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LIVING ARTEFACTS – Simone van den Broek, Why do Humans Live with Other Living Things?

Increasingly, designers are exploring the ways in which living organisms can be incorporated into design. These novel living designs have qualities, needs and design opportunities that differ from those of traditional, non-living designs. In consequence, people will have different relationships with these new living things, and different reasons for using or living with them. To design for the use and integration of these new living things into daily life, it is important to first understand why humans have, historically, lived with other living beings. This presentation examines how and why people have co-existed with other living things, and how we can use this information to create new living designs.

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‘The ultimate goal is to provide people with the information, skills and tools that enable them to improve the quality of their daily lives.’

Simone van den Broek is a researcher within the Situated Art and Design research group, and a tutor for the Communication & Multimedia Design programme at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch. 

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‘The dynamic relationship between humans and living artefacts will continue to evolve reciprocally with mutual care.’

Elvin Karana is Research Professor of Biobased Art and Design at the Avans and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, leading the research group Materializing Futures at TU/Delft. 

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Research Group: Biobased Art and Design

The research group Biobased Art and Design capitalises on the role of artistic practice in unlocking the unique potentials of living organisms for everyday materials and communicating these to a broader public. In doing so, the group aims to instigate and accelerate our widespread understanding, further development and usage of such materials. The group’s research approach encourages tangible interactions with the living organisms, such as algae, fungi, plants and bacteria, to explore and understand their unique qualities and constraints through diverse technical and creative methods taking artists, designers and scientists as equal and active partners in the material creation.

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