What is the essence of your project?
The Bio City Map Map is a forecast of the world population distribution in the next 100 years, it shows the world as One City of 11 billion people. The shape of the map was originally titled the "Dymaxion Map" and was created by Buckminster Fuller in 1943 and is a 20 sided triangular surface (Icosahedron) that can be folded into a solid. This unfolded map projection shows the Earths Continents as one continuous land mass. Using thermoformed styrene as a method for physical modeling, we are visualizing population density in the next 100 years on one face of the map with varying heights and peaks.
On the back face of the "Dymaxion Map" we focus on 25 specific cities (Tokyo, Lagos, Mumbai, ect.) that have the highest population density over the next 100 years and view them through the lens of Petri dishes that contain genetically modified Ecoli Bacteria. We use Bio Parametric modeling to determine population growth. The dishes have two colors of genetically modified Ecoli bacteria, yellow and red. The yellow represents existing population and the red projected population. Each dish is scaled to 50 miles and we mapped the Ecoli bacteria to different percentages of density. The relationship between projected population density in cells compared to people is factored by 1000-10,000 depending on the urban region.
This means we assigned each petri dish a scale (such as 50 mile radius) and compared the density of cell colony counts (dilution method) to existing/ projected human population in that given urban region. We used a high resolution computer stencil cutting machine to form the urban boundaries and limit where cells would be allowed to grow. The bacteria are bioluminescent under the UV LED lights at about 300 nanometers.
How does your project contribute to the goal of ‘working with biology in creative and respectful ways,’ as curator William Myers puts it?
We have been working with synthetic biology to represent the possibilities of its expression relative to interdisciplinary fields. In this case, we speculate on a future of explosive population growth. By the year 2110, 75% of the world will live in cities, 33% in slums, demand for food production increases by the decade and supply diminishes by 2% every 10 years. As we negotiate these fears of failed polices, wars, shortages, epidemics and uncertain futures, we look to new iterative and generative models like bacteria to simulate population patterns and human migration to provide a true parametric model of human behavior.
Do you have a suggestion for how the expertise of artists and designers could be linked with that of science?
Build your own tools. We are an interdisciplinary groups and as the projects change the tools change. Process based knowledge coupled with craft based making is one way we are learning design science. In our studios, we make our own tools. Mainly because they do not exist and we need to build our own. Working with artists, biologists, architects, planners, urban designers and many others groups in the design field no single tool will suffice. It is just as much fun building the machine as much as using it.
What is your favourite new project in the biodesign field at the moment and why?
The anticipation of species. Reprogramming stem cells and tissue engineering creatures to better fit their potential changing environment and habitat. What would typically take 1000 years could take place in several months with astonishing change. This current Art anthology is visually stunning.
What is the next step in your own project?
Building a Submarine. Our offices are in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During the Second World War warships were built here and we are situated next to a functioning Dry Dock. The East River of NYC has living networks and contaminates favorable for the design of synthetic membranes and deployable structures.