Guten Morgan!

I'm recreating myself following my passion for the intersection between design, community and myth.

DEV CORE - Week 5 with Ben Hooker

INTRODUCTION

In our class dedicated to developing our individual process of inquiry, we chose an emerging field of science and were asked to explore its design implications. I chose biosynthetics. Through this science, we can create cells from scratch or re-engineer an existing cell to change its core functioning outside of the natural context.

My research uncovered a sub-culture of citizen scientists (also known as “biopunks”) advocating for increasing the public’s scientific literacy (gaining knowledge through application, experimentation and making vs. passive information sharing).

While the field is nascent, the questions raised through this line of inquiry are not. By changing the fundamental fabric of nature, scientists are raising philosophical questions that have a long and rich history of polemics:What is natural? What is truth? What is moral? What is the relationship between knowledge and power? What is the role of the aesthetic creator in the political state?

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Condition: The DIY culture is converging with the field of biosynthetics, creating a new class of citizen scientists whose work questions: “What is natural?” and “What is true?”

Design Problem:How can we arm more citizens to engage in making; and in doing so, expand upon the philosophical discourse on truth, power and morality?

Solution:These pictures represent a DIY manual I designed for citizen scientists to grow their own fabric using bio-cultures. In addition to simple “how to” instructions, the manual includes detailed footnotes that relate to the philosophical questions that should come up in the making process.

FURTHER EXPLORATION

To take thisfurther, I am considering two routes. The first is to treat the work as a typography and graphics design challenge…making the visual manifestation more closely align with the content’s conceptual underpinning. The second option is working with a linguist and a bio-engineer to explore opportunities to create a new “post-post-structuralist code,” that appropriates traditional signs and symbols using bio-engineered materials.

INSIGHTS

  1. Be more iterative in my making process - prototype many ideas
  2. Try focusing projects on the future vs. looking to the past for meaning