By Carole Collet, MAMF Studio
Interesting workshop. Carole started with giving each group a topic to research, after which we presented our findings to the whole class. This was my first time encountering such a method of 'lecture'. Instead of giving us the information we got to research the sustainable topics actively and on top of that the presentations were funny and personal as each group had to give three research questions that they would want to explore further with this topic.
By Dr. Stephen Hayward, Skip Garden
This was my first time working with an oven that gets so hot. I usually have been around workshops with 3D printers, electronics or workshop equipment. But never around anything related to (bigger) metal workshops or ceramic kilns. So, this was quite the experience.
My group, consisting of two architecture students and one more Material Future student, explored a tool that would make consumers more aware of ‘eating’. Nowadays a lot of people eat whilst watching their phone, a movie or whilst working. Creating a tool that is unfamiliar in use and impossible to use without full attention creates a full eating experience. Our new spoon can only be held with two hands and needs concentration to put anything on the spoon and in the mouth.
Open Cell, The Old Laundry Yard, London
The first step to get strawberry DNA; Mash up the strawberries in a ziplock (without their green crowns).
2. Make the extraction buffer through stirring slowly: 5g washing liquid + 2g salt + 100ml water.
3. Add the extraction buffer in the ziplock with the strawberry and mix the liquids by mashing them up more.
4. Filter the mixture through a coffee filter into a glass jar. The coloured liquid will contain the DNA.
5 As a final step add ice cold alcohol, pour it slowly as pictured on the right. Between the water and the alcohol a new layer of white jelly like substance will form, this is the DNA. Apparently because strawberry has 8 times the same DNA in its cells the amount of DNA that forms is visible for the human eye — This might not be the case for other fruits.
A site that elaborates on this experiment: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/get-naked/experiments/how-extract-dna-kiwi-fruit
During FAB14 the workshop I most anticipated was about dyeing natural fibres with bacteria; E. Coli.
Unfortunately the specimens got contaminated with other bacteria (from the air or us as participants?) So, they had to kill the bacteria and throw out our experiments without us getting to see the end result.
Roland van Dierendonck
Different types of microscopy that work with light: bright field, dark field, phase contrast, polarised, flurescent and laser scanning microscopy. The one that is most precise out of this list is Laserscanning microscopy, which scans the image point by point.
Snell's law and the lens formula will make it possible to calculate the lens's strength and the amount necassary to make our own microscope.
Ollie Nicholas | Director of Dropoutmag.com
Ollie mainly carried a great message on how to get started: just do it, no need for it to be perfect.
However he also told us that it is important to consider that it might not bring in any money for a long time. Therefore, whatever you pick should be something you are passionate enough about to do next to your work.
I found his realistic, yet quite optimistic view very refreshing and an inspiration for what I aim to do with paraprint.io.
Olivia Ahn & Gemma Berry | Panel Discussion: Normalise Mentruation
Olivia told us how 'true sustainablity' made switch course with Polipops labs.
It is interesting to see how in countries like India periods are still a taboo topic, let alone encouraging women to switch to biodegradable pads. This huge cultural gap lead to a great group discussion as we have students from all over the world.
Jon Ardern | Co-Founder and Director of Superflux
Impressive method of trend forcasiting, rather then data-centric the outcome is done through either an experience, an artifact or a movie. He told us about his projects; Drone Aviary, Trigger Warning and Mitigation of Shock.
I thought the drones where extremely scary and well done, especially with the news that during Covid-19 in Spain the government/police actually deployed drones to tell people to go back inside or to keep moving. This distopic surveilence is so well visualised in Superflux' 2015 project. The last project he talked about I thought was really good as well, a positive apacolyptic way for us to need to use our old electronics to build hydroponic systems at home to be able to survive the toxic air. The method in with they did it, a experience apartment that you can walk through and experinece family life in this area, is just really well excecuted.
Susanne Lee (Biofabricate), Alice Taylor (MA BioDesign), Helal Agil (NGO), Sheel Malik (UCL), Markus Walker (Open Cell), Karen Hogan (CEO of BioRealise), Elanora Mantovani (RebelBIO), Grace Knight, Ben Reeve (Modern Synthesis), Mitch Heinrich (BoltThreads), Natsai Audrey Chieza (Faber Futures) and Andy Gonzalez (Ginko Bioworks)
This day of lectures, organised by BioFabricate, was absolutely amazing! There were speakers from companies that inspire me greatly. To be able to hear from them and meet with them personally was great.
Although, it also made me realise how little I know about the biology/chemistry field and that that knowledge will become increasingly important as the new wave of design in combination with biology will grow stronger. This day made me more sure that I want to continue in this direction.
Alvin Carpio (the fourth group), Eric Kaufmann (author of Whiteshift), Mary Caldor (prof at London School of Economics), Layla Yarjani, Oz Katerji, Areeq Chowdhury, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Ben Habib, Ella Whelan, John Vlasto, James Sancto, Janique Charles, Michael Olatokun and Omar Salha
Since my political understanding is still limited, I learned many new terms. The most interesting talk of the day for me was the panel discussion between Layla, Oz, Areeq and Yassmin. They discussed what role the internet plays in nationalism VS globalism and part of their discussion was about how this influences democracy. One of the questions Yassmin raised was: "Is our technology fit for purpose?", when she talked about the difference in interest of the technology's creators/owners and its users. This day inspired me to read Surveillance Capitalism.
Dr. Daniel Polani | Head of the Adaptive Systems Research Group at University of Hertfordshire
Daniel talked about his research on AI. He showed us videos of the results of 'agent' behaviour when they are given a set of rules. The researchers want these little blocks (agents) to behave following the certain rules/freedom to analyse their actions.
One of the points he makes during his talk is that: 'Empowerment is about being in control (and knowing it!) and it doesn't require a goal.'
image from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frobt.2017.00025/full
Kay Mitcheal, Carole Collet, Gary Campbell and Jane Panty
Beautiful handsigns: a universal language for a big movement. "We have the collective responsibility to do something positive about the environment."
There was a lot of talk about how bad it is, not enough about how we are going to change it. However I do notice all kinds of small changes within the uni. No more polystyrene for takeaway (replaced with cardboard), no more plastic cups or plastic cutlery, a ceramic bowl for small size salad (which was before only available as takeaway), extra point for bring you're own cup to the cafe and later extra charge for a takeaway cup. No more salt and pepper sachets, only a big glass refillable container. talks about removing MDF from the workshops. It can be much more and further, but it's good to see the small changes.
Dr. Loannis Lekkas | Material scientist working with AFM-IR & nano-IR
A very technical talk.
Nonetheless an amazing idea: 3D-printing with atoms. And Loannis finished his lecture with the potential of this technology that ‘feeling' is a better sense than ‘seeing’ whether cells are healthy or not.
Suzanne Lee | Founder & CEO of BioFabricate
I had seen Susanne's kombutcha jacket, however this was the first time seeing her. It is always nice to see/meet the person behind a design.
She gave a good talk, however unfortunately for those already invested in biodesign there was little new information. I think this location/audience was too general for a more in depth lecture, so in the future I might need to concider going to a scientific conference instead.
Constantine Sandis (Philosopher at University of Hertfordshire)
How can we predict the (near) future? Mistakes in predictions either come from our tendency to imagine too wild or parts that we imagine wouldn't change changed. The things that are predicted correctly might have been inspired by predictions (in novels/films/etc), which can be self-fulfilling.
Interestingly Constantine continued with David Hune (1738/1748), who said "whatever happened in the past, doesn't mean it will continue to do so, doesn't mean that you shouldn't expect it." So, what can we learn from the past? Can we use characters of people help us predict the future? He linked this with the reason why there will always be war, because there are greedy and jealous people. So I wonder will we finally reach a fair world when AI take over...or will we be able to use this knowledge of personalities to build in a societal buffer?
The function of critical design is to make people believe they could live in the world you narrate. The actual aim however is 'Can this design bring people of different backgrounds together and through the boundary object make them engage in new conversations?'.
On top of that Matt explained the difference between associative design (static object to critique a disciplinary), speculative design (narrate a future through a mundane object/setting) and critical design (critique society/societal values). Boundary objects, objects that multiple fields have interest in and understand can come to good use in challenging and questioning the status quo.
Swarovski, Natsai Audrey Chieza, Jackie Andrews-Udall and Carole Collet
I found Jackie the most interesting part of the talk. She started off with pictures from her travels, saying that what she saw during her travels made her want to pursue sustainability.
Especially, the 'traceability tool' made by Vanz to visualise their supply chain (pictured) was interesting. I think that such information should be available for every brand. To produce the Vanz shoes the parts come from 24 different locations and are transported multiple times. It is something we can all guess, but to be able to visually comprehend it like this really is a different experience.
Saúl Baeza (Visions By magazine)
The part of his lecture that caught my attention most is 'new faces, new identities'. During one of the projects my group also discussed changing the facial structure temporarily to create new identities for yourself when going out. Privacy in a world of facial recognition. What I found interesting is that just like us they used Appel's Face-ID to confirm whether the facial add-on is disruptive enough. Apple unmeaningly gave designers and artist an amazing validation tool to narrate the bigger story of public privacy.
They say ideas are in the air, and I'm glad they are. Glad more people are working on this growing concern.
Nadia Swarovski, Dax Lovegrove, Wilson Oryema (Artist & Writer), Greg Valerio (Artisan & Mining Activist)
Interesting discussion on sustainability.
Swarovski, Kieren Jones, Katie May Boyd and David Roux-Fouillet
David showed some of his work, which was extremely creative and out of the box.
The first work he showed was 'a challenge to eternity', couples would use a gun to shoot a diamond into their wedding ring. However, the success-rate is 100%, sometimes the diamond breaks on impact. "Isn't marriage the same? 100% certainty doesn't exist.” And let’s be honest giving a rifle is a lot more exciting than shopping in sterile jewellery shops.
Another of his collections works with living insects to create jewellery. He admits the difficulty of working with living beings.
Swarovski and Teresa van Dongen
This lecture was split in two sections. Firstly an employee from Swarovski showed us all the sustainable collaborations they have done through the years. Remarkably, she also told us that even though Swarovski is trying to be sustainable and transparent, the machinery is secret even for employees.
Teresa talked about alternative energy sources for lighting. She made multiple lamp designs that are powered by bio-luminesced bacteria. Maybe in a few years you'll have to get someone to feed your lamps when you're on holiday?
Japan House, London
"3D-printing is still to imprecise to make something as delicate as say, a watch" Y.Shunji. Which was funny, because that was precisely what we were trying to do during the BAUME project: 3D-printing a watch with bioplastics. And I think that this statement will maybe stay true for another 5years, after that the technology will surely become advanced enough to be able to do this.
I think this method of lecture of a realtively informal talk between two very different designers on their work is really interesting. Because the comments they gave on each others work are not only in depth, but also says a lot about their perspective on design. I would like to go to more lectures like this.
Arne Hendriks, Guillian Graves, Agne Kucerenkaite, Thomas Vailly, Fernando Laposse, Anouk Legendre, Phil Ayres, Christina Stadlbauer, Yesenia Thibault-Picazo, Sanne Visser, Kevin Germanier and Alison Clarke
Out of the many speakers on this day, Thomas Vailly impressed me the most. His way of working is as what the couple from SymbioticA explained; with the pigs disassembly line in the 18th century. He takes something from nature and instead of breaking it down to biological components, he breaks it down to the fibre level, to build something new from there. Waste streams or byproduction of farmed goods.
Alison Clarke recommended a lot of good books. Good to see two MAMF graduates. Don’t necessarily want to become like them.
Oran Catts & Ionat Zurr | SymbioticA, The Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, The University of Western Australia
Interesting vision about, all is already out there (nature/biology), it is now about understanding and reconstructing them. Disassembly line of a pork 1873: which gave the idea for an assembly line, yet at that point thinking about a dissamebly line after its use has been accomplished was not thought of.
Premature baby incubator was started at a freakshow in order to be accepted in community.: these are projects outside the scope of cultural ‘box’ and thus can not be presented in an art show.
Michael Pawlyn, Jane Scott and Carole Collet
Michael’s presentation made quite the impression. I really liked his program that shows what you are using from nature, what it turns into and what you might be under utilising. First time for me to hear the term ‘regenerative design’, sustainability is dead. Very interested in regenerative design and what this entails. Second time hearing about the site Asknature.org.
Jane Scott has been working on the linen shape changing fabric for 5 years!! Before she got this to work; designs and innovations don’t just fall from the sky.
Maël Henaff, Shawn Jordan and Agatha (Agi) Haines
Nice to hear that Agi had a similar experience with one of their ‘hero's’ in design turning out to be bluffing/well presented speculative design. I’m starting to see the value of presenting something really well even if it not a working prototype. That is not necessarily the goal of speculative design/art. It prepares the public and scientists for a certain world that is then (after debate whether it is wanted at all) up to them to actually make/realise.
As mentioned in the earlier lecture, Carole Collet’s Biolace was that project for me.
Dr. Simon Morley from British Antarctic Survey
The winds can get over the artics now, causing the change in winds worldwide, fastens the melting of the icecaps and causes weather change world wide.
Interesting to hear that where certain species live or move to can predict ‘the future’. Or at least make an educated guess.
Nick Gant | Founder of Community21, Brighton University
Milk protein and cork shoes? Making different/even visually different designs yet an overlapping story.
Meaning making research.
Kate Goldworthy | Co-Director, Centre for Circular Design (CCD), UAL
Mind-blown! What something is made of is not as important as the way it is being processed. So something completely sustainable and biodegradable can still be very bad for the environment if not processed properly…The importance of the human in the design; if bioplastic doesn’t end up in the right place the design (sustainability) doesn’t matter. There is need for system design; looking at the bigger picture.
Fun that I had seen the project Pulp-it in the V&A Exposition about fashioned from nature.
Laia Mogas Soldevila, Marlène Huissoud, Emile de Visscher, Studio Aikieu and Carole Collet
Enjoyed the view of Emile about how material designers should show the potential and versatility of this new material without prescribing it a certain role. “As soon as you present an object people start thinking about the functionality rather then the potential of the new material.” How to create an object in between prototype and finished model, a Forma Fantasma? I came across this myself when presenting at the DDW17, where people found it difficult to look beyond the material used in the prototype in order to discuss the concept (what I wanted to show). The Talk from Carole opened my eyes, this was my first time seeing her in person. Her design Biolace is the reason I picked this masters. I wanted to modify DNA to create new designs. So, when I asked how she got a lab to help her achieve this I was very surprised that it is actually hand-made and not possible yet. I felt cheated yet also a weight falling off my shoulders; this is the reason I couldn’t work this out is because it's not possible yet.
I don’t think in the end we watched the whole movie. So, since I found it on Vimeo I would like to watch it again some time.
Proff. John McGeehan
Brilliant to hear his lecture, since four days before for the first time I read a paper on wax bugs being able to eat plastic. Not just mechanically chew down, but actually digest via enzymes. And then John gave his lecture on their research of creating a similar enzyme through microorganism. What a mind-blow, so maybe if this research becomes scalable, we will not have a plastic problem anymore within 10 years from now, can you imagine?
His work up till now shows how successful student projects can turn out into actual projects and sell. His 2014 project Well Proven Stool is even more interesting, since the recipe for the project happend accidental. That’s why experimentation, keeping failure and not working to clean can be so interesting. It is also a nice showcase of process driven design.