New material exhibition

Auteur
Pieter van Boheemen

Two Open Wetlab biomaterials in the New Material exhibition

Last Thursday the New Material exhibition opened in the New Institute in Rotterdam that includes two projects that were realized in the Open Wetlab.

Over the past few years the Open Wetlab has become the meeting point of Dutch cultural and creative biologists. Especially young talents from art and design studies are increasingly using the facility. Even industrial design students at universities that actually have their own bio faculties take advantage of the easier access to the Open Wetlab.

Also Willem de Kooning Academy student Nina van den Broek and HKU alumnus Ingrid Nijhoff came to the Waag to work on their projects in our lab. Quickly they learned that their initially speculative designs, such as growing ivory or bacterial pigments, could actually be realized.

Ingrid’s project “Levende Pixels” is based on her own material research into the composition of ink. After she determined that many components are heavy pollutants, she started to investigate more sustainable alternatives. In the Open Wetlab she found our collection of natural pigment producing bacteria. Next, Ingrid experimented on scaling up the production, extracting and printing the colorful bacterial pigments.

The project “Ivorish” of Nina van den Broek is centered around her research into the use of ivory. Her goal was to find alternative sources for this precious biomaterial, for example by growing ivory in bioreactors. It turned out that regenerative dental scientists are actually already working on this on micro scale, but Nina wanted to work on more tangible objects. Instead of bioreactors she accomplished a method to work with the ivory out of human teeth.

Accompanied by a new group of InterFaculty students that are enrolled in our “Live Art, Living Art” class I went to the opening ceremony of the New Material exhibition. Out of 81 submission, only 20 were selected by the jury. We are incredibly proud that Nina van den Broek and Ingrid Nijhoff are among those!

About the author

  • Pieter is a hacker, artist, engineer, researcher and teacher driving forward Free & Open Source Technologies as a catalyzer for social innovation.