On May 24th I had the pleasure of viewing Central Saint Martins Degree Show 2016, Show 1, which presented works across courses including MA Art & Science, MRes Art: Theory & Philosophy, and BA & MA Fine Art, amongst others.
Of the many and varied concepts explored, ideas and themes in and of nature were especially prominent this year. Standout graduates and postgraduates of the Class of 2016 included:
"Since its inception in 2011 this pioneering course [MA Art & Science] the first of its kind, has provided a unique global platform for students across a wide range of fields, on which they extend and contribute to the expanding interdisciplinary branch of knowledge - Art and Science. Responding to this fast emerging territory for collaborative practice which redefines creativity across disciplines, UNFOLDING REALITIES practitioners from fine art, design, photography, neuroscience, art history, mathematics, choreography and architecture have been inspired by their individual connections and observations of the world and the challenge of interrogating this beyond disciplinary boundaries." Central Saint Martins, April 2016.
Find out more about MA Art & Science at: http://www.artsciencecsm.com
On May 12th 2016 I had the pleasure of participating in BioSalon II, which was held in Futuro House at Central Saint Martins, London. Curated by Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures and Director of the Design & Living Systems Lab, UAL, Carole Collet, the peer-gathering explored how the intersection of design and biological fabrication can open up to new ways of 'making' and crafting in the future.
Amongst those engaged in BioSalon's thought provoking conversations were bio artist, curator and lecturer, Heather Barnett; co-founder of Bento Lab, Phillipp Boeing; co-director of the BiotA Lab, Bartlett School of Architecture, Richard Beckett; and history and theory tutor at the Urban Morphogenesis Lab, UCL Visiting Lecturer, Manos Zaroukas.
On April 18th 2016 scientists, designers, and artists working across the biodesign disciplines gathered at the Darwin Building at the Royal College of Art for fifth in the BioChanges series of talks and panel discussions. Themed of ‘Superorganisms’, the event explored questions including:
The speakers were Artist, PhD Quantum Physicist and Senior Tutor in Information Experience Design at the Royal College of Art, Dr. Libby Heaney; Reader in Gene Network Engineering at Imperial College, Dr. Mark Isalan; Senior Lecturer in Synthetic Biology and Synthetic Genome Engineering at Imperial College, Dr. Tom Ellis; Artist and Researcher into Biological Systems, and Course Lecturer on the Masters in Art and Science at Central Saint Martins, Heather Barnett; and myself.
Dr. Libby Heaney kicked off the presentations with a selection of her biologically-inspired participatory installation experiments and artworks. Dr. Mark Isalan followed, introducing some of his research group’s latest experiments in gene network engineering. Next up, I presented a handful of my research findings at the intersection of ecosystem resilience to extreme hazards, architecture and urban design. Penultimate speaker Dr. Tom Ellis gave a compelling talk on some of his research group’s investigations in synthetic gene engineering (image above), positing the potential for future materials. Heather Barnett then walked the audience through several of her recent bioart projects, including collaborative works exploring the behaviours and potentialities of species including slime mould.
Following a panel discussion and audience Q&A, all gathered participated in a live experiment, which designed by Heather Barnett, mimicked the behaviour of microorganisms. The evening drew to a close with drinks at the RCafe, and an opportunity for those gathered to pitch their ideas for art-science collaborations.
Well done to BioChanges #5 organisers, including RCA biodesign researchers Victoria Geaney and Amanda Olesen, for having put together such an inspired and flawlessly produced event!
Find out more about BioChanges are the link below:
Inspired by the live stream of NOAA and partners deepwater exploration of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), on April 26th I took a trip to Zoological Society of London’s aquarium. Amongst other inspiring species, the ZSL collection includes bioluminescent Moon Jellyfish (above), and Upside-down Jellyfish (below).
Melissa Sterry, PhD, chartered design scientist, systems theorist, biofuturist, and serial founder inc. Bionic City®
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
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