Designing for the Sixth Extinction has been nominated for the prestigious Designs of the Year Awards by London's Design Museum. One of 76 nominations, Designs of the Year "celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year." Design experts, practitioners and academics from across the world are asked by the Design Museum to suggest potential projects, from which the museum has selected 76 for nomination and display in the exhibition. A specially selected jury chooses a winner for each category and an overall winner. This is the second time that my work has been nominated for Designs of the Year, with E. chromi featured in the 2011 exhibition. The work will be part of the Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum from March 25th 2015 to August.
Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator at MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design, writes: "What happens when biology—specifically, the core materials and processes that underpin the life cycle of all living beings—birth, existence, disease, and death—becomes synthetically replicable by humans and, consequently, a building block for design? In the wake of the recent MIT publication Synthetic Aesthetics, and just a few days prior to the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) Synthetic Biology 2014 Jamboree in early November 2014, we set out to discuss this complex, compelling question at MoMA by hosting a panel discussion, Synthetic Aesthetics: New Frontiers in Contemporary Design."
Led by Paola Antonelli, we were joined on the panel by architect and Synthetic Aesthetics resident, David Benjamin, Genspace co-founder Dan Gruskin, and DNA origami specialist, biochemist William Shih from Harvard's Wyss Institute. A lively question and answer session followed. Read Paola's post on the MoMA Inside Out blog, and a review of the event on Hyperallergic.
An expanded version of Designing for the Sixth Extinction is on display at the Second Istanbul Design Biennial until December 14 2014, curated by Zoe Ryan and Meredith Carruthers. Designing for the Sixth Extinction imagines a series of new machine that might repair toxic landscapes and forestall imminent ecological collapse. For the biennial, Ginsberg offers insights into the "ecology" of her own research for one of these machines, a "bio-remediating slug."
Last week I spoke at What Design Can Do, the design conference that explores new visions and roles for design. The Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker opened the conference calling for a new design persona: the ‘competent rebel.’ Bussemaker describes this designer as one who can change the way we look at things. As What Design Can Do writes, Bussemaker "wants to ensure the education of ‘competent rebels and specialists side by side. Our technical capabilities combined with our hopes and dreams.’"
I talked about merging of fictions and reality at the interface of design and synthetic biology. Here's my talk.
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Photograph: Gert Jan van Rooij.
Photograph: Gert Jan van Rooij.
Installation view. Photograph: Sahir Ugur Eren