‘System Synthetics’ is a design-research project, developed in collaboration with the “Kluyver Centre for Industrial Fermentation” in the context of the “DA4GA” (Designers&Artists for genomics Award, 2011). The project was born as a reaction to the current attitudes of production and implementation of traditional synthetic/toxic materials, which many designers and companies, all around the world, keep adopting extensively.
Faced by the grand contradiction of implementing such dangerous materials for the development of new and often unnecessary goods, the designer switches his role, turning from creator of products to researcher; this, by looking for alternative ways and strategies to allow such immortal materials (plastics), re-enter the cycle of every existing thing, while providing energy as an outcome.
‘System Synthetics’ investigates the possibility of encouraging a new symbiosis between different fungal organisms, by combining their capacities, namely the property of degrading plastic and waste, with the one of producing alcohol and therefore bio-ethanol.
The act of directly working in the lab and conducting series of experiments and analyses on the resulting micro-worlds, allows the designer to better understand the behaviours of the unusual “living” material, while developing concepts and strategies to effectively communicate the results of such scientific experimentation, in an approachable manner.
Finally, the project resulted in an installation, comprising a self- designed, tailor-made glass apparatus, where the results of the experiments have been integrated, a process-film and models.
Within this framework, ‘System Synthetics’ comes as a statement to the design field, and represents an exploration into the possibility of collaborating with micro-organisms, within processes of deconstruction and cyclical trans-mutation.