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Exhibition: Biodesign : From Inspiration to Integration

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Woods Gerry Gallery, Providence: August 25 through September 27, 2018

All images credit: Georgia Rhodes



Curators: William Myers, Lucia Monge, David Kim, Julia van den Hout, Neal Overstrom, and Peter Rogers

Graphic designer: Angela Torchio, Production lead: RISD Co-Works

Special thanks to Paul Soulellis and Anna Marks

Biodesign: From Inspiration to Integration was organized as part of RISD Nature Lab’s 80th anniversary celebrations.

Exhibition design and installation by Mark Moscone, Gunnar Norquist, and Kevin Hughes.

Thanks to Dora Mugerwa, Betsy Ruppa, Ben Gagliaridi, Jen Bissonnette, and Georgia Rhodes in the Nature Lab Team.

Thanks to Stephen Cooke of RISD Digital + Media, RISD Campus Exhibitions and the RISD Alumni Office.

This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous contributions of RISD Co-Works
and sponsors Ginkgo Bioworks and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

This exhibition presents works of contemporary art and design that help us to reform our relationship with nature, moving it from a destructive to a more integrated, mutually beneficial model. These projects illuminate emerging practices in biodesign, an approach that involves partnering with biological systems to improve the ecological performance of the built environment, and bioart, which creatively reflects on our shifting definitions of life, nature, and identity. A central feature of many of these works is their high regard for the non-human species with which they are made possible, casting them as collaborators rather than mere materials, machines, or tools.  


The Nature Lab at RISD is the ideal instigator of such an exhibition, as it has fostered the development of new creative practices through a deeper understanding of the underlying patterns, forms, and structures inherent in the living world for 80 years. It is such knowledge building, combined with empathy and inventiveness that is at the root of these ambitious projects. Together, they embody a kind of radical optimism and esteem for nature’s enduring mysteries like that expressed by Henry David Thoreau, in Walking from 1862: “Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.”

Click here for more information and programming from RISD Nature Lab.

Download Exhibition Catalogue

 BIODESIGN : Nature + Science + Creativity  

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