How do we relate to unconventional artefacts? : designing with biological generative systems aimed at customization

PINTO, Raul, VIEIRA, Miguel, CARVALHAIS, Miguel and ATKINSON, Paul (2014). How do we relate to unconventional artefacts? : designing with biological generative systems aimed at customization. In: DESIGNA2014: Desire, Covilha, Portugal, 20-21 November 2014. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:


How do we relate to unconventional artifacts? Designing with biological generative systems aimed at customization. With the production of artifacts in biological genera- tive systems, or in biological systems with generative potential, where nature’s randomness and physiolog- ical aspects have an important role in the definition of form, we understand that artifacts do not only at- tend to the needs and desires of their users, but also have the capacity to foster emotional connections that arise from their nurturing and from the under- standing of their morphogenesis, from the proximity and time required for their growth. These artifacts will only develop into a final product if the system is understood and nourished by its user. The end result is singular and unique, with aesthetic qualities that arise from the understanding of the artifacts growth constraints and the bond that is cre- ated with it. The traditional quality canons of mass produced goods are challenged, seen that the result- ing artifacts will not get a final shape that is polished and free of imperfections, but one that is inconstant, gnarly and sinuous. Other aspects, as production time and the dedication that the system requires are motive to question the connections that will arise between users and these artifacts. We intend to contribute to the discussion about new production models that may be alternatives in spe- cific uses to mass production. With these systems we seek to catalyze greater empathy between objects and their users, to understand which aesthetic quali- ties emerge and how are their specific characteristics interpreted. Geometrically simple experimental models with ants, bees and mycelia (the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments), have been developed to better understand the conjectural elements of these systems. In these systems the ma- trix and the system are designed but the final results are reliant on the choices of those who manipulate them and by the variables of the biological actuators. We intend to make our findings available, allowing others to replicate our experiments in order to obtain a broader scoop of reactions on the interaction with the systems and the perceived quality of the final artifacts. To better understand how individuals respond to this typology of objects, small series of artifacts in an embryonic stage, made with Eryngii mushroom in oak shavings are being developed to be distributed; each user will be asked to nurture his artifact into a final object, where all options will be of his/her choice, from the sunlight exposure to its growth interruption. Each user will be asked to register the daily evolu- tion of his/her artifact and to describe their feelings towards it.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Paul Atkinson
Date Deposited: 12 May 2015 09:19
Last Modified: 12 May 2015 09:19

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics