Designed Microbes

Designers are no longer just designers but also researchers. Designers, artists and scientists are working closer together and are both looking for new materials and possibilities. Biotechnology and micro-organisms form a major inspiration for multidisciplinary disciplines which also include designers and artists. My research is dedicated to this question: how valuable and influential can be designers in the complex area of biotechnology where they worked with micro-organisms?

To see how these disciplines relate to each other, what the possibilities are and to determine their value, I shall evaluate two different design processes. What is being designed at biodesign and bio art? What is the living material in the biotechnology and how can this be seen as design?

We can find intelligent life around us, invisible to the naked eye, in the form of micro-organisms. Micro organisms are unicellular organisms, most of the time considered as intelligent. They are very important to us and we can find them in our surroundings. Besides keeping us healthy they also provide oxygen and are responsible for our existence. Scientists treat microbes as tiny factories that produce all kinds of materials. To increase their capacity to produce specific, or even newly discovered materials, one have to modify the micro-organism itself.

Microorganisms are currently the main material used in biotechnology and therefore the most important piece. By all the developments in genetic and synthetic modification, DNA modification in bacteria and other organisms, we can say that the technique goes fast. Because of the quick development in the biotechnology is it now possible to use the so called “biobricks”. Biobricks are building blocks that you can use to design your own micro-organism. Besides this it is now fairly easy to modify DNA and construct your own designs. This modified or designed DNA can be placed in micro-organisms. You can say that the scientist is now crossing the path of a designer, and can be viewed as designers. In general science works on applications based on the environment and economic advancements, this comes up in my conclusion. The more creative aspect shows in the form of DIY biologists and competitions such as iGEM where artists and designers come together.

In consideration of bio-art is negotiated about the meaning of different viewpoints and how they relate to each other. The main thing is that they use a ‘form’ of genetics in their design. Bio-Design is a diverse explanation for multidisciplinary-disciplines. This includes art, architecture and engineering. Fantasy and speculation, innovation, materials, beauty and social translations are properties and also values.The perspectives and unexpected approaches that lead to innovative solutions and questions about the future. The form in which they design makes it all more accessible and comprehensible.

The rapid development allows endless new possibilities which are more and more accessible for designers to work with scientists. Both disciplines relate to the complexity of nature and let them explore new territories in which they try to find new possibilities and future scenarios. It is important for the designer and scientists to both talk in the same language, this is one of the hardest issues right now. Acting on rationality and emotion is important to reflect and ask questions in a changing technological and cultural context.

The question that remains in my mind is if 2075 is the future where designers could work in studios annex laboratories?