Workshop

[Kyoto/Barcelona] Design and Experiment with Parasite-driven Behavioral Change

SPCS Season 5 "Killing Me Softly"

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Inspired by parasitized “zombie ants,” bioartist Ana Laura Cantera created a parasite-driven robot that reframes our relationship with the natural world. In this workshop series, join us in mapping out Cantera’s approach and prototyping your own parasite-driven device with Sony’s smart device DIY kit, MESH.

Sessions will be held simultaneously in Kyoto and Barcelona. Alongside people with a fresh take on nature, take part in this unique thought experiment that inverts the relationship between humans and nature.

* The primary application for this event will close on April 25th. If you are considering participating in this event, please sign up by then.

Sun, May 12, 2024  UTC+02:00

13:00 – 15:00

Sun, May 26, 2024  UTC+02:00

13:00 – 15:00

Sat, June 8, 2024  UTC+02:00

10:00 – 12:00

Sat, June 22, 2024  UTC+02:00

12:00 – 14:00

Sat, July 6, 2024  UTC+02:00

12:00 – 14:00

FabCafe Barcelona | View on Google Map

20

30,000 yen covers all five sessions and supplies / 5 students and 3 past SPCS workshop attendees will receive a 50% discount.

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Join

The primary application for this event will close on April 25th. If you are considering participating in this event, please sign up by then.

With industrialization, (we thought) we controlled nature. Now, humanity has disrupted the ecosystem’s balance, and we have even put ourselves in harm’s way. Although we all recognize the urgent need to change our behavior, such radical change is challenging. Therefore, we want to prototype a device that encourages an immediate and unconscious behavior change as if parasitized. By dynamically overturning the existing relationship between humans and nature, we will search for new experiences and ways of being.

This workshop also aims to cultivate a more acute perception of the natural world. In this day and age when the importance of biodiversity and nature are on everyone’s lips, shouldn’t we learn how to collect, analyze, and utilize ecological data? We hope to dig deep with participants from a wide range of backgrounds in this workshop series.

Our guest lecturer for this series is Argentina-based bioartist Ana Laura Cantera. Inspired by zombie ants*, she collaborated with Demian Ferrari to create Invisible Cartographies, comprising a human-made robot whose movements are controlled by a separate entity—a mushroom. In our work, we will retrace the steps Cantera took in conceptualizing Invisible Cartographies, then use it as a base to create our own prototypes controlled by other organisms.

* “Zombie ants” are ants infected by the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus, so called because the ants, unable to control their bodies, climb trees to spread spores.

Invisible Cartographies(Ana Laura Cantera)

 

From nature positivity to conservation, from living in harmony with nature to circular economy and impact investing—there are various movements around the globe concerning the natural world. However, though they may use similar terminology, differences in the underlying values and assumptions can lead to misunderstandings and arguments.

We believe that by collaborating across continents, between two places with different views of nature, we can glean valuable insights on the world and ourselves. To that end, this workshop will be held in both Kyoto and Barcelona. Join us in exploring the myriad relationships we can create with other living things.

  • David teaches workshops on digital fabrication, IoT, and recycling materials. He teaches not just at FabCafe, but also at the University of Barcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and Elizabeth Design School.

To assist in prototyping ideas throughout this workshop, we will give each participant one smart trigger for Sony’s smart device platform, MESH.

MESH™

MESH makes it easy to create your own smart device with input and output functions and modular smart triggers. It is made of three components: MESH triggers, small block-shaped sensors that communicate wirelessly; the MESH app, which allows users to visually program their gadget; and software blocks, a feature within the app that enables advanced logic and greater interconnectivity. Because of its simple approach to programming and ease of use, MESH is popular as an educational tool.

>>More about MESH

MESH is a tool consisting of an application and blocks, allowing even those who do not know programming languages to create prototypes.

MESH is also used as an educational tool in many schools.

Day 1 will feature a short talk by Dr. Takuya Sato, an associate professor at Kyoto University’s Center for Ecological Research. Dr. Sato researches the relationships among parasitic horsehair worms, their host insects, and the river ecosystems in which they live. His paper Nematomorph parasites drive energy flow through a riparian ecosystem is the first research project to illuminate the power that often-overlooked parasites have in driving energy circulation that connects disparate forest and river ecosystems (source: Kyoto University’s press release on the paper; Japanese only).

We hope that Dr. Sato’s talk will help participants engage with this program with a perspective that goes beyond the parasite-host relationship to encompass the broader ecosystem.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Takuya Sato

12 May 2024 (Sun)
– 20:00-22:00 @Kyoto (JST)
– 13:00-15:00 @Barcelona (CEST)

Program

  • Introduction
  • Presentation 1|Ana Laura Cantera (Bioartist)
    • Artist overview, background and design of Invisible cartographies
  • Presentation 2|Dr. Takuya Sato (Ecologist)
    • Ecological systems for parasitism
  • Presentation 3|Takehiro Hagiwara (Sony MESH Division Manager)
    • Introduction to MESH (functions and examples)
    • Fundamentals of prototyping

Homework

  • Think of your own zombie ant device
    • Parasitizing organism (the organism or environmental change that triggers action)
    • Host to the parasite (object, man-made device, or behavior that is controlled)
    • Triggering environmental change (data to be sensed and used as input)
    • Desired physical change (output)
    • What you can sense and what you can actually make
    • Background and reasoning for your idea

26 May 2024 (Sun)
– 20:00-22:00 @Kyoto (JST)
– 13:00-15:00 @Barcelona (CEST)

Program

  • Presentation of ideas and feedback

Homework

  • Revise ideas
  • Plan prototype

8 June 2024 (Sat)
– 17:00-19:00 @Kyoto (JST)
– 10:00-12:00 @Barcelona (CEST)

Program

  • Lecture on MESH
  • Practice
  • Programming your idea
  • Sharing and feedback
  • Mixer

Homework

  • Revise prototype plans
  • Prototype ideas

22 June 2024 (Sat)
– 19:00-21:00 @FabCafe Kyoto (JST)
– 12:00-14:00 @FabCafe Barcelona (CEST)

Program

  • Share prototypes and progress

Homework

  • Finishing up prototypes

6 July 2024 (Sat)
– 19:00-21:00(Venue open at 17:00) @FabCafe Kyoto (JST)
– 12:00-14:00(Venue open at 10:00) @FabCafe Barcelona (CEST)
* FabCafe Kyoto and FabCafe Barcelona will open two hours prior to the event so that participants can come early to prepare for their presentations.

Program

  • Final presentations
  • Mixer
  • Designers and planners searching for new value systems surrounding circular societies, biodiversity from Japanese culture and industry.
  • Those interested in exploring human relationships with nature and the environment in creative ways.
  • Artists and researchers who want to create and research more into our relationship with plants, insects and microbes.
  • Urban planners or landscape architects looking to explore ways of working with plants; designers, architects and developers interested in biophilia design
  • Planning and R&D professionals in companies working on circular design.
  • Those who are interested in biology and biological design, and want to learn how to explore and collect primary information.
  • Be excited to learn independently about programming and electronics
    • We will give out warm-up tasks aimed at beginners, so please download the MESH app before the technical session on Day 3.
  • Be able to meet the minimum software requirements to use MESH (iOS/iPadOS or Android smartphone or tablet; tablet recommended)
  • This program involves programming/engineering. While high level proficiency is not required, we do ask that participants be willing to learn programming and electronics independently. In addition, we are accepting applications for teams; those lacking required skills may consider joining a team with members who are good at planning and implementation.
  • This program will mainly be conducted in English, but automatic Japanese translation tools and consecutive interpretation may be provided as needed.
  • Photos of participants and the event may be uploaded to the FabCafe Kyoto or Loftwork.com website at a later date.
  • We reserve the right to change this program with no prior notice.
  • Communication for this program is carried out on Discord. (No installation beforehand is required)
  • Day 1: Sunday, 12 May 2024 (Online)
  • Day 2: Sunday, 26 May 2024 (Online)
  • Day 3: Saturday, 8 June 2024 (Offline in Kyoto/Barcelona)
  • Day 4: Saturday, 22 June 2024 (Online)
  • Day 5: Saturday, 6 July 2024 (Offline in Kyoto/Barcelona)

20

  • 10 people in Japan, 10 people in Spain
  • Team participation permitted (up to 3 people per team)

30,000 yen
* covers all five sessions and supplies
* 5 students and 3 past SPCS workshop attendees will receive a 50% discount.

  • Days 1, 2, 4: Online
  • Days 3, 5: FabCafe Kyoto (554 Hon Shiogama-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto), FabCafe Barcelona (C/ Victoria, 1, 08003 Barcelona)

FabCafe Kyoto and Loftwork, Inc.

Guests

  • Ana Laura Cantera

    Bioelectronic artist, researcher and professor at UNTREF University

    Bioelectronic artist, researcher and professor. She has a Master degree in Electronic Arts at Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), a Bachelor degree in Visual Arts at Universidad de las Artes (UNA) and a degree as Art Teacher at UNA. In her artistic productions she works with the concepts of natures, territories and horizontal entanglements with non-human organisms. She has founded Mycocrea –mycelium lab, where she works with grown designs and other biomaterials. Recently, she received the Global Community Bio Fellows fellowship at MIT, the ELAP Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (Concordia University-Montreal) and the First Prize Itaú Artes Visuales in Robotic Arts category.

    Bioelectronic artist, researcher and professor. She has a Master degree in Electronic Arts at Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), a Bachelor degree in Visual Arts at Universidad de las Artes (UNA) and a degree as Art Teacher at UNA. In her artistic productions she works with the concepts of natures, territories and horizontal entanglements with non-human organisms. She has founded Mycocrea –mycelium lab, where she works with grown designs and other biomaterials. Recently, she received the Global Community Bio Fellows fellowship at MIT, the ELAP Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (Concordia University-Montreal) and the First Prize Itaú Artes Visuales in Robotic Arts category.

  • Takuya Sato

    The Center for Ecological Research Kyoto University, Associate Professor

    Born in Osaka in 1979. Currently an Associate Professor at the Center for Ecological Research at Kyoto University, studying salmonid biology, forest-stream ecosystems, and host-parasite interactions, with particular interests into host manipulation by horsehair worms.

    Graduated in 2002 from the Fisheries Department within the Faculty of Agriculture, Kinki University, and in 2007 from the Graduate School of Bioresources, Mie University. He has since worked at the KYOUSEI Science Center for Life and Nature of Nara Women’s University; as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Field Science Education Center, Kyoto University; as an Assistant Professor at the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University; as a Visiting Professor of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, Canada; and as an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Science, Kobe University; before being appointed to his current position in October 2021. He has received awards such as the 18th Denzaburo Miyadi Award from the Ecological Society of Japan, the Shidei Tsunahide Memorial Prize from Kansai Organization for Nature Conservation, Encouragement Prize of Sasakawa Scientific Research Grant for outstanding research activities from the Japan Science Society, and the Shinshu Field Science Award from Shishu University, among others.

    Born in Osaka in 1979. Currently an Associate Professor at the Center for Ecological Research at Kyoto University, studying salmonid biology, forest-stream ecosystems, and host-parasite interactions, with particular interests into host manipulation by horsehair worms.

    Graduated in 2002 from the Fisheries Department within the Faculty of Agriculture, Kinki University, and in 2007 from the Graduate School of Bioresources, Mie University. He has since worked at the KYOUSEI Science Center for Life and Nature of Nara Women’s University; as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Field Science Education Center, Kyoto University; as an Assistant Professor at the Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University; as a Visiting Professor of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, Canada; and as an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Science, Kobe University; before being appointed to his current position in October 2021. He has received awards such as the 18th Denzaburo Miyadi Award from the Ecological Society of Japan, the Shidei Tsunahide Memorial Prize from Kansai Organization for Nature Conservation, Encouragement Prize of Sasakawa Scientific Research Grant for outstanding research activities from the Japan Science Society, and the Shinshu Field Science Award from Shishu University, among others.

  • Takehiro Hagiwara

    Senior Manager, MESH Business Office, Sony Marketing Inc.

    Since joining Sony, Takehiro has been engaged in network service planning and development as well as research and development of intelligent information processing systems like machine learning. From 2011 to 2012, he was a visiting researcher at Stanford University, working within their Human-Computer Interaction Group. In 2012, he started the project that would become MESH, which was commercialized in 2015. MESH is currently being used in elementary school programming education, higher education such as universities, and training programs for working adults throughout Japan. MESH has received awards like the Good Design Future Design Award, the Kids Design Excellence Award.

    Since joining Sony, Takehiro has been engaged in network service planning and development as well as research and development of intelligent information processing systems like machine learning. From 2011 to 2012, he was a visiting researcher at Stanford University, working within their Human-Computer Interaction Group. In 2012, he started the project that would become MESH, which was commercialized in 2015. MESH is currently being used in elementary school programming education, higher education such as universities, and training programs for working adults throughout Japan. MESH has received awards like the Good Design Future Design Award, the Kids Design Excellence Award.

  • Karen Murata

    Product Planner, MESH Business Office, Sony Marketing Inc.

    As an undergraduate member of a haptics lab, Karen researched tactility within VR/AR spaces, with a focus in digital representations of soft objects. After graduate school, Karen joined Sony Corporation, where she is in charge of developing interaction technology using stereoscopic sound technology along with novel UX proposals and development. In 2024, she joined the MESH team and is currently exploring the next generation of MESH. Her experience studying abroad in Mexico as a student gave her an interest in bridging the gender gap in the IT field.

    As an undergraduate member of a haptics lab, Karen researched tactility within VR/AR spaces, with a focus in digital representations of soft objects. After graduate school, Karen joined Sony Corporation, where she is in charge of developing interaction technology using stereoscopic sound technology along with novel UX proposals and development. In 2024, she joined the MESH team and is currently exploring the next generation of MESH. Her experience studying abroad in Mexico as a student gave her an interest in bridging the gender gap in the IT field.

Planning & Administration

  • Nami Urano

    Loftwork Inc. / FabCafe Kyoto Marketing Div.

    After graduating from university, Nami began her work at the creative company, Loftwork, where she was in charge of planning and managing business events and community management. At this time, her focus was on encouraging industry and university collaboration, specifically between Japanese companies and international universities. In 2018, Nami moved to Loftwork in Kyoto where she is in charge of PR, marketing, and recruitment. In 2020, Nami was involved in the launch and management of FabCafe Kyoto’s project-in-residency program, COUNTER POINT. From 2022, Nami launched SPCS (“Species”), a community that explores the uncontrollability of nature. Nami is interested in creating chaos in place, taking inspiration from her personal experiences of living in Folkehøjskole, Denmark, experiencing a kibbutz in Israel, and the fermentation club activities she co-hosted with chef Momoyo Morimoto.

    After graduating from university, Nami began her work at the creative company, Loftwork, where she was in charge of planning and managing business events and community management. At this time, her focus was on encouraging industry and university collaboration, specifically between Japanese companies and international universities. In 2018, Nami moved to Loftwork in Kyoto where she is in charge of PR, marketing, and recruitment. In 2020, Nami was involved in the launch and management of FabCafe Kyoto’s project-in-residency program, COUNTER POINT. From 2022, Nami launched SPCS (“Species”), a community that explores the uncontrollability of nature. Nami is interested in creating chaos in place, taking inspiration from her personal experiences of living in Folkehøjskole, Denmark, experiencing a kibbutz in Israel, and the fermentation club activities she co-hosted with chef Momoyo Morimoto.

  • David Tena Vicente

    FabCafe Barcelona CEO

    David Tena Vicente is the CEO of FabCafe Barcelona. David graduated from the University of Barcelona with his degree in physics which has provided an extensive knowledge of mathematics, electronics and the practical application of mechanics. Projects at FabCafe Barcelona are viewed analytically, adapting and altering when necessary due to complex and unexpected situations. These skills are combined to provide training to universities and businesses and also guide David his management of the resources and ongoing projects at FabCafe Barcelona. 

    David Tena Vicente is the CEO of FabCafe Barcelona. David graduated from the University of Barcelona with his degree in physics which has provided an extensive knowledge of mathematics, electronics and the practical application of mechanics. Projects at FabCafe Barcelona are viewed analytically, adapting and altering when necessary due to complex and unexpected situations. These skills are combined to provide training to universities and businesses and also guide David his management of the resources and ongoing projects at FabCafe Barcelona. 

  • Naoya Tsuchida

    Technical Director, Loftwork Inc. Technical Group

    After graduating from university, Naoya worked as an embedded software engineer, developing smartphone integrations for next-generation in-vehicle systems software platforms. At Loftwork, he leads product and service development projects using his technical expertise, and he has created various prototypes. He values not only project management but also giving shape to ideas while working with his own hands. Outside of Loftwork, Naoya manages a product development team based on the philosophy of calm technology. With the motto of “Try first,” he pursues the joy of creating things on a daily basis.

    After graduating from university, Naoya worked as an embedded software engineer, developing smartphone integrations for next-generation in-vehicle systems software platforms. At Loftwork, he leads product and service development projects using his technical expertise, and he has created various prototypes. He values not only project management but also giving shape to ideas while working with his own hands. Outside of Loftwork, Naoya manages a product development team based on the philosophy of calm technology. With the motto of “Try first,” he pursues the joy of creating things on a daily basis.

  • Gina Goosby

    Creative Director, Loftwork Inc.

    Born and raised in the United States. Graduated from Swarthmore College with a major in Japanese and a minor in computer science. During undergraduate, studied abroad at Doshisha University in Kyoto and conducted research on the local Zainichi Korean community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they co-founded the New Suns book subscription box, aiming to promote literature and art by LGBTQ+ people and creators of color. As a creative director with Loftwork’s UYN unit, Gina takes part in projects that revitalize local economies around Japan and connect them to the world. In their free time, they make handcrafted webpages and enjoy the Web slowly.

    Born and raised in the United States. Graduated from Swarthmore College with a major in Japanese and a minor in computer science. During undergraduate, studied abroad at Doshisha University in Kyoto and conducted research on the local Zainichi Korean community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they co-founded the New Suns book subscription box, aiming to promote literature and art by LGBTQ+ people and creators of color. As a creative director with Loftwork’s UYN unit, Gina takes part in projects that revitalize local economies around Japan and connect them to the world. In their free time, they make handcrafted webpages and enjoy the Web slowly.

  • Kosuke Kinoshita

    Brand Manager, FabCafe Kyoto

    After graduating from Kyoto Prefectural University’s Department of Social Welfare and Sociology, he worked as a manager of neutron cafe and neutron tokyo art gallery, and as a planner at the now-closed Ikejiri Institute of Design before joining Loftwork in 2015. He participates in the unit MTRL, which supports co-creation and innovation with manufacturing companies with a focus on materials. He was also involved in the launch of FabCafe Kyoto, a community hub where creators, researchers, companies, and other diverse people gather around the concepts of technology and creation. Through workshop management, panel moderation, and exhibition planning and production, Kinoshita aims to “create a place where ‘chemical reactions’ occur” and “design a context that connects things from different fields.” In 2023, he became a part-time lecturer at Kyoto Seika University’s Faculty of Media Expression.

    After graduating from Kyoto Prefectural University’s Department of Social Welfare and Sociology, he worked as a manager of neutron cafe and neutron tokyo art gallery, and as a planner at the now-closed Ikejiri Institute of Design before joining Loftwork in 2015. He participates in the unit MTRL, which supports co-creation and innovation with manufacturing companies with a focus on materials. He was also involved in the launch of FabCafe Kyoto, a community hub where creators, researchers, companies, and other diverse people gather around the concepts of technology and creation. Through workshop management, panel moderation, and exhibition planning and production, Kinoshita aims to “create a place where ‘chemical reactions’ occur” and “design a context that connects things from different fields.” In 2023, he became a part-time lecturer at Kyoto Seika University’s Faculty of Media Expression.

Sponsor

Information

Date & Time

Sun, May 12, 2024 13:00 – 15:00 UTC+02:00
Sun, May 26, 2024 13:00 – 15:00 UTC+02:00
Sat, June 8, 2024 10:00 – 12:00 UTC+02:00
Sat, June 22, 2024 12:00 – 14:00 UTC+02:00
Sat, July 6, 2024 12:00 – 14:00 UTC+02:00

Venue

FabCafe Barcelona
C/ de la Victòria, 1, Ciutat Vella, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
View on Google Map

Fee

30,000 yen covers all five sessions and supplies / 5 students and 3 past SPCS workshop attendees will receive a 50% discount.

Capacity

20

Organizers & Sponsors

Organizers: SPCS, FabCafe Barcelona
Partners: Sony Marketing Inc. MESH Division

Join

The primary application for this event will close on April 25th. If you are considering participating in this event, please sign up by then.

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