Knotty Objects

Wednesday — Thursday
July 15, 2015 —
July 16, 2015

Day One | ICA Boston

Opening Remarks | Joi Ito

Introduction | Paola Antonelli, Neri Oxman, and Kevin Slavin

Lecture | Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby

MIT Media Lab Award | Dunne and Raby

Day Two | Media Lab

Introduction | Paola Antonelli, Neri Oxman, and Kevin Slavin

Shortie | The Brick
Ayah Bdeir and David Benjamin

The New Metabolism
David Benjamin, George Church, Neri Oxman, Hashim Sarkis, and Nicola Twilley (moderator)

Architects and designers have for decades pursued the notion of, and the possibility that products, buildings and cities can come to life. This session will focus on "metabolism"–its meaning and its many interpretations in the digital and biological age. It will question the term and its productive translations in the design of the built environment, across scales and applications. More details about this session.

Shortie | The Steak
Daisy Ginsberg and Koert van Mensvoort

New Dimensions in Organic Design
Isha Datar, Kevin Esvelt, Alexandra Midal (moderator), and Daisy Ginsberg

Over centuries of evolution through slow manipulation of living beings—from plants to animals—and by virtue of technological advancements in the natural sciences and synthetic biology, humans have managed to control, accelerate, and even hack growth and development. This session will focus on the possibilities and pitfalls of designing entities made of cultured cells. More details about this session.

Shortie | The Phone
bunnie huang, and Kevin Slavin

Manufactured Objects
Revital Cohen, Anab Jain, Tanya Menendez, and Rob Walker (moderator)

Between makers and manufacturers, the spectrum of economic, social, political, and aesthetic issues connected with contemporary manufacturing grows wider every day as we develop new human needs, desires and behaviors. These shape—and are shaped by—the objects produced in factories, garages, and desktops worldwide. More details about this session.

Shortie | The Bitcoin
Joi Ito

Design and Complexity
Allan Chochinov (moderator), Scott E. Page, and Fernanda Viégas

From tatting to coral formation, complexity is commensurate with all things both natural and cultural. Expressed through design fabrication, data visualization, architectural practice, or urban formations, this session will unfold the term, its productive interpretations, and its relevance to design at large. More details about this session.

Debate: On Critical Design
Ahmed Ansari, Gabriella Gomez-Mont (moderator), and Jamer Hunt

The term Critical Design was first introduced by Tony Dunne & Fiona Raby at the turn of the millennium, to outline a new area in design focused on the potential impact and consequences of new technologies and policies, and the global social and environmental trends inside which they are embedded. This new area of inquiry has brought together various disciplines and mediums of expression, enabling designers to move from solving problems to framing new ones, while asking new questions in the process.

Critical Design also outlines new goals and areas of interest for designers, a process that does not immediately lead to useful objects but rather to consideration and reconsideration. It asserts value in the role of helping others to predict, prevent, and direct future outcomes.

The practice has thus often come under fire from those who assert that design must engage in real world real-time “problem-solving,” and address real issues in realistic ways. In this spirit, the debate will focus on this pointed motion: Design must fill current human needs before imagining new futures.

Closing Remarks
Paola Antonelli, Neri Oxman, and Kevin Slavin

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