Playing Life

design with living materials

Living matter is rapidly emerging as a design medium. Biotechnology has already made it possible to grow a hamburger, artificial living things and glow-in-the-dark plants in laboratories. In a series of three Playing Life exhibitions, artists and designers are presenting possibilities that provide many new approaches to working with living material. Evenings of lectures and demonstrations are held around the exhibitions. Workshops for youth and professionals are available throughout this period. The series opened Sept. 25, 2015, at Transnatural gallery and also visited the Dutch Design week in Eindhoven in October 2015.

exhibitions - workshops - talks & demos

Playing Life

26-09-2015 / 19-03-2016

Technology has unraveled DNA allowing humans to manipulate and produce organisms with very different functions; For example, it is possible to grow beef muscle tissue in laboratories so that consumer meat in the future could come from the lab. The Next Nature institute presents Bistro in Vitro, a speculative restaurant of the future where lab-grown meat is part of the menu. As a first at Dutch Design week, visitors can taste cultured meat ice cream flavors in the Bistro in Vitro ice cream truck. Designer Agatha Haines speculates about bio-printed organs that can defibrillate the human heart when it signals fibrillation (a heart attack).

Interest in living materials is not just focused on manipulation through DNA, which can only be done in advanced biolabs. Outside the labs, there is much experimentation with new creation or processing methods of living material. Certain bacteria and fungi together are capable of cleaning highly contaminated soil or mold alone can produce ink. Fish skin makes up a large proportion of residual waste from fishing. When processed according to an ancient tanning technique, it appears to possess the same properties as cow or pig leather. The possibility of scaling it up to an industrial product is already real.

Playing Life also showed American artist Ted Lawson and the project Ghost in the machine, a large CNC print made using his blood as ink. In the creation process, the artist was connected to the CNC plotter through an IV that served as a supply.

This and other projects outlined the fascinating world of Playing Life.

Circumventive organs / Agatha Haines (UK), Bistro in Vitro / Next Nature (NL), Ghost in the Machine / Ted Lawson (US), Posterus textilus / Tamara Hoogeweegen (NL), Re-Sea-Me / Nienke Hoogvliet (NL), 
Fungi fest / Tessa Kuipers (NL), Playful Self / Alex Rothera & James Krahe (USA) One Luminous dot / Teresa van Dongen (NL), Algae Graphs / Lia Giraud (FR), Peter Gentenaar (NL), Christiaan Lieverse (NL)

Date: Sept. 26 - Apr. 15, 2015
Address: Lijnbaansgracht 148a, Amsterdam

Dutch Design Week
Date: Oct. 17 - 25, 2015
Address: Veemgebouw STRP-S, Torenallee 80, Eindhoven

Playing Life Night - talks & demos -
Date: December 11, 2015 and March 19, 2016
Location: Dijkspark 6, Amsterdam

Supported by
Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, VSBfonds, Hybrid House Fonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds

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