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Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration

August 25 @ 8:00 am - September 27 @ 5:00 pm

The Nature Lab at RISD is pleased to announce Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration, an exhibition curated in collaboration with William Myers that marks the culmination of Nature Lab’s 80th anniversary celebrations. The exhibition runs from Aug 25—Sept 27 and showcases recent examples of design and art that inform our complex relationship with nature and help us decipher how it may evolve in the future.

Major themes of the exhibition will be collaboration and co-creativity, presenting the best practices for working with living materials and with experts across fields. It will aim to inspire, surprise and inform the public, especially in light of the urgent need to make design less destructive to our shared environment.

The exhibition of approximately 20 projects will be accompanied by programming including: workshops on building with mushrooms; biotextiles; microscopic silkworm poetry as well as lectures on biodesign, coral reef restoration, the future of food, and more.

To launch the exhibition Nature Lab will be hosting a half-day symposium that brings together international artists, designers, scientists and educators for talks, discussions and presentations on topics such as valuing non-human forms of life as collaborators, artistic and scientific modes of inquiry, and ethical considerations in bioart and biodesign practices.

The opening of the exhibition also marks the release of the 2018 edition of Biodesign: Nature + Science + Creativity (MoMA).

Half-Day Symposium + Opening Reception
August 24
Woods-Gerry Gallery
Rhode Island School of Design

The exhibition features the following works

Hy-Fi and Bio-processing Software—David Benjamin / The Living
Mycelium architecture, made in collaboration with Ecovative and 3M.

Zoa—Natalia Krasnodebska / Modern Meadow
Leather grown using yeasts that secrete collagen, and grown completely without animal derivatives.

The Built Environment Microbiome, Jessica Green / BioBE Center
The BioBE conducts research into the built environment microbiome, mapping the indoor microbiome, with an eye towards pro-biotic architecture.

Zea Mays / Cultivar Series—Uli Westphal
Newly commissioned corn study, this project highlights maize’s evolution through interaction with humans.

Harvest / Interwoven—Diana Scherer
Artist coaxes root systems plant root systems into patterns.

Fifty Sisters & Morphogenesis—Jon McCormack
Artist algorithmically generates images that mimic evolutionary growth, but tweaks them to include aesthetics of the logos of global petroleum producing corporations.

Organ on a Chip—Wyss Institute
Wyss Institute creates microchips that recapitulate the functions of living human organs, offering a potential alternative to animal testing.

AgroDerivatives: Permutations on Generative Citizenship—Mae-Ling Lokko
This project proposes labor, production criteria and circulation of capital within agrowaste/bioadhesive upcycling ecosystems.

New Experiments in Mycelium—Ecovative
Ecovative makes prototypes of mycelium items such as insulation, soundproofing tiles, surfboards, lampshades.

Bistro in Vitro—Next Nature Network
Performance with speculative future foods samples. The installation will include video screens and a cookbook on a table display.

Raw Earth Construction—Miguel Ferreira Mendes
This project highlights an ancient technique that uses soil, focusing on how soil is living.

Burial Globes: Rat Models—Kathy High
This project presents glass globes that hold the ashes of the five HLA-B27 transgenic rats, each one named and remembered: Echo, Flowers, Tara, Matilda, Star.

To Flavour Our Tears—Center for Genomic Gastronomy
Set up as an experimental restaurant, this project places humans back into the foodchain — investigating the human body as a food source for other species.

Blood Related—Basse Stittgen
A series of compressed blood objects—inspired by Hemacite objects made from blood/sawdust compressed in a process invented in the late 19th century—highlights bloodwaste in the slaughterhouse industry.

Silk Poems—Jen Bervin
A poem made from a six-character chain represents the DNA structure of silk, it refers to the silkworm’s con-structure of a cocoon, and addresses the ability of silk to be used as a bio sensor, implanted under people’s skin.

Zoe: A Living Sea Sculpture—Colleen Flanigan
Zoe is an underwater structure, part of coral restoration research, that regenerates corals in areas highly impacted by hurricanes, human activity and pollution.

Aquatic Life Forms—Mikhail Mansion
Computationally animated lifeform works change and evolve based on live data from environments they represent.

Algae Powered Digital Clock—Fabienne Felder
By turning electrons produced during photosynthesis and bacterial digestion into electricity, algae will be used to power a small digital clock.

A Place for Plastics—Megan Valanidas
This designer presents a new process of making bioplastics that are bio-based, biodegradable AND compostable

Data Veins & Flesh Voxels—Ani Liu
This project explores how technology influences our notion of being human from different points of view, with a focus on exploring the relationship between our bodies as matter and as data.

Pink Chicken Project—Studio (Non)human (Non)sense/ Leo Fidjeland & Linnea Våglund
By changing the color of chickens to pink, this project rejects the current violence inflicted upon the non-human world and poses questions of the impact and power of synthetic biology.

Click here to visit RISD Nature Lab.

About Rhode Island School of Design
Known as the leading college of art and design in the US, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is ranked #1 in Business Insider’s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools. Approximately 2,450 students from around the world are enrolled in full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 majors. Students value RISD’s accomplished faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on approach to studio-based learning. Required courses in the liberal arts enrich the studio experience, equipping graduates to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Through their creative thinking and problem solving in a broad range of fields, RISD’s 26,000 alumni exemplify the vital role artists and designers play in fueling global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit risd.edu and our.risd.edu.

About Nature Lab
Founded in 1937 by RISD graduate and long-time faculty member Edna Lawrence, the Nature Labprovides students and faculty with an engaging space for exploring the forms, patterns and processes in nature as well as an understanding of our place within the living world. The Lab is a forum, sustained by resources and expertise that inspires countless art and design projects throughout RISD. With more than 80,000 preserved natural science specimens, microscopy and micro-imaging systems unparalleled in an art and design school, as well as aquatic systems and lab equipment for maintaining and studying a variety of living and non-living specimens, the Nature Lab is a unique environment for investigating the myriad connections between art, design and science.