Designing with Biology

Exploring Costa Rica’s Living Environment through the lens of Design

Workshop Dates: April 9 – 13, 2018

Keywords: 
Biodiversity, Biotechnology, Biomaterials, Sustainability, Economy, Ecology, Genetics, Agricultural Systems, Critical Design, Speculative Design

Description:
Costa Rica sets a special context for the recent advancements in biotechnology as it holds an incredible amount of world’s genetic diversity. In this week-long research studio, participants will review capabilities of biological tools advancing ever so rapidly, and explore frameworks for this new domain. You will have the chance to learn about systems and biological processes, such as grown material, bioreactors, and sampling instruments. You will conceptualize and materialize objects that propose new relationships with the natural systems in Costa Rica and connect with local institutions, facilities and have conversations with people that are knowledgeable about the local ecosystem. Prototypes will be presented in a public forum to act as prompts to enhance and facilitate conversations around social opportunities for bio-design.

Learning expectations:
Advancements in biotechnology are changing the way we think about design materials and processes. They can be considered in designing interfaces and should be understood as a necessary design element, constraint, and opportunity. This workshop will review the state of the art in biotechnology tools, research in genetics, agricultural systems, biomaterials. In the context of a field trip through food plantations, materials production facilities, local rainforest, biotech labs and biodiversity institutions, we will learn to question and consider biology’s role in design. We will design devices for the interaction of holistic/playful — in anticipation of a near future where we are aware of and have agency over our living ecosystem.

Prerequisites:
In the Creative Industry would be nice but OK if not.

Faculty
Yasaman Sheri
Chris Woebken