I guess the most poisonous thing to the earth is plastic. That is an indisputable fact that everyone sees, but the elephant in the room is that no one can stop using this material. This is so convenient that even now, I am typing using the keyboard made from plastic. People just cannot live the everyday life anymore without this gift from both god and demon.
“We are both responsible for, and victims of, our own pollution,” –Jae Rhim Lee
My initial career aspirations involved becoming a nuclear engineer to help solve the energy crisis and create a more sustainable form of living. This came from appreciating wildlife and nature from early childhood. My family and I would go camping multiple times throughout the year and I learned to appreciate nature for what it was; untouched and untamed. I related a lot to Maru’s interest in plants and raising awareness on the harm humans are creating in the environment.
During the last lecture, I enjoyed listening to the different projects that Prof Vesna, Maru and other DESMA students shared. I particularly enjoyed the projects that were oriented around scents! I believe that one of the students proposed an idea of extracting scents from objects that were culturally significant to her. That got me thinking about the role of smell as well as other senses when we view different forms of art. Which reminded me of the exhibit Stories of Almost Everyone that is currently on display at the Hammer Museum.
As I watched, Jae Rhim Lee’s Ted talk last week on her infinity mushroom burial suit, I was reminded of one of my favorite movie scenes from Disney’s The Lion King where Mufasa educates Simba about the circle of life.
In last Thursday lecture, we watched a talk given by Jae Rhim Lee about her mushroom burial suit. That is the strangest TED talk I’ve ever seen, but it is also the fascinating and impressive one by completely reshaping my prior knowledge and introducing me to the new biotechnology field. The suit she wears during the talk is called the “Infinity Suit”, which represents a union of nature and mankind, utilizes mushroom to decompose the toxins in our bodies after our death.
In this past week’s seminar class, Jae Rhim Lee’s ted talk left me baffled and amazed at the same time. I was skeptical and resistant to listening with an open mind due to my previous feelings on the subject of funerals, but the ingenuity of the science Lee put on display in her ted talk kept me interested. At first, my mind was preoccupied with one gaping hole in Lee’s presentation: the “infinity suit” doesn’t account for the toxins present in the fungi after consumption in the body.
Mind over body. Is it really? This week's discussion about consciousness, death, and the Hox Zodiac addressed the complexities of our body. Spoiler alert: it may be the predispositions and interactions of mind and body - rather than one over the other - that influence our health and well-being. To begin, I grew interested to learn more about Chelly Jin's (one of Prof Victoria Vesna's DESMA students) project to use EEG brain waves to communicate her dreams, passions, and thoughts.
In lecture this week, a fellow student proposed an idea for her scientific art project in which she wants to purify scent molecules from her culture. I have already done my best to consult her as best I could on the project, but here I will both attempt to give give instructional contributions to the project, while also contributing a critique of the art. I am including a link to another site I think will be helpful. http://www.nature-helps.com/agora/oilsinfo/english/homedistil-equipment.htm
When Professor Vesna revisited her anecdote about the Chinese Zodiac Sign potluck during last Thursday’s class, I was reminded of the importance of healthy eating. In today’s society, with the increasing prevalence of refined carbs and fatty foods, chronic diseases and obesity are at an epidemic high. An interesting approach to encourage healthy eating is to have auspicious food tailored toward one’s Chinese Zodiac sign.
During the beginning of lecture, the professor and visiting student (Maru) mentioned the vivarium. A vivarium is an enclosed space for life that is often surrounded by glass and allows containment of an environment inside one’s own home/space (Soper 2017). The vivarium is traditionally thought of as a tool for researchers, for the enclosure allows scientists to study plants, animals, and other organisms in a controlled and confined space.
Last week's class truly opened my eyes to the immense variety and diversity of artistic possibilities which are present in the realms of environmental, social, and scientific culture. Jae Rim Lee's TEDx talk was particularly intriguing for me, because her project presented an entirely new way of combining art with innovation while using it to enact meaningful social and environmental change.
One of the most striking moments that I had during this week’s lecture was when we discussed about Noise Aquarium. I’ve heard of waste and chemical pollution in the ocean, influencing and threatening the life of marine organisms and their ecosystem. But I was never really introduced to noise pollution in the ocean before. When we watched the video of proposed VR version of Noise Aquarium, I felt like the audience would be able to feel as if they are part of the ocean ecosystem as they are surrounded by the 3D images of enlarged planktons.
I previously thought cremation was the most environmentally friendly option for taking care of dead bodies, however artist JR Lee’s 2011 TED Talk “My Mushroom Burial Suit” made me rethink this notion. I, like many others, did not think about what happened to the toxins released from our bodies when burned.
In class this week I was greatly inspired by Maru Garcia’s artwork on the diversity in corn. It was surprising to see the many different types of corn that exist, since we’re usually only exposed to a few which are commercially mass produced and easily grown. Her project displayed this variety, and in doing so brought attention to the current lack of biodiversity in the corn breed, and in nature in general.