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Design and Science

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Design and Science investigates overlap between design and science through projects that merge design and science through biodesign, present "pictures" of data about natural systems, or connect design and science through 2-D and 3-D "thinking" models.  In biodesign, living organisms are incorporated into design projects; biological systems may also be configured as a constituent of deisgn.  Data from nature is often a source for design.  Data manifestation is scientific data manifested as objects and environments.  Finally, visual "thinking" models are not just an aid to scientific data, they are designs that can reveal natural or physical processes.

Along with the exhibition, EMU will host a round-table discussion with exhibition participants Audrey Speyer, Diana Nicholas, and Jason Ferguson, to be led by University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design professor Deepa Butoliya and EMU biology professor Brian Connolly. There is also co-programming with Science Gallery Lab Detroit (SGLD) on September 12 (detroit.sciencegallery.com/events), in which exhibition participant Audrey Speyer will present her mycoremediation project PuriFungi. Mycoremediation is a bioremediation in which fungi-based technology is used to decontaminate the environment.


The Design and Science exhibition is accompanied by a robust series of public programming, including an Artist Roundtable the evening of the opening reception and a lecture on data manifestation by Karin von Umpteda on October 3, 2019.

The curator for Design and Science, Leslie Atzmon, teaches at EMU; she is a designer, design historian, and design critic. Atzmon also co-curated Open Book: An International Survey of Experimental Books, and was awarded an NEA grant to run experimental book workshops and produce The Open Book Project book with colleague Ryan Molloy. She did a Fulbright fellowship in London, UK in 2016 at Central Saint Martins on the topic of Darwin and design thinking. She recently co-edited the anthology The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury 2019), and is editing the book Design and Science (Bloomsbury 2020), which is related to the Design and Science exhibition. Atzmon and Molloy were also awarded a Sappi Ideas that Matter Grant (2017)—supporting design for non-profits—to rebrand Ypsilanti, MI’s Riverside Arts Center as a community arts hub.