renaturation @ SingaPlural 2019


04 March 2019, 9:00 AM — 30 June 2019, 12:00 AM



exhibited at SingaPlural 2019

Sinagpore Design Week // 4-17 March

1. the exhibition // renaturation

All things evolve to respond to contextual conditions in which they exist. All things will pass if they do not evolve. Animals, plants, technologies and cities are in a state of evolution at a naturally determined pace.

We are in an age where it is possible to edit the DNA from which all living things are created. Technologies like CRISPR facilitate the biological re-programming of living things. Evolutionary changes that once took a millennium can now be achieved through science and machines in a generation.

Just because we can, does it follow that we should? The consequences of creating unnatural phenomena through human assisted evolution are still largely unexplored. Designed innovation is not the same as designed evolution.

The renaturation exhibit discusses the ideas around evolution, taking inspiration from the process of cytokinesis – how cells are formed. renaturation is a dynamic piece which will evolve over the course of Singaplural 2019. It will grow, move and transform with the passage of time.

renaturation begins as a series of individual cells. As time passes renaturation evolves dynamically, through changes in shape, colour and finish, simulating what might take place in a laboratory experiment.

In the future it is foreseeable that the evolution of a species could take place through crowdsourcing. renaturation invites visitors to the exhibit to interact and contribute to its organic evolution. What happens when the masses have the opportunity to participate in the evolution of an organism?

1.1 receptor protein + cell structures

The dome-shaped model is constructed from two key elements - the receptor protein (the triangular shape) and the cell (the toroid shape). These elements are constructed from inflated balloons encased in a fine Lycra stretch fabric. These organic shapes are assembled to form the dome structure.

1.2 ligand receptor binding

SingapluralSimilar to the first step of a journey, a complex signaling pathway inside of a cell begins with a single key event - the binding of a signaling molecule (ligand) to its receiving molecule (receptor).

This lock and key principle process, known as Ligand Receptor Binding has a cascade effect on surrounding elements inside the cell, causing changes throughout the cell allowing receptors to attach to specific sequences of DNA.

Khan Academy 2019 'Ligands & Receptors', accessed 11th February 2019

2. the process

2.1 sketches of the inflatable structure

Front Sketch

Image 1 - Front elevation of exhibition. Sketch by Dan McLean

Plan View

Image 3 - Plan View of exhibition. Sketch by Dan McLean

Side Sketch

Image 2 - Side elevation of exhibition. Sketch by Dan McLean

Section view

Image 4 - Section View of exhibition. Sketch by Dan McLean

2.2 prototypes

2.3 prototype one

Constructed from Cotton-Lycra fabric, balloons, LED lights. Experimenting with illustrations and contour lines on the fabric.
Exploring the idea of inflating and deflating the balloons to create a ‘breathing’ ‘growing’ structure.

Prototype 1

Prototype 1

Prototype 1

Prototype 1

Prototype 1


2.4 prototype two

1:5 scale model of half the structure, constructed from Polyester-Lycra fabric, ping pong balls, LED lights. Experimenting with the shape of the structure and scale.

Prototype 2

Prototype 2

Prototype 2

Prototype 2

Prototype 2

Prototype 2

2.5 prototype three

CAD/Virtual Reality Model
1:1 scale model generated in SolidWorks. This prototype experiments with the formation of the elements and the scale of the balloons and structure. This computer model was dropped into a VR program so the sense of scale, shape and design of the exhibit could be better understood.

Prototype 3

Prototype 3

Prototype 3

Prototype 3

Prototype 3


3. submit your ideas

be a part of renaturation and submit your photographs, artwork, videos, or animations to be projected onto the installation.


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