Welding to CRISPR: Design Instruction Tools for Contemporary Art Practice

cited authors

  • Zeigler, Eric R; Carpenter, Brian E


  • Welding to CRISPR Design Instruction Tools for Contemporary Art Practice Tools are extensions of organisms, and therefore are entangled with the development of the human species. Humans began with simple levers and inclined planes, and through the Industrial Revolution, machinery was increasingly aesthetically designed, wherein individual parts were shrouded and access to a visual understanding obscured. To add to this shrouding of parts, recently there has been an implementation of complex coded languages, programs, systems, and invisible infrastructures to order the movements and components of twenty-first century tools. Consequently, it is difficult for students in art and design studies to engage the tools they encounter in both practical and creative capacities, even though they are positioned as the first end-users of state-of-the-art technologies. Students who are unable to utilize twenty-first century tools cannot develop reflective appreciation, not only as tool-users, but also for the connection between tool, hand, and mind. This session discusses an approach for cultivating such informed flexibility. Through instruction in courses we designed, Foundations of Art Studio Technology (FAST), and Biodesign, technology is demystified. Students are engaged in a philosophical understanding of tools and tool use, and ultimately we challenge those students to solve real world problems in interdisciplinary teams utilizing biomaterials and biotechnology in conjunction with traditional art and design tools. Students completing this curriculum possess abilities to understand and use tools not yet encountered. Students engage, master, even subvert, the ways in which tools organize them, and are prepared to employ these skills in the real world for conceptual and interdisciplinary artworks and design.

publication date

  • 2019