Delve into the process
Neri Oxman’s Mediated Matter Group at MIT has designed an installation using melanin. The Totems sculpture is formed by injecting liquid melanin within a 3D-printed transparent structure, using different type and process generated melanin.
This data visualization is a synthesis of a synthetization process: in the legend you will find four icons that clarify how melanin is constituted by a group of pigments with a range of colors from yellow to dark brown, depending on its enzymatic reaction.
Central to Totems is the study of how melanin is created in nature, and how the process can be translated into a design tool.
05 – Source
Melanin, known as the “universal pigment”, is one of the substances which illustrates biodiversity at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels: it is one of the most resistant and pervasive pigments which novels life and evolution of life on earth.
Totems – Designed for the exhibition Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival, by the Mediated Matter Group (MIT) seeks to chemically synthesise and design the “pigment of life”, programming its interaction across scales and species.
The installation designed is a totem, a sacred object which embodies the symbol of Life through the melanin formation process.
The work combines digital production and design computation with chemical reaction dynamics through design systems of biological substances across scales (micro to macro) and phases (solids and liquids).
This research provides to investigates the relation between culture and nature, discussing how biology and natural history relate themselves in the age of synthetic biology.