a condition in which we are “intertwined with what we have created” and in which we have “outgrown the distinction between the natural and the artificial.” One form of entanglement is biodesign, which incorporates design processes and living systems, produces human-made materials that function as living systems, employs organisms in the production of items for human use, or engineers biological systems.

Speculative Biodesign Mitchell Joachim’s speculative design project FAB TREE HAB, which is composed of 100% living materials, meshes human life, the home, and the terrestrial environment. Home, Joachim explains, therefore becomes indistinct both from its inhabitants and the surrounding ecosystem. The Living Light Dress by designer Victoria Geaney “blurs the lines between reality and the hyperreal–between actual design and speculative design.” It deals with bacteria and the body. Living Light Dress merges design and biology in a “living” garment, which gets its soft blue glow from living bioluminescent bacteria Photobacterium kishitanni. Geaney presents this hybrid garment in images produced in the context of a fashion photoshoot—a designerly intervention that uses the embodied garment as a medium of “seduction.” The Living Light Dress is purposely not a wearable garment, Geaney explains. As an installation, it instead suggests the ecological, social, philosophical, and political implications of utilizing living materials in design, “while also making beautiful microbial worlds visible.” While Living Light Dress reveals unseen microbial worlds, Miriam Simun’s Agalinis Dreams liberates an “un-smelled” fragrance. Simun considers Agalinis acuta, a flower so small that its scent has never been perceived by humans. Using living flower headspace technology, Simun captured the scent of the Agalinis and recreated it for human perception using her specially designed adoro nosepiece. Her artist book, What Is Known, documents this process. Design Artifacts Incorporated into Biological Systems and Materials Graphic designer Ori Elisar’s The Living Language Project is a generative bio-linguistic research piece that explores the unpredictability of both biology and culture. Generative design is an iterative process that gives rise to a range of outcomes. Although, generative design is typically driven by computer algorithms, Elisar instead uses Paenibacillus vortex bacteria to re-create 2,000-year-old “dead” Hebrew letters, which then “evolve” into contemporary Hebrew letters as the bacteria grow. He uses the bacteria to design what is literally a “living” language that reflects the linguistic history of Hebrew. Unpredictable changes are typical in generative design—and in biological evolution, the evolution of civilizations, and the evolution of letters. Elisar uses the unpredictable aspects of bacterial growth to reflect this observation.



Designed artifacts can also be configured by designers and scientists to be a constituent of natural systems. There are a range of thought-provoking biodesign projects that utilize mushrooms as a substrate. Designer Audrey Speyer’s PuriFungi features a biodegradable pod incubator for fungi. Champtray remediates cigarette butts. “Mushrooms [fungi], the primary natural recycler,” Speyer explains, “have a powerful digestive system that absorbs, digests, and stocks both organic and inorganic toxic substances, such as industrial waste. The waste is absorbed through the mycelium, which is the [filamentous] root system of mushroom cultures.” This process is called mycoremediation. Speyer’s project Champtray de Luxe is produced through mycoremediation of cigarette butts. PuriFungi uses a system of networked MycoPods that treat polluted sites, after which plants and animals eventually return to what was a formerly polluted site.

While the previous three projects use mushrooms in design, Charlett Wenig uses the structural characteristics and mechanical properties of bones. For The Bone Project—in which she mechanically or chemically altered bones—she found that bones treated in certain ways retain their shape, even “under massive pressure.” Most sports protective gear is made of synthetic material, which often breaks and thus fails to protect users. Wenig found that the bent bone, like that featured in The Bone Project, is a “better, more environmentally friendly alternative” for protective gear for sports. Environmental benefit is also a main concern in A Place For Plastics, in which Megan Valanidas experimented to create soil-degradable plastics for single-use goods and packaging. The biopolymers she ultimately devised for the project are broken down readily by local bacteria into non-toxic materials.

Biological Systems and Materials Incorporated into Design Artifacts Mitchell Joachim’s chair design, Gen2Seat, uses mycelium— the same underground fungi threads that remediate polluted soil in PuriFungi—in combination with discarded wood chips, gypsum, and oat bran. This mix is consumed by the mycelia, and is then hardened into a tough, functional material with an external skin of bacteria cellulose. The mycelia substrate and bacterial cellulose integrate to become a hard biopolymer that is molded into this Mycoform seat. A collaboration between designers and biologists, the project uses grown materials to reshape the way people think about manufacturing products and genetic engineering.

The projects discussed so far in this section use biological materials as components of design artifacts. The next two projects are systems designed for growing food. The project Garden Fresh Home Bio-design Substrates allows cultivation of edible plants indoors using an algal substrate. “This device was developed in an intensive science-driven design process,” according to its designers architect Dee Nicholas and scientist Shivanthi Anandan, that could help “induce dietary changes in populations that do not have easy access to healthy food.” The installation includes a series of surfaces that were developed in silicone, felt, and algae. Cyprien Deryng’s project Powow!! is another device for growing food indoors. Utilizing an aeroponic system—water mist is the medium that is used to grow the plants—this project supports a miniature, edible landscape. This micro-landscape enhances germination, and the vitamin-rich micro-greens that are grown this way are more desirable than traditional greens that are cultivated in bulk.

Like Gen2Seat, Neha Basajhrav’s Bio / Digital / Fabrication explores mycelium as a tough material that shapes to the volumetric forms of molds. Cellulose has the ability to take on the shape of any surface on which it is dried. Basajhrav grew mycelium and cellulose into panel forms that fix onto aluminum frames. The intent was to design a sustainable light-weight building structure that is easy to transport, assemble, and disassemble. For Nourishing Dhaka Jordan Solomonic created mushroom-based bricks. “These carbon-sequestering infill bricks—which are composed of agricultural and textile wastes, sawdust, and oyster mushrooms,” Solomonic explains, are inexpensive to produce. The proposed geometry of the bricks allows them to be used simultaneously as “planters for agriculture, and for air filtration, and soil carbon sequestration.”

Synthetic Biology Some biodesign projects incorporate design into biological materials, or assimilate biological materials into design, or fully integrate both into one project. Yet other biodesign projects fit within the field of Synthetic Biology, in which biological systems or living organisms are “engineered” by designers or scientists (Osbourn et al. 2012, 671). Synthetic Biology projects “design” nature, and thus challenge the flawed opposition between scientific and design processes and products. Engineering nature can, however, bring up difficult ethical questions.


Synthetic Biology projects may also be speculative. Daisy Ginsberg and Sascha Pohflepp’s project Growth Assembly features seven illustrations that are based on the visual vocabulary of nineteenth-century nature Illustrations. Ginsberg’s plants, however, describe an “imaginary future” in which “plants are genetically engineered to grow [industrial] products.” Ginsberg speculates that using biological systems for production could “fundamentally alter our ideas of heavy manufacturing.” In her other project shown in Design and Science, E. chromi: The Scatalog, Ginsberg and a team of designers and scientists genetically engineered the DNA of bacteria so that they secrete colored pigments. The team designed standardized sequences of this DNA, called BioBricks™, according to Ginsberg, and then inserted the BioBricks™ into E. coli bacteria (which they have named E. chromi) so that the bacteria would produce color under certain circumstances. The Scatalog imagines using E. chromi for “personalized disease monitoring: engineered bacteria could be ingested in yogurt, colonize the gut, and ‘watch’ for chemical markers of disease.” Like E. chromi: The Scatalog, Metagenomic Field Kit, utilizes genetic structure and function. Genetic information is coded using a sequence of four nucleotides. This information is coded in individuals, in genomes—a complete set of DNA of a whole species—and in metagenomes of entire populations of different organisms. Digital information is encoded using a sequence of 0s and 1s. For Metagenomic Field Kit, Uk Jung, Alyssa Klein, Elise Krespan, and Greg Sieber researched how to embed non-genetic digital information into “noisy” genetic data. The Kit allows users to hide data by storing sensitive non-genetic information within DNA. William Myers, author of the book BioDesign, argues that biodesign—especially Synthetic Biology—has led to more green technologies, production methods, and medical devices and procedures. But, he warns, “It has also created new risks.” These risks, which can produce unforeseen consequences, are especially tricky for Synthetic Biology, in which designers and scientists “engineer” nature. “[D]esigners must be aware of these risks and concerns,” Myers implores, “so that when they are asked to design with biology, they do so creatively, thoughtfully, and ethically” (2012). Generative Design Generative design, which may engineer nature when applied to biological or medical systems, should also be done thoughtfully and ethically. Although generative design doesn’t have to be algorithmically based (see The

Living Language Project), generative design is typically an iterative algorithmic modeling method that explores variants of a design that are hard to achieve using traditional design processes. In generative design, the algorithm first tests and then makes changes at each stage, which produces an optimized outcome. The final forms are designed for unique needs, so the shapes are unique and they are referred to as “organic” (McKnight 2019). Nicole Koltick’s Phenomenal Machines is a generative design project in which “robotic arm[s], mineral crystals, and an interactive landscape” can “feel” and “sense” outside the realm of human cognition. Koltick’s robots use behavioral algorithms that enable them to interact with the crystals and landscapes within an artificially precipitated space. This generative process drives the form and color of crystal formation and growth in the Phenomenal Machines video. Kotick’s project speculates on how non-human agents produce cognition and create place. Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg’s Xylem (2D) and Hyphae (3D) consider how the formation of vein networks in leaves can be applied in unforeseeable ways. Rosenkrantz and Louis-Rosenberg (their team is called Nervous System) coupled this leaf algorithm to digital rendering and fabrication, through which they produced the generative projects Xylem Typography and hyphae 3D 2. For the speculative design project 3D-Printed Organ Research, Nervous System utilizes the Hyphae algorithm to generate “entangled vessel networks, air sacs, and blood vessels” in a collaborative project with bioengineers to 3D-print artificially engineered lungs. This intriguing project integrates generative design that is based on nature with a human organ system. “Biodesign harnesses living materials,” explains MoMA Design Curator Paola Antonelli, and “embodies the dream of organic design: watching objects grow and, after the first impulse, letting nature, the best among all engineers and architects, run its course” (2012, 7). Rather than overcoming or dominating nature, this new kind of design puts natural processes front and center in both design thinking process and the function of designed artifacts and systems. DATA MANIFESTATION Finally, data from nature is often the ultimate source for design in science. The task is to apply “reverse engineering” or “reverse design”— in which “pictures” of natural systems emerge from collected data—to tufts of data and spin them into knowledge. In data visualization, designers translate data into 2D or digital charts, graphs, plots, and information graphics on the page or screen. Data manifestation,


or data sculptures, take data off the 2D page and screen, and present it as objects and environments. In the past five years, physical visualizations (e.g. data sculptures) have become a means by which designers source, analyze, and communicate information on serious issues (Jansen et al. 2013). “While this area of design represents an exploration into forms for creative practice,” designer Karin von Ompteda observes, “it is also an exploration into forms for data.” Data exhibited this way can be transformed into “deformed bottles, precarious objects, critical swings, a performance of fire—and data may be more than just visualized, when translated into physical, tangible, and experiential forms” (2019, 770). Ultimately, data manifestation projects create contexts in which people can physically engage with weighty social and political issues—and with the information itself. Willow Sharp’s project Our Protected Forest, for example, demonstrates how little forest is preserved today in Canada. She writes that out of Canada’s total forested area, only ~7% is protected from industrial activity and contamination. The data sculpture that Sharp designed “uses bark to represent Canada’s protected forest area, and paper ‘rings’ to represent the remaining 93% of forest area.” The juxtaposition of natural bark with printed material, Sharp explains, shows a clear disconnect between the products people use and their “natural origins.” Justin Yoon’s project, Sea Level Rise T-Shirt, deals with the pressing issue of rising oceans. This piece translates sea-level rise data into the design of an everyday object. In this project, layers of fabric were hand dyed and sewn onto the bottom of the t-shirt; the height of each layer represents a millimeter sea-level increase over a measured time period. The project is based on sea-height data from the years 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2017. While the bottom four layers of fabric correspond to sea-level rise over five-year time spans, the uppermost layer represents approximately two and a half years, utilizing the most up-to-date information at the time the project was created. Through this t-shirt, Yoon connects our everyday experience, and that of our own bodies, with global and abstract sea-level rise data. Cenhui Song’s project Projection likewise represents global sea-level rise, but between the years 2000 and 2066—approximately two thirds of the twenty-first century. The object’s organic shape is inspired by sea snails, a creature that is


at risk due to global climate change. The object is constructed with a type of concrete that is used to fix leaks in people’s homes. “In this way,” Song explains, “the project connects abstract data to everyday life.” Cecilia Salcedo-Guevara likewise argues that it can be difficult for people to relate climate change data to their everyday lives. “Yet,” she asks, “what if that information was lying on the living room couch?” The bar graph that she wove into The Comfort of Ignorance illustrates “global surface temperature from 1965 to 2015, relative to average temperatures from 1951 to 1980.” Salcedo-Guevara presents the data in five-year increments, demonstrating dramatic changes in temperature over time. The blanket is deceptively comfortable, Salcedo-Guevara explains, serving as a metaphor for the “comfort of ignorance regarding global climate change,” which she juxtaposes with the “uncomfortable truth of the data” communicated by itchy, prickly wool yarn. “In this way,” according to Salcedo-Guevara, the project embodies both a “metaphor and a litmus test for who we are” in response to climate change. Michelle Lu’s project Instability estimates the number of people in Ethiopia and Brazil that were affected by drought, floods, and extreme temperatures in 2009. The precarious objects in her project are scaled to represent the total number of people from each country who experienced these events due to the instability that is associated with global climate change. Arctic Sea Ice Volume by Siyuan Huang displays the decrease the polar caps from 1980 to 2012. The seventeen layers of frosted acrylic in the piece represent sea ice volume during “even” years (i.e. 1980, 1982, etc.). Huang communicates this data through the “size of the organically-shaped cut-outs; the larger the cut-out, the lower the volume of sea ice measured that year.” She designed this project for the human hand, and it is meant to be handled by gallery visitors. Data visualization is a “scientific tool for analysis,” according to von Ompteda, that is considered to be “neutral, dispassionate, and objective” (2019, 770). Data visualization and data manifestation as creative practices are, however, inherently subjective—out of necessity and expediency, designers often highlight particular aspects of a data, which produces a distinct point of view. Some critics are concerned about such responsibility, von Ompteda explains, but other critics see this kind of interpretation as a strength that balances the inherent non-neutrality of “data that is collected, processed, and presented for specific


Bibliography purposes” (2019, 765). The data manifestation projects in Design and Science embrace this inherent non-neutrality in order to foreground issues with serious consequences for contemporary society. Conclusion The relationships between design and science are not obvious; most people consider design and science to be distinct fields that function in very different ways. Culling and combining natural mechanisms and human constructions points up the implicit “design” in nature and the intrinsic commonalities between the natural and human-made environment. Traditionally, scientists have dealt with natural phenomena and designers with human-made objects. One intention of Design and Science is to demonstrate that this contrast between design and science is an artificial and even counterproductive distinction. Science and design both utilize visual imagination; they draw on iterative experimentation to come up with possible solutions and sort out complex processes. Recognizing these shared operations brings to light ways that design and science intermingle in thinking models, biodesign, and data manifestation. Design and science work in concert—together they reveal and construct the character of the world around us.

Antonelli, P. (2012), “Vital Design,” in W. Myers (ed.), Biodesign: Nature•Science•Creativity, 6-7, New York: MoMA. Atzmon, L. (2015), “Intelligible design: The Origin and Visualization of Species,” Communication Design 3 (2): 142–156. Brown, J. R. (2018), “How Do Feynman Diagrams Work?” Perspectives on Science 26 (4): 423–442. Dunne, A. and F. Raby (2013), Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming, Cambridge: MIT Press. Frankel, F. (2003), American Scientist. Available online:, accessed August 2, 2019. Hillis, D. (2016), “The Enlightenment is Dead, Long Live the Entanglement,” Journal of Design and Science, February 3. Available online:, accessed June 23, 2019. Jansen, Y., P. Dragicevic, and J-D. Fekete (2013), “Evaluating the Efficiency of Physical Visualizations,” in Proceedings of the 2013 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2013), ACM:2593–602. McKnight, M. (2019), “Generative Design: What it is? How is it Being Used? Why it’s a Game Changer!” Available online: Engineering/article/ view/612/1903#content/contributor_reference_1, DesTech Conference Proceedings, accessed June 25, 2019. Myers, W. (2012), “BioDesign.” Available online: designdebates. nl/_pdf/whatIsBioDesign_10-5-12.pdf, accessed July 7, 2019. Osbourn, A. E., and P. E. O’Maille, S. J. Rosser, K. Lindsey (2012), “Synthetic Biology,” New Phytologist 196: 671–677. Rust, C. (2004), “Design Enquiry: Tacit Knowledge and Invention in Science,” Design Issues 20 (4): 76-85. Shermer, M. (2005), “The Feynman-Tufte Principle: A Visual Display of Data Should Be Simple Enough to Fit on the Side af a Van,” Scientific American, April 1. Available online: scientificamerican. com/article/the-feynman-tufte-princip/?redirect=1, accessed June 22, 2019. von Ompteda, K. (2019), “Data Manifestation: A Case Study,” in T. Triggs and L. Atzmon (eds.), The Graphic Design Reader, 763771, London: Bloomsbury.





RICHARD FEYNMAN Title: Feynman Diagrams

Biography: Richard Phillips Feynman (1918–1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 jointly with Julian Schwinger and Shin’ichirō Tomonaga. Feynman developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions describing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in

the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World, he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time (en.

Description: In work and play, Feynman was a distinctively visual thinker. He achieved fame as a theoretical physicist by making sense of the interactions of elementary particles, and in the process inventing the Feynman diagrams that illustrated these interactions. For Feynman to do physics was to write and draw. When an interviewer suggested that “the work was done in your head, but the record is still here,” Feynman protested. “No, it’s not a record,” he said. “It’s working. You have to work on paper, and this is the paper.” The work in this exhibition, then, is not a record of Feynman’s work; it is an opportunity to directly experience a portion.



Title: Gluon Radiation In this diagram, a kaon, made of an up and strange antiquark, decays both weakly and strongly into three pions, with intermediate steps involving a W boson and a gluon, represented by the blue sine wave and green spiral, respectively (Courtesy of Joelholdsworth).

Writing and drawing were also part of Feynman’s life beyond his research. He brought his poetry into the physics classroom, and in middle age learned how to draw and paint in order to share his vision of the world. Feynman’s sensory imagination was not only visual; he relied not only on the mind’s eye, but also on the mind’s ear. Feynman played drums throughout his adult life, and heard rhythm and tempo in physics. Filling out a questionnaire for psychologists studying how scientists think, he checked off “visual images” from a list, but wrote in “acoustic images” too, and in interviews he spoke of perceiving the “jiggle-jiggle-jiggle” of physical phenomena.

Title: Kaon Decay In this diagram, an electron and a positron annihilate, producing a photon (represented by the blue sine wave) that becomes a quark–antiquark pair, after which the antiquark radiates a gluon (represented by the green helix) (Courtesy of Jabberwok).

Finally, Feynman was a performer. He wrote and drew to teach himself, but spoke to teach others, and his most widely read books—The Feynman Lectures on Physics and two memoirs, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman and What Do You Care What Other People Think?—are each based on transcripts of Feynman the orator. The images shown here trace not only how Feynman thought and how he experienced the world, but also the events and accomplishments of his life and work, from youth to the Manhattan Project to quantum electrodynamics, and then from The Feynman Lectures to the origins of nanotechnology to investigating the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. This is a mind at work. This is the paper.

Text courtesy of Peter S. Collopy, University Archivist and Head of Archives and Special Collections, Caltech Library, Caltech, Pasadena, California




Title: All Possible Photons: 6-Photon Scattering (120 Space-Time Feynman Diagrams) Medium: 1/8 in stainless steel rod Size: 10 in each; approx. 70 in combining all 6 sculptures; 17.5 ft x 7.3 ft x 2 in Date: 2012

Biography: Edward Tufte is a statistician and artist, and Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science at Yale University. Tufte wrote and designed five classic books on data visualization: Beautiful Evidence, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations, and Meaning, Space, and the Velocity of Seeing. He is currently constructing a 1.0 KM2 (234 acres) sculpture park in northwest Connecticut, USA, which will show his artworks and remain open space in perpetuity. The New York Times described Tufte as the “Leonardo da Vinci of Data,” and Bloomberg as the “Galileo of Graphics.”


Description: Edward Tufte’s wall-mounted sculptures, All Possible Photons, generate an enormous multiplicity of three-dimensional optical experiences of line, light, airspace, color, shadow, and form. Made from stainless steel and air, the artworks grow out of Richard Feynman’s famous diagrams describing Nature’s subatomic behavior. Feynman diagrams depict the space-time patterns of particles and waves of quantum electrodynamics. These mathematically derived and empirically verified visualizations represent the space-time paths taken by all subatomic particles in the universe. The resulting conceptual and cognitive art is both beautiful and true. Along with their art, the stainless-steel elements of


All Possible Photons actually represent something: the precise activities of Nature at her highest resolution. Gathered together, as in the 120 diagrams showing all possible spacetime paths of 6-photon scattering, the stainless-steel lines (and their variable shadow, airspace, light, color, form) reveal the endless complexities that result from multiplying and varied fundamental elements. “How beautiful it was then,” writes Italo Calvino about a time of radiant clarity in cosmic prehistory, “through that void, to draw lines and parabolas, pick out the precise point, the intersection between space and time when the event would spring forth, undeniable in the prominence of its glow.”



JASON J. FERGUSON Title: The Nature of Being Medium: polylactic acid thermoplastic Size: 20 in x 46 in x 46 in Date: 2017

Biography: Ferguson uses humor and an absurdist voice to look at moments in which empirical science overlaps with systems of belief. Recurring themes in his studio include monotonous and repetitive action, misusing scientific protocol, corporeality versus the unknown, and the ability to recontextualize the familiar to generate uncanny experiences. He often combines subjects with processes that, at first glance, appear to be unrelated. For example, he has applied medical procedures to domestic designed objects, used geological analysis to study historical architecture, combined the intimacy of a dining room with the overwhelming psychological space of a county fair, and most recently he used medical software to extract and 3D print a full-scale replica of his entire skeletal system from MRI, CT, CBCT,


and EOS scans. His creative practice is broad and produces artifacts in the form of performances, videos, public interventions, and sculptural objects.


Description: The Nature of Being is a full-scale reproduction of Jason J. Ferguson’s entire skeletal system created using MRI, CT, CBCT, and EOS scans. Ferguson collaborated with medical teams at the University of Michigan Health System and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago to extract and replicate all 206 bones from his body. Thousands of images were compiled and processed using Simpleware Scan IP medical software. His bones were segmented from the surrounding tissue, each bone was 3D printed at a layer height of 200 microns, and the skeletal system was re-

assembled. The potential for an artist or designer to create an exact replica of something that exists within his or her body is a cutting-edge process that has only recently become accessible to individuals outside of the medical field. This ability has allowed Ferguson to produce sculptures that investigate his own identity and mortality. This project takes self-portraiture to a new level of embodiment, and builds upon Ferguson’s growing collection of existential artworks.



Title: Inanimate Dissection Media: altered shoe, wax dissection tray, T-pins, video Size: 3 in x 13 in x 9 in Date: 2008


Description: Inanimate Dissection applies procedures from a high-school biology lesson to a designed object—a common brown suede shoe. As the shoe was deconstructed, each layer was carefully peeled back and pinned in place following the protocol for disemboweling a frog or fetal pig. The object provides the viewer with an array of “fleshy” colors ranging from deep pink to salmon. Its visceral appearance is enhanced by the treatment of the object’s surface; a slick, glossy coating creeps over the form and collects in the bed of the dissection tray. The research required for Inanimate Dissection, and other works in the series, involved working with a pathophysiologist and performing a post-mortem examination on a human cadaver to better understand the process. Medical procedures were then


applied to a shoe, a lamp, and a La-Z-Boy reclining chair in an absurd attempt to better understand material existence. This project is an exploration into what separates the materiality of Jason J. Ferguson’s own body from the materiality of inanimate designed objects.




Title: Shark/Ray Cartilage Digital Parametric Modeling Study Media: shark jaw, micro-computed tomography scan, backscatter electron micrographs, 3D printing, rendered digital images, video Date: 2013–present



Mechanical testing of stingray-inspired tessellations. Dean’s team builds multi-material 3D-printed cubes, with tiles of varying shapes and sizes, incorporating hard tiles with soft joints to better mimic the mineralized tesserae and their collagen joints. Biography: Mason Dean is a biologist from the USA, working in the Department of Biomaterials at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany. Beginning with degrees in marine biology and zoology—for which he researched fish biology in multiple marine field stations and on research vessels in the Caribbean—Dean discovered an interest in “form-function”relationships, that is, how an animal’s anatomy shapes its interactions with its environment.”

Micro-computed tomography scan of the head of a freshwater stingray, Plesiotrygon nana. Stingrays, like sharks, have skeletons made entirely of a curious armored cartilage. Look closely, the texture of the skeleton surface is actually an array of many thousands of mineralized tiles called tesserae.

and began to explore how materials science, biomedical, and design approaches could be used to answer biological questions. His current work with mechanical testing, micro-computed tomography, and 3D printing of shark and ray tissues allows Dean to combine his background in zoology and comparative anatomy with a deep interest in artful illustration and digital visualization.

Pursuing work in shark and ray anatomy and behavior, Dean learned of the curious differences and similarities between fish and human skeletons

Description: The skeletons of sharks and rays represent opposite materials design strategies to ours. Whereas our skeletons are made of bone that is filled with cells charged with fixing damage to the bone, the skeletons of sharks are made of cartilage, which can be added to and patched up, but not repaired. Despite this, we know that shark and ray skeletons perform just as well as ours— and perhaps better, considering the extreme loads some species experience in their lives. These fascinating, alternative “design” solutions make productive fodder for engineering applications: How can a low-density material (cartilage) perform as well as a high-density one (bone)? How can a skeletal tissue be made resistant to damage so that it doesn’t need a cellular repair service?



This image shows the first quantification of ancient tesserae tiling: we have developed a program to digitally dissect tesserae from one another and color them according to their size, opening the door to the developmental and functional roots of this patterning.

Mason Dean’s collaborative research group at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm and Harvard’s Wyss Institute are both curious about the mechanical roles of material and structure in skeletons—in particular the contributions of the unique surface “tilings” that define both kinds of tissue in sharks and rays. To get a feel for how this tissue manages and distributes forces, Dean’s team builds physical and digital mimics from biological data, scaling them up to sizes that make them easier to handle and test. They first characterize the geometries and tissue properties of the natural system using high-resolution engineering and materials science tools. Then, using a state-of-the-art multi-material 3D-printer that is typically used in

industrial applications, they manufacture biorealistic models with both rigid and flexible parts. These parts can be pushed, pulled, and fractured in ways that echo biological conditions. As in any design process, when the model raises questions or fails to work, the team returns to the source (the fish) for a deeper understanding of the templates they are exploring. This combination of biology and engineering approaches helps shine a light on the functional roles of tissues—while also pointing to features that would be useful for human-made tiled composites. Dean’s models offer ways to understand the impressive diversity of anatomies and ecologies in shark and ray species. Given that these fishes live

long lives, and have existed for millions of years with these skeletons, they have much to teach us about Nature’s ideas on designing materials that don’t need repair.



CHARLES DARWIN Title: Thinking Sketches of the Evolutionary Tree-of-Life Media: pencil or pen on paper Date: 1837–1857

Biography: Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882) was an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection

of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and a majority of the educated public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favored competing explanations, and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life (

Description: Visual thinking and visual ideation are vital components of both design and science. Visual ideation, a range of thinking methods that are used to generate and develop concepts, helped Darwin shape his revolutionary notions about evolution. He sketched “tree-oflife” diagrams to help him determine the nature of evolutionary processes. Darwin used sketching, information visualization, and graphic representation as mechanisms for both externalizing his thoughts while he refined them, and for communicating his ideas to the public. His “tree-of-life” sketches are design experiments: hand-on-pencilon-paper activity that helped him to see evolution as an unpredictable, change-driven, time-based set of processes with an indeterminate beginning and end.



Title: Tree-of-Life Sketch from Notebook B Date: 1837 MS.DAR.121:p36, Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Title: Seaweed Sketch Date: 1843 Darwin seaweed sketch, 90v. Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Description: The “Tree-of-Life” from Notebook B is an active thinking sketch. Its branches go in random directions in a seemingly disorderly manner, “a fragile, irregular pattern—a sprawling growth with nodes and gaps” (Voss 2010, 62). Darwin was conceptualizing, imagining, and rendering various evolutionary mechanisms. In Darwin’s hand, the sketch line moves, morphs, starts and stops, and changes course as he thinks. This is a sketching action that architect Richard McCormick describes in a different context as “a process of criticism and discovery” (McCormick as quoted in Cross 2011, 71).

Description: In 1843 Darwin sketched this flowing seaweed-like tree on a loose piece of paper. On the paper he writes, “a tree not a good simile—endless piece of seaweed dividing.” Darwin’s use of the term “endless” suggests how essential deep time was to his ideas. This fluid seaweed drawing embodies Darwin’s belief that “all life through time” is “continuous and unbroken…” and that no “metaphor—trees, corals, or seaweeds—captured his vision.”(Archibald 2014, 84–85).



Title: Tree Sketch Showing Geological Time Date: 1850s MS.DAR.205.5:f183r; Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Description: Darwin struggled to find ways simultaneously to depict time and species divergence in his diagrams. Including information about the passage of millennia and the relationships among species in a succinct diagram, along with the other abstract information that Darwin needed to incorporate, is difficult to accomplish in two-dimensional still media. Darwin didn’t fully resolve the time/species relationships depiction dilemma. But he did design two sketches using tree diagrams between his 1837 Tree of Life and the publication of his book Origin of Species in 1859. The concentric circles or horizontal divisions in these sketches represent geological time periods.

Title: Tree Sketch Showing Geological Time Date: 1857 MS.DAR.205.5:f183r; Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

Archibald, D. (2014), Aristotle’s Ladder, Darwin’s Tree: The Evolution of Biological Order, New York: Columbia University Press. Cross, N. (2011), Design Thinking, London: Berg.

Voss, J. (2010), Darwin’s Pictures: Views of Evolutionary Theory, 1837-1874, New Haven: Yale University Press.



ROSALIND FRANKLIN Title: Photo 51 Showing X-ray Diffraction Pattern of DNA Medium: X-ray diffraction Date: 1952

Biography: Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920–1958) was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite. Although her works on coal and viruses were appreciated in her lifetime, her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely recognized posthumously. She became a research associate at King’s College London in 1951 and worked on X-ray diffraction studies, which would eventually facilitate the double helix theory of the DNA. Franklin is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA, particularly Photo 51, while at King’s College London, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix for which James Watson,



Title: X-ray Diffraction Photograph of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid). This historical image (aka “Photo 51”) of the beta (b-form) of DNA was obtained by Rosalind Franklin in 1952, the year in which Watson and Crick discovered DNA’s structure, largely due to Franklin’s work. The image results from a beam of X-rays being scattered onto a photographic plate by the DNA. Various features about the structure of the DNA can be determined from the pattern of spots and bands. The cross of bands indicates the helical nature of DNA. Text and image courtesy of Science Source.

Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Watson suggested that Franklin would have ideally been awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Wilkins, but, although there was not yet a rule against posthumous awards, the Nobel Committee generally does not make posthumous nominations. After finishing her work on DNA, Franklin led pioneering work at Birkbeck on the molecular structures of viruses. Her team member Aaron Klug continued her research, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982 (en.

Description: X-ray crystallography is a technique that is used to determine the three-dimensional structure of molecules, including complex biological molecules such as DNA. In this technique, X-rays are directed at a single crystal of a material. They are then diffracted (scattered) by the “solid” parts of the crystal and pass through where there is no solid part. This process reveals the pattern of molecular structure, and the 3D structure of a molecule can be reconstructed based on the diffraction pattern. The diffraction pattern in Franklin’s image determined the helical nature of the double helix strands (antiparallel). The outside of the DNA chain has a backbone of alternating deoxyribose and phosphate molecules, and the base pairs, the order of which provides codes for protein building and thereby inheritance, are

inside the helix. Watson and Crick’s calculations from Gosling and Franklin’s photography gave crucial parameters for the size and structure of the helix (en.



JAMES WATSON & FRANCIS CRICK Title: Original Demonstration of the Double Helix Date: 1953

Biographies: James Watson (1928) is an American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist. In 1953, he co-authored with Francis Crick the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Watson, Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Francis Crick (1916–2004) was a British molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist. In 1953, he co-authored with James Watson the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Together with Watson and Maurice Wilkins, he was jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The results

were based partly on fundamental studies done by Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling, and Wilkins. ( wiki/Francis_Crick; James_Watson)


Description: In 1953, the British and American molecular biologists Francis Crick and James Watson pulled off one of the most profound scientific triumphs of the century. Using their knowledge of chemical bonds, along with X-ray crystallography results from the British chemist Rosalind Franklin, they worked out the double-helix structure of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the molecule that acts as a blueprint for all living things. Within a decade, scientists had worked out how information is coded along the molecule. Text and image courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives.


Description: These aluminium templates are part of a model representing the structure of DNA (see page 28). These plates represent bases, those groups of atoms that make up DNA’s twin strands. The bases in each of the strands combine to spell out the organism’s genetic code. DNA was discovered by Francis Crick (b 1916) and James Dewey Watson (b 1928) while working in the Medical Research Council Unit at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. In 1953 they constructed a molecular model of the complex genetic material deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Their analysis of the double helix shape of DNA explained how genetic information could be cop-

ied and pasted from one generation to the next. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology in 1962. Text and image courtesy of Science Museum, London.



Title: Reconstructions of Double Helix Model Date: 1953

Title: Sketch of the DNA Double Helix by Francis Crick

Description: The iconic image of the double helix—the twisted ladder that carries the codes for earth’s huge variety of life forms—goes back to 1953 and the homemade metal model created by the British scientist Francis Crick and his American collaborator, James Watson. Determined to solve the puzzle posed by the research evidence at the time, they obtained new insights by visualizing the structure of the complex molecule through a physical model. This pencil sketch of DNA was made by Crick and forms part of the extensive Crick Archive at the Wellcome Library. It illustrates several structural features of the double helix: it is right-handed, with the two strands running in opposite directions; the nucleotides, the building blocks of the strands, have a part that forms the backbone and a part (the

base) that projects into the middle of the helix; and the internally projecting bases in one strand are aligned so that they can pair with a base from the opposite strand. This last feature is essential for DNA to be able to perform its function of passing genetic information from one generation to the next. It is not known whether Crick drew this sketch before or after he and Watson made the famous model, but the drawing demonstrates the role that simple illustrations can play in helping to conceptualize complex problems. Text and image courtesy of the copyright-free Wellcome Trust Digital Library.




MEGAN VALANIDAS Title: A Place For Plastics Media: bioplastic, bacteria, resin, rubbish Size: 8 ft x 2.5 ft x 3 ft Date: May 2018

Biography: Megan Valanidas is a designer and researcher. She holds a BA in studio arts and French linguistics from the University of Arizona and an MID in industrial and product design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Valanidas has been a sustainable futures instructor at RISD and James Madison University where she has taught industrial design with a focus on research and speculative investigations. Valanidas was a featured speaker and exhibitor for Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration. She presented on the topic of bioplastics and the environment for the Paris World De-

sign Summit. In addition, Valanidas has been a science educator, focusing on sustainable farming in extreme environments. Valanidas was raised in a log cabin built by her parents on the Chesapeake Bay. She grew up in Scientists’ Cliffs, MD, a small community founded by plant pathologists in the 1940s. The community is dedicated to preserving watershed lands and making them publicly accessible.


Description: Plastic waste ends up damaging ecosystems around the world. This project responds to this ongoing problem with bioplastic objects that are designed to decompose when discarded in the environment. In this work, Valanidas focuses on utilizing soil-degradable plastics in single-use goods and packaging. Examples of prototypes include a beverage cup, chip bag, and mailer with bubble cushioning created from bioplastic that can be safely flushed with wastewater. The biopolymers used in each prototype are broken down readily by local bacteria. The components left over are non-toxic and become part of subsequent biological processes.


Experimenting with currently available bioplastics to determine their rate of decay when exposed to local bacteria and natural mechanical processes (wind, water, abrasion), A Place for Plastics demonstrates that bioplastics need to employ maximum surface area in order to accelerate natural bacterial degradation. This textured surface also acts as a tactile labeling system, communicating to consumers that this material is compostable and biodegradable. Biomimetic textures based in fruit skins allow for both outcomes. By considering bacteria-centered design as well as human-centered design, we are able to begin to design for the waste stream. Soil is the “end-user.� A Place for Plastics plans for a near future

where all waste is 100% soil-degradable, where bioplastics are conspicuously different from petroleum-based plastics, and where we design with and for decomposers in the environment. This new waste stream integrates biodegradable waste into our complex modern lives.



MIRIAM SIMUN Title: Agalinis Dreams Date: 2014–2016

Biography: Miriam Simun is a research-based artist investigating the implications of socio-technical and environmental change. Simun is a graduate of MIT Media Lab, the London School of Economics, the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. Her work has been the subject of numerous international presentations, including exhibitions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the DeutscheBank Kunsthalle, Berlin; The Contemporary, Baltimore; Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Split; the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha; the Himalayas Museum, Shanghai; and the Beall Center for Art + Technology, Irvine. Simun is a recip-


ient of awards from Creative Capital, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She was the recipient of the Santa Fe Art Institute’s 2015 Food Justice Residency in New Mexico, and the OMI International Arts Center’s 2016 Artist Residency in New York. Simun’s work has received extensive coverage in media outlets both stateside and abroad, including the BBC, the New York Times, the New Yorker, CBC, MTV, Forbes, Art21, and ARTNews.


Description: Agalinis Dreams is a series dedicated to the Agalinis acuta, a tiny pink flower that blooms for a few hours only one day in late summer. It is the only federally protected endangered species growing in New York State.



Title: adĹ?rĹ? (nosepiece) Media: 3D printed nylon, copper Size: 30 cm x 25 cm x 6 cm Date: 2014

Description: Adoro means to speak to, accost, address; negotiate a matter with; accuse; ask, entreat, pray to, beseech, implore, plead; revere, honor, worship, adore; admire, esteem highly. The adoro is a sculpture worn by people undergoing a ritual to attend to the existence, life, history and memory of the Agalinis; this one plant on the verge of extinction.



Title: What Is Known (48-page book) Media: inkjet print on paper and vellum Size: 8 in x 8 in Date: 2016 Title: Our Day Will Come (custom scent) Media: never-before-perceived scent of the endangered Agalinis acuta, glass ampule, silicone stopper, silicone case Size: 3 in x 4 in x 4 in Date: 2014

Description: In 2014 I set out to capture the scent of New York’s only federally protected flora, the Agalinis acuta. Over the course of a year, I visited nature preserves, biology laboratories, and US Fish & Wildlife offices across the Northeast, meeting with botanists, biologists, land managers, wildflower advocates, and conservationists. While I spoke to them about their work with the flower, I heard time and again, that the tiny Agalinis acuta has no scent. In fact, the flower does release traces of volatile chemical in the wild—amounts undetectable to humans. I wanted to smell it. Together with chemists and perfumers from International Flavors &

Fragrances Inc, I captured the aromatic molecules released during the blossom and recreated her aroma for their perception. That year, I visited six of the eleven remaining communities, the largest of which appeared as a small field of pink. At the time, extinction felt distant. But in the years since, the flower’s numbers have dwindled. As I watch the Agalinis acuta disappear, its scent comes into focus.

Description: The Agalinis Acuta is so small that its scent has never before been perceived by humans. Using living flower headspace technology to capture the chemical trace of this tiny flower as it grows, the scent of the Agalinis has been captured and recreated for human perception. The vegetable flower is likely to become extinct by 2050. The scent remains.



D.S NICHOLAS & SHIVANTHI ANANDAN Title: Garden Fresh Home Bio-design Substrates Media: mixed media including felt, plexiglass, bio algae silicone Size: 48 in x 60 in Date: 2018–2019

Biographies: D.S. Nicholas, AIA, is an Assistant Professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Department of Architecture, Design & Urbanism at Drexel University in Philadelphia. An architect and design researcher, she holds a BArch from Carnegie Mellon, and an MFA from the University of the Arts. She has written and presented her work both nationally and internationally. Nicholas is currently the Program Director for the MS in Design Research. Nicholas does design research for the design of healthy urban spaces in underserved communities with a focus on the residential interior. With a research driven, collaborative, and mentorship approach, her work includes novel biophilic design, human-centered/design-thinking processes, interior materials,


and advances in building science within the urban home. Nicholas has founded an informed design research laboratory called Integral Living Research. This group creates environmentally driven solutions that work to reduce stress and support enhanced wellness for urban families. Working to develop research strategies for stress reduction in the urban built environment via new service and space-oriented solutions, the group examines how a wellness-through-environment approach can change housing at different scales with informed sustainable strategies, social determinants for health, and trauma-informed practice. The goal of Integral Living Research is to develop customizable environ-


ment-driven tools and services which will transform urban living spaces when they fail to promote optimal health for underserved families. Shivanthi Anandan, PhD is a microbiologist and Associate Professor at Drexel University in the Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences. She holds a BS from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (in Botany) and a PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has written and published on her work as a microbiologist, and on the collaborative work behind this project, both nationally and internationally, most recently in Sevilla, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal. Anandan is currently the Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate affairs.



Patent pending for growing unit, media, and substrates. Description: This installation piece documents the development of an in-home plant hydroponic system and the biology, art, and design processes that went into the development of the project. Low maintenance, requiring no soil and little space, the unit enables plants to grow well in an indoor urban setting. This device allows people easy access to plant-based food, and was developed in an intensive science-driven design process that has the potential to induce dietary changes in populations that do not have easy access to healthy food. The installation includes a series of surfaces that were developed in silicone, felt and algae; they are the part of the algal substrate for the plant growing unit. Patterns for these substrates have been developed through a collaborative fine arts practice, and tested in the

lab for their efficacy in growing both plants and the algal cultures. Prototypes shown include small versions of the system, a large felt and algae panel in a horizontal vitrine, and silicone plant growing test panels. We would like to acknowledge the following MS Design Research/Biology students: Thelmalis Abreu and Elise Krespan.




Title: Xylem Typography Size: variable Medium: digital print Date: 2010 In these drawings, Nervous System experiments with the leaf venation process in unnatural situations using variable density and multiple stems to create generative typography. Biography: Nervous System creates using a novel process that employs computer simulation to generate designs and digital fabrication to realize products. Drawing inspiration from natural phenomena, they write computer programs based on processes and patterns found in nature and use those programs to create unique and affordable art, jewelry, and housewares. Founded in 2007 by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, Nervous System has pioneered the application of new technologies in design, including generative systems, 3D printing, and webGL. Nervous System releases online design applications that enable customers to co-create prod-

ucts in an effort to make design more accessible. These tools allow for endless design variation and customization. Nervous System’s designs have been featured in a wide range of publications, including WIRED, the New York Times, The Guardian, Metropolis, and Forbes. Jesse and Jessica have given talks on their generative design process in many forums, including MIT, Harvard, SIGGRAPH, and the Eyeo Festival. Their work is a part of the permanent collection of museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Their studio is located in the Catskills in Palenville, NY.

Description: The Xylem (2D) and Hyphae (3D) systems are computational design tools for creating network structures. They began as an algorithm for mimicking how veins form in leaves. We’ve adapted this algorithm to three dimensions and further developed it to create our own pattern dialects. We’ve created systems to generate jewelry, lamps, sculpture and even architecture. By coupling our algorithm to digital fabrication, we’ve made several series of generative products. Every piece in these series is one-of-a-kind, a unique result of our in-silico growth system. Simulating growth Our simulation begins with isolated root veins in an environment of digital hormone sources. Veins gradually emerge



Title: Hyphae 3D 2 Size: 8 in x 8 in x 8 in Medium: nylon 3D printed by Selective Laser Sintering Date: 2010 from the roots and colonize space as hormone flows towards nearby veins. They branch as these flows meet from different directions and subsequently merge as the growth surrounds individual hormone sources. The growth continues until every source has been overtaken. The result is a space-filling network that is both hierarchical and rhizomatic. Technical Details Our system was inspired by the paper “Modeling and visualization of leaf venation patterns” by Adam Runions & co. We have developed two primary simulation systems: Xylem (2D) and Hyphae (3D) which extend their

original algorithm. We have written extensively about the technical challenges behind creating these works in our blog: xylem experiments and improvements. Hyphae–custom software built with c++ using CGAL. Xylem–custom software built with Processing.



Title: 3D-Printed Organ Research Size: variable Medium: human cells 3D printed by SLATE Date: 2019 Description: This form was grown in a fully 3D reimagining of Nervous System’s Hyphae algorithm. The growth transforms from a sparse open-tree structure to a densely reticulated network. It all began with an email from Jordan Miller of Rice University in February 2016. Jordan was familiar with us from the open source models we had posted on Thingiverse, and in his words “totally captivated” by the series of branching sculptures we created for our growing objects exhibit. He proposed that our skills could be put to an epic task: “perhaps we could work together to make open-source software that the world could use to design synthetic living tissues and organ replacements for human patients.” The idea of taking our generative systems,

which are inspired by nature, and using them to actually make living things was a dream come true.

collaborated with the Miller Lab to design and generate these complex multivascular networks and materialize them in soft hydrogels for the first time.

While there are many labs creating artificial tissues, the problem is keeping them alive. Organs like the liver are composed of more than 100 billion cells which need support from intricate vascular networks that provide nutrients and oxygen while removing waste. Making things even more complicated, many organs contain multiple interpenetrating networks of fluids; in the lungs we have hierarchically branched airways and ensheathing blood vessel networks. Our goal is to create software which enables scientists to design customized multi-vascular structures for 3D-printed organs. Nervous System

A New 3D-Printing Method for Cells Our role is just a small part of a large team led by Jordan Miller at Rice University. The Miller Lab is developing the bioengineering, 3D-printing technology, cell culturing, and analysis tools that make these designs possible to realize. Particularly, they developed a new 3D-printing workflow compatible with live cells called SLATE (stereolithography apparatus for tissue engineering). The SLATE printer can embed live cells into soft gels containing very small, intricate blood vessels down to 300 microns in diameter. Hydrogels printed in



only minutes by SLATE can function as lung-like networks with entangled air/ blood networks. We got to see the process firsthand during trips to Jordan’s lab in Houston and they are truly amazing. This new printing method allows for new and dramatic architectural freedoms in the living tissues we can design and fabricate. Bioengineers don’t have tools at their disposal to generate these complex architectures that are crucially needed to keep living tissues alive. That’s where we came in. Designing for Living Tissues Nervous System collaborated with the Miller lab to design vascular networks and developed custom software to generate lung-mimetic designs for 3D-printing engineered living tissues.

This software makes it possible to generate entangled vessel networks within any user-defined volume and connect these networks to inlets and outlets so air and blood can flow through the intertwined networks. We grow the branching form of the airway algorithmically. It reaches out into a volume defined by the designer, colonizing it evenly with air conduits while connecting back to the initial growth point like a tree. Air is pumped into the network and it pools at the bulbous air sacs which crown each tip of the network. These sacs are rhythmically inflated and deflated by breathing action, so called tidal ventilation because the air flow in human lungs is reminiscent of the flows of the ocean tides.

Next we grow dual networks of blood vessels that entwine around the airway: one to bring deoxygenated blood in, the other to carry oxygen-loaded blood away. The two networks join at the tips of the airway in a fine mesh of blood vessels which ensheathes the bulbous air sacs. These vessels are only 300 microns wide! Credits Rice University: Bagrat Grigoryan, Samantha Paulsen, Daniel Sazer, Alexander Zaita, Paul Greenfield, Nicholas Calafat, Anderson Ta, and Jordan Miller University of Washington: Daniel Corbett, Chelsea Fortin, Fredrik Johansson and Kelly Stevens Duke University: John Gounley and Amanda Randles Nervous System: Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg Rowan University: Peter Galie



NICOLE KOLTICK Title: Phenomenal Machines Medium: video Size: variable Date: 2017

Biography: Nicole Koltick is an Associate Professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University in the Department of Architecture, Design & Urbanism. She is the founding Director of the Design Futures Lab, where she leads a graduate research group in speculative design practices. The Design Futures Lab is currently pursuing design research that stimulates debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society at a broad range of spatiotemporal scales. The lab produces objects, environments, and experiences for the near future under the tagline machines. materials. narratives. Her practice spans the disciplines of art, science, technology, design, and philosophy.

Koltick holds a BFA in Art from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Master of Architecture from UCLA. She is currently finishing a PhD in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee Switzerland, with a focus on the philosophical implications of aesthetics relating to emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids. Koltick works with complex and fantastical narratives as well as with multi-agent systems, and advanced computational strategies in order to envision new landscapes, environments, and territories for inhabitation. She is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and regularly presents her work in edited journals and international conferences on design, computation, and theory.

Koltick has recently completed papers on the aesthetics of emergence, dark data, artificial intelligence, and aesthetics, as well as on issues of materiality and agency in the future, and speculative realist approaches to very large organizations. Phenomenal Machines was included in the HKW: Berlin’s Technosphere Project, and the accompanying film, NESL, won first prize in the ROS Robotic Short Film Festival held in Eliche, Spain.



Description: In Phenomenal Machines, cognition (including feeling and sensing) “ part of a stream of interaction and sensation.” Phenomenal Machines is a “compositional experiment” that enables “robotic arm[s], mineral crystals, and an interactive landscape to co-evolve.” Through this process, the robotic arms and crystals produce a shared “ecological space of their own, away from human incursion” (Technosphere Magazine). In this project, there are several distinct non-human agents (robotic and mineral) with different methods of feeling and sensing. These methods of feeling and sensing can be understood as imprecisely located cognitive machines.

The locus and outcomes of this cognition produce diverse effects which are made visual in this project. The robots utilize basic vision and behavioral algorithms that enable them to interact within their landscapes, which influences the form and color of crystal formation and growth in Phenomenal Machines. This robotic landscape represents a highly imprecise agency. The crystals in Phenomenal Machines are “sensed” by the robots and the landscape, and the crystals are subject to beneficial and negligible alterations by both the robots and the landscape. The growth of the crystals is facilitated, amplified, or disturbed, in Phenomenal Machines, by the actions of the dynamic terrain (through secretion of salt

solution or expansion and contraction of the dynamic surface), or the interventions of the robots operating within the terrain (through placement, movement, and disruption). The interactions that occur between these systems is of primary interest in Phenomenal Machines. These interactions produce emergent effects, which suggest causality and aesthetic implications that come from a set of synthetic relationships among machines, materials, and narratives. Koltick, N. “Phenomenal Machines” (2017), Technosphere Magazine, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany. Available online: technosphere-magazine., accessed July 30, 2019.


JORDAN SOLOMONIC Title: Nourishing Dhaka: The design of an innovative, scalable, low-cost, carbon-sequestering community for climate refugees, incorporating novel material research into mycelium-based materials. Media: agricultural and textile waste, mycelium, flax oil, bamboo, jute, bioplastic Size: 3,350 m²/36,060 ft² Date: 2016


Biography: Solomonic earned his Bachelor of Architecture in the 2+4 program at Drexel University, Philadelphia (2010– 2016). During 2015–2016 he worked on his independent thesis to explore the potential uses of mycelium-based materials in architecture. His thesis, Nourishing Dhaka, involves the multi-scalar design of a brick, a building typology, and a community for climate refugees in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Throughout his thesis he was advised by Nicole Koltick and worked with the Design Futures Lab at Drexel. He has also worked for architecture and engineering firms in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Long Island, NY. In the years since graduating, he has worked with Biorealize in Philadelphia to design bioreactors. In August 2019, Solomonic began his MS Architectural Science in Built



Ecologies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) in Brooklyn, NY. As a research assistant at CASE, he applies his knowledge to develop innovative solutions to challenges in society. Solomonic works at the intersection of ecology and architecture to design objects that combat, and may ultimately help reverse, anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming.

Description: Bangladesh houses the most climate-based refugees of any country. Many of these refugees are fleeing from the rural south into the capital of Dhaka, the world’s fastest growing megacity that’s home to twenty million people. In Dhaka, a majority of climate refugees live in slums, and there is a pressing need for low-cost, scalable housing solutions. Solomonic’s research for Nourishing Dhaka is primarily focused on vernacular and cultural typologies, materials, and ecology, incorporating experimental design, and construction methods. Extensive material research for this project involved the creation of a novel set of mushroom-based bricks that were prototyped at full scale. These carbon-sequestering infill bricks—which are composed of agricultural and textile wastes, sawdust, and oyster mush-

rooms—may be grown at little to no cost. The proposed geometry allows the bricks to act simultaneously as planters for agriculture, for air filtration, and soil carbon sequestration. The mushroom bricks were waterproofed using blown flax oil that was polymerized through oxidation and with natural shellac made from alcohol and the resinous secretion of lac insects. Using the vernacular methods of the Namoshudra people of southern Bangladesh, the primary structural framing for the living structures is composed of bamboo lashed together with jute twine. The bamboo framed structures sit atop timber friction piles. The upper faces of the building are enclosed using heavy-duty bioplastic shrink wrap, and ventilation is controlled through the use of specialty zippers. The building form was based on the func-


tional parameters of local vernacular typologies and optimized through the use of a genetic algorithm. A rigorous iteration process was used to develop thoroughly studied formal outcomes for Nourishing Dhaka. The initial seed community is comprised of 27 single family homes, nine bathhouses, seven communal kitchens, a large community center, and brickmaking/drying/shop facilities. Additionally, Nourishing Dhaka proposes a series of floatable rafts that can be deployed for small scale agriculture and livestock use. These rafts are capable of adjusting to rapidly shifting water levels.




UK JUNG, ELISE KRESPAN, ALYSSA KLEIN & GREG SIEBER Title: Metagenomic Field Kit Director: Nicole Koltick Students: Uk Jung, Elise Krespan, Alyssa Klein, and Greg Sieber Media: film and multimedia artifacts: wood and plastic Size: variable; devices approx. 3.5 in x 5 in each Date: 2018

Biographies: Uk Jung is a licensed architect as well as an educator in the Department of Architecture, Design & Urbanism, and a student of Design Research at Drexel University. He founded a design and consultation practice in 2016 in Philadelphia after twelve years in the industry. His research is focused on the availability of quality affordable housing and affordable commercial spaces in under-served communities that are undergoing gentrification, in particular the Mantua neighborhood in Philadelphia. His research is based on incorporating participatory design processes, including long-term community residents, and incorporating opportunities at every stage of the development process for community residents; investment, land/ property acquisition, design, construction, operations, and maintenance.


Another aspect of his research is on the giving agency for existing community members to guide design processes using storytelling and visualization tools. Based in Philadelphia, Greg Sieber is a student at Drexel University pursuing masters degrees in Design Research and Science, Technology and Society. His research interests fall at the intersection of these disciplines, and explore how creative-critical scholarship can make use of designed artifacts to investigate the construction of socio-technical imaginaries. While at Drexel, Sieber has worked on a range of interdisciplinary projects, including NIH-funded research done in collaboration with the Dornslife School of Public Health, and Biodesign collaborations through the Design Futures Lab. He has


presented work at MoMA and at research conferences internationally. Prior to his graduate studies at Drexel, Sieber received degrees in Cognitive Science and Art & Design from the University of Delaware, where his thesis research focused on the cognitive mechanisms of empathy and their influence on design ideation. Currently, he works at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute in the Life Course Outcomes program. Sieber is working on OAR-funded research to create measurements of sexual and reproductive health for transition-aged youth who are on the autism spectrum. Sieber enjoys gardening, writing music, and building musical tools that inspire new ways to collaborate.

Elise Krespan is a biologist and design researcher who is driven by experimentation, iteration, and human-centered design. A recent graduate of Drexel University with dual Master of Science degrees in Biology and Design Research, her thesis work focused on the development, prototyping, and testing of a hydroponic unit that used microalgae as fertilizer. She is interested in transdisciplinary thinking and process, and the fuzzy, gray areas between disciplines, particularly the intersections between biology and design. Much of her work involves collaboration with multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary teams on complex issues that focus on user experience and health impacts. Krespan also co-teaches a graduate course at Drexel University’s Westphal College in disruptive design processes,



encouraging students’ critical thinking, interdisciplinary engagement, and development of innovative ideas and artifacts. Alyssa Klein is currently a user experience (UX) designer focused on optimizing mobile applications for a corporate tech company based out of Denver, CO. She recently graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia as part of the Custom Designed major, a rigorous honors program where she created her own plan of study. Combining UX, product design, and biomedical engineering, Klein aims to optimize human experiences towards a sustainable future and higher quality of life within technology, spaces, and services. Her passion for psychology drove much of her undergraduate the-

sis work, which focused on manipulating human time perception within hospital emergency department waiting rooms. Klein’s extensive international engagement includes researching climate change in Costa Rica, developing medical devices in Singapore, and studying international business in Paris. She presented her work on an app to reduce cognitive load at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Montreal. Klein presented at MoMA with her team for the BioDesign Challenge. Continuing her research on time perception, she serves as a guest speaker for local UX bootcamp courses. She will be speaking about time perception in UX at Denver Startup Week in September.

Description: Metagenomics is the analysis of DNA from a whole community of plants, animals, and microorganisms—which is called a biome. A metagenome is the complete genetic information from all the organisms in a biome. Genetic information is all around us, and the technology to gather, analyze, and manipulate that genetic information has become quite accessible, even outside of research institutions. Like digital information, which is encoded as a sequence of 0s and 1s, genetic information in our bodies is coded using a sequence of four different nucleotides. These four nucleotides, which are the basic structural elements for genetic coding, are made up of a base (one of four chemicals: adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine), plus


a molecule of sugar, and a molecule of phosphoric acid. Specific nucleotide sequences are used encode specific genetic information. Genetic information is also coded beyond individuals in genomes—a complete set of DNA of a whole species— and in the collective metagenomes of entire populations of different organisms. For Metagenomic Field Kit, the design team focused on communication on various biological levels: that is, they researched how cells, organisms, and ecosystems send information signals to each other. The complexity and diversity of the metagenome found in a biome—a biological environment that includes all of its plant and animal life— can be utilized as an effective information “camouflage” strategy. External in-


formation can be embedded within this “noisy” genetic data, making the new information virtually untraceable. In a hypothetical near-future landscape that is monitored by digital surveillance, and dominated by corporate and governmental interests, the Metagenomic Field Kit offers a new channel for democratic communication—DNA. The kit allows users to avoid detection by storing sensitive information within DNA.



NEHA BASAVARAJ Title: Bio / Digital / Fabrication Media: PLA 3D prints, wood Size: variable Date: 2018

Biography: Neha Basavaraj is an architect and interior designer; she also considers herself a student for life. Basavaraj currently works as an Interior Designer at WeWork, India where she leads initiatives for better design efficiency. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from BMSCE, Bangalore and recently graduated with a Master of Science in Interior Architecture and Design from Drexel University, Philadelphia. Basavaraj has worked on various scales of projects that utilize her background in architecture, while maintaining interior design as her main focus area. During her education and work experience, she gained expertise in research and in understanding the requirements for project scales, material knowledge, and detailing. She is an advocate for sustainability,

biodesign, biofabrication, and reuse and recycle in design. Her Master’s Thesis Research Project, Bio/Digital Fabrication, focused on substitute materials (mushroom mycelium and cellulose) for plastic and its use in temporary structures. In her spare time, Basavaraj loves to dive into the history of design, especially to explore how the evolution of design has changed the way that we approach problems in the present day.


Description: This design research project focuses on the intersection between digital design explorations and biological material explorations, in which “making” was an integral part of the research and design process. Bio/Digital/ Fabrication explores mycelium—the underground filament system of mushrooms—as a building block, and cellulose—a component of the cell wall of green plants—as an organic translucent surface. Mycelium is a tough material that shapes to the volumetric forms of molds. Cellulose has the ability to take on the shape of any surface when dried on that surface.


Once Basavaraj understood the capabilities of the biological material, she explored possible forms using the connections among three specific polyhedrons: the Truncated Octahedron, Truncated Tetrahedron, and Cube-Octahedron. In order to stabilize the polyhedrons, Basavaraj introduced aluminum space frames—aluminum is one of the few metals that is both lightweight and reusable. The mycelium was grown into panel forms that fix onto the aluminum frame. The translucent nature of cellulose added to both the aesthetic qualities and organic-ness of the kiosk. The intent was to make the structure light-weight, easy to transport, easy to assemble and disassemble, all while reducing the use of materials that cannot be reused.

The designed kiosk provides space for interaction with the structure, interaction with people, space for rest and seclusion, and most importantly, spaces for discovery of the organic material.



MITCHELL JOACHIM Title: Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS with SOFT Blimp Bumper Bus; NY 2028 Environmental Mobility Credits: Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joachim, KARV: Aurel von Richthofen, Lydia Kallipoliti and Matt Cunningham, Fred James, and Maria Aiolova Medium: digital renderings Size: variable Date: 2008–present

Biography: Mitchell Joachim, PhD, Assoc. AIA, is the Co-Founder of Terreform ONE and an Associate Professor at NYU. He was formerly an architect at Gehry Partners LLP, and Pei Cobb Freed. He has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and fellowships with TED, Moshe Safdie, and Martin Society for Sustainability, MIT. Joachim was chosen by Wired magazine for “The Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To.” Rolling Stone magazine honored Jochim in “The 100 People Who Are Changing America.” He has won many awards including; AIA New York Urban Design Merit Award, Victor Papanek Social Design Award, Zumtobel Award for Sustainability, Architizer A+ Award, History Channel Infiniti Award for City of the Future, and Time magazine Best Invention with MIT Smart

Cities Car. Dwell magazine featured him as “The NOW 99” in 2012. He has co-authored three books, XXL-XS: New Directions in Ecological Design, Super Cells: Building with Biology, and Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned. His work has been exhibited at MoMA and the Venice Biennale. Joachim earned a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MAUD at Harvard University, and an MArch at Columbia University.

Description: Smart DOTS is a radical strategy for rethinking street crossroads. It “injects” a system of intelligent environmental elements­ —”smart dots”—that can spread out from the core to the periphery, reorganizing the streetscape. This speculative design scheme critiques the hard boundaries that automobiles impose upon the streetscape, in which people are forced to move around cumbersome barriers, and often around dangerous metal cars. Our future street is a soft, gradient field: a “pixelated” urban landscape of distributed functions, with no hard borders between different street occupancies. Soft MOBS proposes a new technological and material arrangement in which cars are adapted to cities in pliable organized movements—”soft


mobs.” It also introduces soft vehicles that allow users to be in direct contact with the street. While architects and urban designers mostly take cars as a given, and are content to design streets and public spaces around car movement, in Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS Joachim and his collaborators challenge this well-worn assumption. The design of Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS is organized into three phases: 2008, 2020 and 2028, respectively. In Phase 2008, Joachim suggests making minor design interventions. These immediate safety measures will mitigate conflicts between pedestrians and automobiles. Phase 2020 signals a transition period in which car lanes are narrowed, pedestrian zones are widened, and bicycle bollards are


introduced with new car technology. Already in Phase 2020, Joachim and his collaborators suggest the placement of environmental “smart dots,” or green modules that filter rainfall—what is called greywater—and, at the same time, slow down traffic to separate walking zones, bicycles, and transportation zones. Phase 2028 is the future embodied in “pixelated” surfaces, gradient green zones, and living self-sufficient machines that provide their own energy. These machines generate electricity through air movement. In the future, giant benevolent air-cleansing blimps dangle tentacles, which collide spongy seats in a playful catch-and-release plan for people moving about town. All life is enveloped in a sentient ecology of street, mobile systems, and people.

While the proposal for Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS with the SOFT Blimp Bumper Bus is specifically tailored for the Ninth & Fourth intersection in Brooklyn, NY, it signals a new vision for the city, Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS also crystallizes images of civilization reinventing itself. Smart DOTS + Soft MOBS is a speculative, prototypical strategy for inserting soft plazas in various street intersections. But it demonstrates that we can rethink the city as a whole by making nodal changes. These changes have the potential to infiltrate the rigid grid that in which we currently live.



Title: FAB TREE HAB: Living Graft Prefab Structure Credits: Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joachim Medium: digital renderings of living structure grafted into shape with prefabricated Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) reusable scaffolds Size: variable Date: 2003–present

Description: Joachim’s dwelling, FAB TREE HAB, is composed of 100% living nutrients. This project overturns traditional anthropocentric ideas about life—that is, the notion that humans are the center of existence. In FAB TREE HAB, human life is instead incorporated within the terrestrial environs. Home, in this sense, becomes indistinct and fits itself symbiotically into the surrounding ecosystem. This home concept is intended to replace the outdated design solutions at Habitat for Humanity. Joachim proposes a method to grow homes from native trees. A living structure is grafted into shape with prefabricated Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) reusable scaffolds. In FAB TREE HAB, Joachim creates dwellings that are fully integrated into an ecological community.




Title: Gen2 Seat; MYCOFORM: Multi-Curved Modular Mycelium Biomaterial Studies Credits: Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joachim, Genspace, Oliver Medvedik, Melanie Fessel, Maria Aiolova, Ellen Jorgenson, Shruti Grover, James Schwartz, Josue Ledema, Tania Doles, Philip Weller, Greg Pucillo, Shivina Harjani, Jesse Hull Media: biopolymer of acetobacter, chitin, mycelium Size: 20 in x 21 in x 14 in Support/Consultation: Ecovative Design LLC, Suzanne Lee and BioCouture Sponsor: NYU Gallatin Date: 2008–2015



Description: This platform is defined by various operations we can pre-form with mycelium—which are the underground fungi threads or hyphae that shape the vegetative part of fungi. The team grew the fungus Ganoderma lucidum (or Reishi) into various molds which were derived from computational output. In many cases, architects mimic biological systems, but do not operate in actual wet laboratory conditions. The internal filler is made up of mycelia substrate, and a combination of discarded wood chips, gypsum, and oat bran, which is consumed by the mycelia and then hardened into a tough, durable functional material. The external skin is bacteria cellulose. The mycelia substrate and


bacterial cellulose integrate to become a hard biopolymer that is suitable for architectural applications and the Mycoform module. Biologists and architects collaborated on this project to produce synthetic biodesign artifacts using current digital fabrication techniques. Applying the tools of synthetic biology—along with those from other biological disciplines, such as microbiology, and medical tissue engineering—produces products that are 100% organic, with minimal waste and energy expenditure. The team’s aim is to use grown materials to reshape the way people think about manufacturing products and genetic engineering.


CHARLETT WENIG Title: The Bone Project–The Knee Pads Medium: knee pads with protection shell made out of bended cow shoulder blades Size: 21 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm (each pad) Date: 2016


Biography: Charlett Wenig is a material and product designer whose work explores sustainable material developments through collaborative work in design and the natural sciences. Wenig’s interest in material research started during her Masters-level research in the field of integrated design at the University of Arts Bremen. Her graduate research focused on materials research as the source for creating of three-dimensional objects. Wenig then began working with natural raw materials in order to find sustainable solutions—in particular, she explored applications of animal bones in design. She collaborated with chemists, surgeons, pathologists, and veterinarians over four years to produce holistic research about animal bones. Wenig teaches theoretical and practical


product design at the University of Arts Bremen. She is also currently a rare researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Germany with a design background. As a researcher at the MPI, Wenig has continued her research into natural materials and their design applications.


Description: The purpose of The Bone Project is to make use of a material that would normally be discarded. After an animal is slaughtered, its bones are disposed. Since Western society is primarily meat eating, massive amounts of bones are readily available. Through experimentation, Charlett Wenig developed several different techniques to discover the best way to use the structural characteristics and mechanical properties of bones. In her work some bones were mechanically altered, while others were modified using various chemicals. The ability to bend the bones of large animals that have very complex bone structures is possible in theory, but in practice it is difficult to accomplish. In cooperation with the Institute for Chemistry of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in

Germany, Wenig conducted experiments in which she extracted particular particles of animal bones. This allowed her to create a procedure to bend bones and re-harden them into new forms. Due to their complex structural composition, bones treated this way remain stable and retain their new shape even under massive pressure. It occurred to Wenig, therefore, that she could use bone material for protective gear for sports. Most sports protective gear is made of synthetic material. This synthetic material can break and fail to protect the user—bent bone is a better, more environmentally friendly alternative.



AUDREY SPEYER Title: PuriFungi MycoPod, A Natural Aid Kit for the Earth Media: mycelium, organic substrate, soil, lignin-based material, ceramic Size: incubator–42 cm x 27 cm x 28 cm; mushroom/mycelium–variable Date: 2016–present Title: Champtray de Luxe, A Living Ashtray Media: mycelium, organic substrate, cigarettes butts, glass, charcoal Size: 20 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm Date: 2019 Biography: Trained as a Textile–Surface–Materials designer, Audrey Speyer completed her undergraduate degree and Art MA in Fashion at ESAA Duperré in Paris. She graduated in 2016 with a second MA in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins in London. Speyer is interested in crossover projects between design and science that have a sustainable impact on the environment. For her second MA degree, she researched the bio-technology of fungi that break down contaminants in the soil. Working with a laboratory in the UK, and scientific researchers from Kew Gardens (UK, Richmond) and CNRS (France, Paris), Speyer designed an incubator called MycoPod that is used to inoculate, harvest, and transport living mushrooms to polluted sites.

After exhibiting the MycoPod in Milan, Venice, London, and Paris in 2016, Speyer began a PuriFungi initiative to deploy MycoPods on polluted sites. During a recent hackathon, Speyer developed an ashtray—called Champtray—made of mycelium that grows on cigarette butts while absorbing contaminants from the butts. Her aim for Champtray is to create a waste channel specifically for butts, reduce environmental contamination, and make smokers aware of this kind of bio-remediation. Champtray de Luxe also absorbs the smell of cigarette butts. Speyer won a prize from the Move-Up festival for Champtray, and she has supplied mycelial ashtrays for the Cabaret Vert festival in France for August 2019.


Description: Mushrooms, the primary natural recycler, have a powerful digestive system that absorbs, digests, and stocks both organic and inorganic toxic substances, such as industrial and toxic waste. The contaminants are absorbed through the mycelium, which is the root system of mushroom cultures. As a designer-researcher, working with biologists, engineers, and hackers, Speyer uses living systems to elevate global environmental issues. Using this co-working approach, the MycoPod and Champtray reduce toxicity and toxic waste using a process called mycoremediation. The objective of both of Speyer’s products is to return life to a toxic environment. It takes four to six months for a complete mycoremediation with several MycoPods, and two months to develop a mycelial ashtray from cigarette butts. The MycoPod


is designed for the inoculation, growth, and expansion of mushroom species on polluted sites. The Champtray is produced during the mycoremediation of cigarette butts themselves. Speyer believes that designing with and for nature suggests new ways of thinking that go beyond standard approaches.



E. chromi: plate of engineered E.coli bacteria producing violacein, engineered by the University of Cambridge iGEM team 2009 Credit: Photography by Asa Johanesson

The E. chromi Scatalog Photography by Asa Johanesson

ALEXANDRA DAISY ginsberg & JAMES KING WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE iGEM TEAM 2009 Title: E. chromi: The Scatalog Media: mixed media: aluminium briefcase, foam, acrylic, 6 model feces, video Size: 47 cm x 49 cm x 42 cm Date: 2009

Biography: Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is a multidisciplinary artist examining the human values that shape design, science, technology, and nature. Through installations, writing and curatorial projects, Ginsberg examines why we make things, what those things are, and their relationship with us and the world. Ginsberg has spent over ten years researching synthetic biology and the design of living matter, pushing the

boundaries of design and science with scientists, engineers, artists, designers, historians, social scientists, and museums around the world. Ginsberg is lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (MIT Press 2014). In 2017 she completed ”Better,” her PhDby-practice at London’s Royal College of Art, which interrogates how powerful dreams of “better” futures shape the things that get designed. Ginsberg received the World Technology Award for design in 2011, and the London Design Medal for Emerging Talent in 2012. Her work has twice been nominated for Designs of the Year (2011, 2015), with Designing for

the Sixth Extinction described as “romantic, dangerous…and everything else that inspires us to change and question the world.” Ginsberg exhibits internationally, including at MoMA, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, the Centre Pompidou, and her work is in museum and private collections. She is a resident at Somerset House Studios, London. Her new projects focus on ecology and technology—including wilding the planet Mars, and resurrecting the smell of flowers made extinct by humans, in search of the sublime.



System diagram for E. chromi Scatalog

Description: E. chromi: The Scatalog is part of an experimental collaboration between artists/designers and scientists in the emerging field of synthetic biology. In 2009, seven Cambridge University undergraduates spent the summer genetically engineering bacteria to secrete a variety of colored pigments that are visible to the naked eye. They designed standardized sequences of DNA, called BioBricks™, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria. Each BioBrick™ part contains genes from existing organisms, which enables the bacteria to produce a color. By combining these with other BioBricks™, bacteria could be programmed to do tasks for humans. Their invention, which they called

E. chromi, won the Grand Prize at the 2009 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM). Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg and designer James King worked with the team while they developed the technology in the lab. Ginsberg and King explored various agendas—some of which were not necessarily desirable—that could shape the use of a foundational technology like E. chromi and, in turn, our everyday lives. The Scatalog imagines using E. chromi for personalized disease monitoring: engineered bacteria could be ingested in yogurt, colonize the gut, and “watch” for chemical markers of diseases. If they detect disease, the bacteria produce an easy-to-read warning by coloring feces. The Scatalog, a tool for critical discourse in synthetic biology, was presented at iGEM

in 2009. Since 2009, Ginsberg and King’s critical fiction The Scatalog became a goal for synthetic biologists, and engineered probiotics based on this project are now being tested.


ALEXANDRA DAISY ginsberg & SASCHA POHFLEPP Title: Growth Assembly Medium: print Size: 38 cm x 32 cm, 38 cm x 32 cm 38 cm x 32 cm, 38 cm x 32 cm 38 cm x 32 cm, 72 cm x 32 cm 38 cm x 32 cm, 30 cm x 30 cm Date: 2009




Illustrations by Sion Ap Thomas

Description: The Growth Assembly is a collection of seven natural-history illustrations from a future where plants are genetically engineered to grow everyday objects. In this imagined world, the cost of energy has made the global shipping of raw materials and mass-produced commodities impossible. When fully developed, the parts are stripped like a walnut from its shell or corn from its husk, ready for assembly. Shops evolve into factory farms where licensed products are grown and sold. Large items take time to grow and are more expensive, while small ones are more affordable. Only seeds need to be shipped, since all the manufacturing instructions are encoded into the plants’ DNA. The illustrations draw on the tradition of botanical drawings by naturalists like Ernst Haeckel who, against a backdrop of

nineteenth-century industrialization and Darwin’s emerging ideas on natural selection, were cataloguing the organisms of the natural world as if they were intricate living machines. In contrast, the future use of biology as factory may fundamentally alter our idea of industrialization, introducing diversity and softness into a realm today dominated by standardization. Once assembled, the seven parts form an herbicide sprayer: an essential commodity used to protect these delicate, engineered horticultural machines from the older, more established nature.



VICTORIA GEANEY, BERNARDO POLLAK & ANTON KAN Title: Living Light Dress Media: Photobacterium kishitanni, raw wool felt, agar substrate, sea water, yeast medium Size: variable Funding: The University of Cambridge, Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative SynBio Fund for Novel Bioluminescent Reporters and Synthesis of Novel Optimised Lux Reporters for Eukaryotic Systems Date: 2016

Biographies: Victoria Geaney is a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, London. Geaney interrogates and explores collaborative fashion and biology approaches through her practice-led research. Her research is driven by process, and the work operates at the intersections of microbiology and fashion-design research. Geaney is part of the London Doctoral Design Centre, and has initiated collaborations with synthetic biologists and microbiologists at Cambridge University, Surrey University, and Imperial College London. She is regularly invited to speak about her research, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; FIT, New York; Amsterdam’s Waag Institute; Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; Munich Fabric Start; and the University of Western Austra-

lia. Her practice has featured in Wired, Nylon, U+Mag, Higgs magazine and Design Exchange. Geaney’s Harvested Sunlight project with Dr. Simon Park is included in Rachel Armstrong’s Experimental Architecture: Designing the Unknown. Anton Kan completed his PhD in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. His research in Cambridge focused on engineering and modeling mechanisms that generate and alter shape and organization in bacterial colonies. He is currently undertaking postdoctoral research at Harvard University. Bernardo Pollak completed his PhD in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. His research focused on establishing the simple

plant model system, Marchantia polymorpha, for plant synthetic biology, as well as studying the molecular genetics involved in meristem establishment and maintenance. As a side-project, Pollak collected water samples around the world and has isolated many strains of bioluminescent bacteria from the Pacific, Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean oceans. Together with Anton Kan, Pollak investigated the genes responsible for bioluminescence from these bacteria. He is currently PhD Associate Researcher at the Millunium Institute for Integrative Biology (iBio), Santiago, Chile and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Science for Life Foundation, Santiago, Chile.



Credits: Photography: Chris Hoare; Retouching: Dennis Post Production; Hair and Make-Up: Victoria Winfield Model: Manuella Gomide at d1 Models Description: The Living Light Dress is a collaborative project between fashion-led researcher Victoria Geaney, and synthetic biologists Anton Kan and Bernardo Pollak. The dress is a living garment covered in the deep-sea bacteria Photobacterium kishitanni, which is bioluminescent, producing a soft, blue glow. The dress was made using raw wool felt, which was photographed on the model while still dry. The garment was then coated with agar substrate containing nutrients derived from yeast extract. The team then inoculated the dress with bacteria. After approximately ten hours, it began to glow and continued to glow for 72 hours. It was photographed on the mannequin after approximately 10–12 hours of growth.

The two images were put together digitally. Therefore, the work blurs the lines between reality and the hyperreal—a speculative fashion design. The project aims to demonstrate how collaborative working methodologies can be developed between fashion and biology practitioners. This type of innovative material could have potential for future biological materials and biologically produced wearable technology. However, we are more interested in asking questions surrounding ecological and philosophical implications when working with living materials, rather than producing wearable applications. The Living Light Dress, which was conceived and produced using design methodology, may be considered a design probe and ex-

periment. The Living Light Dress project aims to open up discussions about the ecological, social, philosophical, and political dimensions of utilizing living and biological materials in design, while also making visible these beautiful microbial worlds.




Title: The Living Language Project Media: petri dishes, nutritionally rich medium, Paenibacillus vortex bacteria Size: 95 mm x 15 mm (22 x Petri dishes) Date: 2016

Biography: Ori Elsar is a Paris-based bio-designer and researcher who graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem in Visual Communication. He also studied Hebrew Linguistics and Archeology at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. Using linguistic methodologies, Elisar confronts design research methods with biological practices. This process helps to fuel the vibrant contemporary discussion on the intersection of new technologies, biological fabrication, and social practice. Elisar exhibits internationally, and he is the recipient of an Excellence Award from the Japan Media Art Festival, a Certificate of Typographic Excellence


from the Type Directors Club in New York, and the 2018 New Media Art Prize from the EX, arte electronico y experimental in Madrid.


Description: The Living Language Project is a generative bio-linguistic research project that explores the boundaries between culture and nature: that is, it concerns the body and its surroundings and language and its speakers. The Living Language presents the evolution of the Hebrew alphabet over the 2,000 years that it was considered a “dead” language. In The Living Language Project, Elisar uses Paenibacillus vortex bacteria to create 2,000-year-old Hebrew characters, which then evolve into contemporary Hebrew letters as the bacteria grow. He employs bacteria as a literal “living” language that reflects the linguistic history of Hebrew.

Elisar incorporated the unpredictable aspects of bacterial growth as a variable in how the letters grow and morph. Unpredictable changes are typical in biological evolution as well as in the evolution of civilization, and the evolution of letters. The Living Language Project deals with the tension between controlling the behavior of living organisms and letting nature run its course. It also explores the developing states of the Hebrew language. The project questions nature, culture, letterforms, and language, and considers how biological fabrication technologies can interact with the design world.



Title: Powow!! Media: glass bell, welded steel structure, two forms printed stereotropography PLA WOOD (printed in recycled wood filament), “coolboard” electronic card. Size: 200 mm x 200 mm x 400 mm Date: 2016–2018


Biography: Cyprien Deryng is a French designer who works on retail urban farming projects that integrate biodiversity and design. In a troubled world in which 70% of the population lives in cities, Deryng argues, climate change cannot be controlled or arrested without revolutionizing approaches to design. Deryng believes that, through innovative interdisciplinary technologies, designers can utilize their skills to create objects, spaces, images, and films that can positively influence people’s behavior. Designers and interior architects must be responsible activists, according to Deryng—they must be provocative, coherent, and humanistic, taking ecological and cultural problems into serious


consideration. Deryng worked as a designer for LVMH, Guerlain, Mugo landscape agency in urban agriculture, and for eiffage, Accorhotels.


Description: Powow!! is a project that supports indoor plant germination. It creates a miniature, edible landscape that celebrates plant germination. Powow!! is an aeroponic system—the mist is the tool that is used to grow and moisten plants. This micro-landscape enhances germination, and the vitamin-rich micro-greens that are grown this way are more desirable than traditional greens that are germinated in bulk. The technique used to produce these micro-greens is called smog pony or aeropony. The device uses an ultrasonic probe that transforms liquid water into cold vapor. A “coolboard” electronic card controls the humidity, temperature,

and oxygen to optimize production without mold. The card also can provide humidity and other information on a mobile phone.






Title: Sea Level Rise T-Shirt Medium: cotton fabric Size: 32 in x 31.5 in Date: 2017 Image Credit: Nicole Torres and Karin von Ompteda Biography: Justin Jehong Yoon is a graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. He was born in Sungnam, Korea and immigrated to Canada when he was 14 years old, spending his youth in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Yoon moved to Toronto in 2015 to study art and design, and graduated from OCAD University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design. He is an emerging designer, currently working as an intern at a graphic design studio, and a freelance illustrator.

Description: This t-shirt translates global sea-level rise data into the design of an everyday object. Layers of fabric were hand dyed and sewn onto the bottom of the t-shirt, with the height of each representing the millimeter sea-level increase over a measured time period. The project is based on sea-height data from the years 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2017. While the bottom four layers of fabric correspond to sea level rise over five-year time spans, the uppermost layer represents approximately two-and-a-half years, utilizing the most up-to-date information at the time of project creation. Through the design of a t-shirt, sea-level rise data, which is global and abstract, has been connected directly to our everyday experience, and to our bodies.



CHENHUI SONG Title: Projection Media: concrete, foam Size: 5 in x 21 in Date: 2017 Image Credit: Chenhui Song

Biography: Chenhui Song is a graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. In 2019 he graduated from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design. During his undergraduate degree, his practice was varied and included print, digital interactive, animation, and installation work. With a focus on research, process, and critical thinking, Song seeks to challenge convention. Being from Shanghai, China has informed his international and unique perspective on topics including culture, the environment, science, and future technologies. For his final year project at OCAD University, he built an online tool that helps graphic designers to ideate and get inspired using concepts of artificial intelligence and machine generation. Song is currently a graphic designer at Design Tennis, a

Toronto-based, forward-thinking agency that focuses on design, strategy, and technology. His role involves graphic design, branding, motion graphics, and UI/UX. Outside of graphic design, Song is passionate about art, illustration, animation, gaming, and nature.

Description: This height of this sculpture represents one projection for global sea level rise between the years 2000 and 2066; approximately two thirds of the century. The object’s organic shape takes inspiration from sea snails, making reference to ocean life at risk due to global climate change. The object was constructed with a specific type of concrete that is used to fix leaks within people’s homes. In this way, the project connects abstract data to everyday life.



WILLOW SHARP Title: Our Protected Forest Media: paper, bark, glue Size: 8.5 in x 4 in Date: 2017 Image Credit: Willow Sharp

Biography: Willow Sharp is a maker and designer from Ottawa, Canada. She graduated in 2019 from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design. Her practice focuses on environmental justice and sustainability.

Description: Of Canada’s total forest area, only about 24 million hectares (~7%) is protected. This refers to the creation of parks and other areas to legally protect forests from industrial activity and to help preserve healthy ecosystems. The data sculpture uses bark to represent Canada’s protected forest area, and paper “rings” to represent the remaining 93% of forest area. The juxtaposition of natural bark with printed material addresses the disconnect between the products we use and their natural origins.




Title: The Comfort of Ignorance Media: 100% wool yarn, leather Size: 50 in x 38 in Date: 2017 Image Credit: Cecilia Salcedo-Guevara

Biography: Cecilia Salcedo-Guevara (b.1997) is a Venezuelan-Canadian graphic designer. She recently graduated from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design. Her work focuses on immigration, identity, and social justice. Using design as a form of catharsis and expression, Salcedo-Guevara seeks to better understand the intersections of her own identity, as well as to create work that engages the wider public.

Description: It can be difficult for people to relate climate change data to their everyday lives. Yet, what if that information was lying on the living room couch? The bar graph that is woven into this blanket illustrates global surface temperature from 1965 to 2015, relative to average temperatures from 1951 to 1980. The data is presented in five-year increments, and illustrates dramatic changes in temperature over time. These temperature changes range from low, and even negative, values (i.e. colder than the long-term average) on the left side of the graph, to progressively higher values on the right, all of which are positive values (i.e. warmer than the longterm average).

Whether or not an individual is affected by the data lies at the core of this project. The blanket is deceptively comfortable, serving as a metaphor for the comfort of ignorance regarding global climate change. This is juxtaposed with the uncomfortable truth of the data, represented through the use of 100% wool yarn which results in a prickly and itchy blanket. In this way the project offers both a metaphor and a litmus test for who we are in this period of climate change. Are you aware of what is going on around you? If so, are you willing to remain engaged with the issue, despite the discomfort of this reality?



MICHELLE LU Title: Instability Media: plywood, glue Size: 7 in x 4.5 in x 2.25 in, 11.5 in x 7.5 in x 3.75 in Date: 2017 Image Credit: Nicole Torres and Karin von Ompteda

Biography: Michelle Lu is a multidisciplinary graphic designer based in Toronto, Canada. Having graduated recently from OCAD University with a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design, her practice focuses on identity, diaspora, and the human experience. Lu’s work is motivated by social activism and the complex intersectional spaces within identity.

Description: This project estimates the number of people within different countries that have been affected by drought, floods, and extreme temperatures in 2009. The countries represented are Ethiopia and Brazil (listed in descending order). These precarious objects have been scaled to represent the total number of people from each country experiencing instability associated with global climate change.



SIYUAN HUANG Title: Arctic Sea Ice Volume Medium: frosted acrylic Size: 4 in x 4 in x 4.1 in Date: 2018 Image Credit: Nicole Torres and Karin von Ompteda

Biography: Siyuan Huang is currently in her final year of study in the Graphic Design program at OCAD University in Canada. She is a multidisciplinary designer with work experience in the area of branding. In 2018 Siyuan participated in a workshop by Lech Majewski, the final outcomes of the project were presented in the Henryk Tomaszewski exhibition in the Power Station of Art (PSA) museum in Shanghai, China.

Description: This piece presents Arctic sea ice volume from 1980 to 2012. The seventeen layers of frosted acrylic represent sea ice volume during “even� years (i.e. 1980, 1982, etc.). The data is communicated through the size of the organically-shaped cut-outs; the larger the cut-out, the lower the volume of sea ice measured that year. Designed for the human hand, this piece is meant to be touched and explored by gallery visitors.

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