Winners Bio Art & Design Award 2016

The bio artists Lilian van Daal and Roos Meerman, Cecilia Jonsson and Pei-Ying Lin were announced on 20 May 2016 as the winners of the Bio Art & Design Award 2016 (BAD Award).

Lilian van Daal & Roos Meerman (NL) ‘Dynamorphosis - The beauty of inner mechanisms’
A collaboration with: Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences – University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Jury: this project explores the potential of design applications, in objects and materials, based in the form generating mechanisms of the body. The jury found this topic had a particularly strong connection in both linking biological processes to 4D printing, and in advancing the expertise the designers have clearly been developing for some time in their previous work.

In addition, the jury was impressed with the possibility of practical outcomes emerging from this project, revealing and reveling in the hidden beauties of the body, guided by relevant scientific expertise. The designers seem to take the confident and admirable approach of being biological actors that shape technology, rather than the other way around. The jury hopes that in the hands of such designers, the break-neck pace of innovation will be more inflected by empathy rooted in appreciation of the beauty of inner mechanisms, from fractal like blood vessel networks to the cyclical tumescence of mammary glands.

Cecilia Jonsson (Norway) ‘Heam’
A collaboration with: The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), Amsterdam

Jury: Cecilia Jonsson relied on a highly original, metaphorical concept working with blood and the iron within it to form a wayfinding object. The jury appreciated the mix of using an otherwise discarded resource, placentas, to help produce a narrative about facing a maze of difficulties and choices in life. The relation to the placenta as stage for the meeting of two different but intimately linked beings, a mother & child, also resonated, as did the project’s implied connections with the history of mining and alchemy. Finally, atop these layers of meaning was an obvious investment in thinking about the practical realization of the work already done, from extracting iron from the organs and also obtaining them through the cooperation of midwives.

Pei-Ying Lin (Taiwan) ‘Tame is to Tame’
A collaboration with: Viroscience lab, Erasmus University Medical Center (EMC)

This project made a compelling re-framing of how we think of viruses, pushing it to evolve from the warfare like characterization of ‘kill at any cost’ to a more domestication and collaborative model. The jury thought it links well to urgent topics of our time, particularly the worrying emergence of opposition to vaccines as well as the rise of antibacterial resistant microbes. The jury was also impressed by the metaphor of a dance, a performative intertwining of beings, between the human and the virus, that changes over time as evolution works like a DJ, shaping the interaction.

The jury noted that Pei-Ying was applying here a second time to the BAD award, demonstrating a commitment and enthusiasm undeterred by earlier rejection. The jury also concluded that this project made the difficult achievement of balancing the fantastical with the potentially useful, in terms of public health goals, by way of a fictional narrative that is at turns didactic and poetic.