Experimental Designer Daisy Ginsberg: Where Biology Meets Design
On a quest to find new roles for design, Ginsberg develops experimental design approaches to help us imagine alternative ideals around technology. An artist, designer, and writer, Ginsberg views design as a means to explore our world and how we want it to be.
As design is progressively used in policy or in commercial practice to drive vision, there’s a need for a broader frame of knowledge and an interdisciplinary understanding. When asked about lessons Ginsberg has learned in design, she said, “Working across disciplines and fields, we assume that we share common languages or common goals, beyond our own specific disciplines. Working with biologists or social scientists or industry, we may think that we’re all working towards the same thing, often an ambition towards the common good. But what that common good actually constitutes may be very different. Finding ways to articulate that good, negotiate it and impact on it is the biggest challenge. I’ve found that design can be especially useful as a mediating discipline to communicate between lots of different agendas.”
Ginsberg talked about her book, Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (the outcome of an international research project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the UK’s EPSRC), which was a collaboration between 20 people from art, design, synthetic biology, and social science. The book introduces synthetic biology as an approach to design and genetic engineering with outcomes of residents’ projects. Each project showed a different angle to synthetic biology and illustrated how art and design can reveal new ways of thinking in and about science.
One track for design that inspires Ginsberg centers around challenging the status quo in order to help us change the way we think about things, make things, and how those things function in the world.