Design goes feral

UNSW will present wild and untamed design ideas that aim to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems as part of Sydney Design Week.

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George Khut demonstrating embodied interaction with art at ISEA 2013, Sydney. Photo: James P. Brown

Can wild and untamed design ideas help tackle pressing global problems like bushfires, energy conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage?

Feral Experimental, exhibited at UNSW Galleries, brings together designers, artists and researchers to discuss strategies to counter global obstacles.

The exhibition includes public lectures by Bill Gaver from Goldsmiths, University of London, and Geoff MacKellar from bioinformatics company Emotiv, San Francisco, and a 3-day program of free symposiums and workshops highlighting the real-world applications and impacts of design.

“The exhibition shows the convergence of design thinking with the environmental impacts of design, new technologies, and human desires and interaction,” says Feral Experimental’s curator and National Institute of Experimental Art (NIEA) academic Dr Katherine Moline.

The Machine To Be Another provides visitors with the experience of inhabiting another persons body via a 3D headset and An Empathic Adventure is a project devoted to increasing mobility and quality of life for older people.

“Design has gone feral. Like a dingo searching for holes in a fence or a domesticated animal gone wild,” Moline says. “Feral Experimental shows that the influence and impact of design is now so extensive it has infiltrated every facet of life.”

The exhibition includes Veloscape a bike that measures and documents stress levels generated from the body via electrodes, potentially identifying accident hot spots. The accompanying workshop will provide experienced cyclists with the opportunity to explore the devices capabilities.

Participants in the Digital Bamboo workshop will create lights from bamboo, rattan timber and electronics using 3D printing and laser cutting.  The workshop will help Tasikmalayan bamboo artisans in Indonesia as part of the Digital Bamboo Studio Research Project funded by UNSW International’s Contestable Funding Scheme. UNSW Art and Design academics Rod Bamford and Karina Clarke will host the workshop.

Dr John McGhee, director of UNSW’s new 3D Visualisation Aesthetic  Lab at NIEA will conduct a workshop on visualizing MRI data to help vascular disease patients better understand their condition.

UNSW Art and Design academics George Poonkhin Khut and Jeffrey Tzu Kwan Valino Koh will explore the creative possibilities of embodied interaction in art and design by using proximity, heart rate and brain wave sensors.

Prominent design thinker, Cameron Tonkinwise from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh will host a discussion panel.

Find the full program on the Sydney Design Week website.

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8732, 0429 416 070

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George Khut demonstrating embodied interaction with art at ISEA 2013, Sydney. Photo: James P. Brown