Repository of Studiolab projects and activities from Design Interactions Research at the Royal College of Art, London. We are exploring the implications of Synthetic Biology for society through projects, proposals and scenarios, using design as a tool to trigger the imagination and start conversations.
Recent advances in Synthetic Biology are making the design of new life forms an increasingly real possibility. Driven by an engineering approach to biology, the future scientist/designer is envisioned as an architect of life, creating blueprints for living systems and organisms from a library of standardised, and replicable parts.
However, life differs in many ways from the industrial paradigm we feel comfortable with. Evolution, mutation and symbiosis are amongst the processes which make living organisms unstable, random and highly influenced by the context they are in. We have been tinkering with these forces for centuries, for example in the long history of selective breeding in agriculture, but their detailed inner workings remain largely unknown to us.
Additionally, once science gets out of the lab and into the world it becomes part of complex systems such as economics and politics as well as irrational human beliefs, dreams, and fears, with surprising and unpredictable outcomes.
The contrast between the cartesian drive to engineer life and the uncertain world in which we actually live is what we aim to probe through scenarios, prototypes and material experiments, using design as critical and engaging tool for debate.
Read more and view projects on our website