SPCS | Species A community exploring biological design

This series of programs explores designs and forms of expression that collaborate with nature by actively confronting its uncontrollable factors through prototyping. Each season, we will invite a variety of lecturers to co-develop programs that mix natural sciences, design, art, engineering, culture, and other disciplines.

Upcoming Events

In recent years, we have experienced the explosion of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, which made us keenly aware of the difficulty of confronting an invisible opponent. On the other hand, we have also witnessed a microbiome and fermentation research boom, which reaffirms the fascination we feel towards microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and molds, that are familiar beings to us as much as profoundly unknown creatures. 

We have also been developing new creations by observing and actively engaging with nature. A recent example is the Amphibious Architecture floating pier in New York, built by taking advantage of the natural opening and closing of purple oysters, which can measure water pollution better than any modern sensor. another one is the Silk Pavilion created by US-based Oxman research laboraty, which uses the genetic input of silkworms.

In recent years, as manifested in terms such as post-human-centered design and the multispecies studies, the idea of viewing the world from the perspective of the relationship between humans and non-human life and the environment has gained increasing traction. In order to design human activities as a part of nature, co-creation with nature is likely to become a crucial point.

For those who are not involved in the natural sciences on a regular basis, words like “biotechnology,” “virus,” or “radiation,” might sound unfamiliar and belonging to “the experts’ field”. However, life science technology has long since reached a stage where the general public can put it into practice.For example, reading the human genome cost 300 billion yen 30 years ago, but it now costs less than 100,000 yen. Radiation and viruses are no longer subjects of study to be tackled only by specialists, but something that we citizens can face on an individual basis and incorporate into our respective activities.

Much of what surrounds us is invisible. The purpose of SPCS is to explore gateways to a non-anthropocentric design practice by actively working with invisible organisms and natural phenomena through prototyping with the tools of science.

Inspiration 1|
Pier 35 EcoPark, a project by The Living, a New York-based design firm organized by David Benjamin that focuses on the architectural application of biological systems and building materials. By utilizing the properties of purple mussels, the project contributed to the visualization of water quality and the research and regeneration of riparian ecosystems.


Inspiration 2|
Katsunobu Yoshida, whose design work incorporates positive error into his production methods. He is engaged in “Foraged Colors,” a project that involves collecting, designing, and ultra-special printing. He aims to create printing inks from collected materials and install them in modern printing machines. (At this stage, the project has reached the letterpress stage). Furthermore, Yoshida collaborated with a welfare office to produce a booklet (1,000 copies) with hand-drawn cover. The key to future creations will be how to favorably interpret the uncontrollable conditions of industrial technology, such as how to enjoy shoveling snow in areas with heavy snowfalls.

  • With a different instructor and theme each season, students will explore the relationship between nature and humans, as well as non-anthropocentric design approaches through prototyping.
  • The duration of each season will be of 1~3 months, and the session frequency will vary depending on the theme.
  • As a place to practice design with nature, we will always deal with themes related to natural science.
  • Those interested in exploring human relationships with nature and the environment in creative ways.
  • Architects and makers who are designing the relationship between nature and humans.
  • Designers and creators who want to gain new inspiration from natural phenomena and develop new methods of expression.
  • 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 research and gather scientific information.

Outline

Name

This series of programs explores designs and forms of expression that collaborate with nature by actively confronting its uncontrollable factors through prototyping. Each season, we will invite a variety of lecturers to co-develop programs that mix natural sciences, design, art, engineering, culture, and other disciplines.

Mission

SPCS | Species A community exploring biological design

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