Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Event 1 - Pinar Yoldas' Guest Lecture

Pacific Trash Vortex
Attending this guest lecture was the first instance I was able to understand what a profound impact art and science can have in tandem. Yoldas spoke of her work into ecosystem creation, and the research into environmental conservation, artistic design, and bioengineering of organisms and systems that could reside in a habitat as inhospitable as the Pacific Trash Vortex.

Yoldas' project delved into this new anthropocenic status our world and biosphere is residing in, and how our waste has created a new ecosystem in our deep oceans which Yoldas calls the "Plastosphere" (Yoldas, 4/5/16 Lecture). She took note of the devastation this waste was causing to the natural wildlife, and took it upon herself to act. So she came up with an idea to introduce a new set of species to inhabit this ecosystem and utilize this trash. The long-term benefit would be a constant inhabitance of the various plastics trapped in the Pacific Ocean, and possibly even breaking down the trash until the introduced organisms are no longer needed. She didn't stop at just an idea, and went on to speak of her viable bioengineered organs that assimilate with plastic digesting bacterium and microbials, and how these organisms could reduce the impact of plastic waste on Earth.

Yoldas' bioengineered organs
Bird from the Plastic Vortex region that had
consumed so much plastic that its stomach
couldn't fit real food, therefore the animal
starved to death (from Yoldas' Lecture)

Next, Yoldas spoke of her despise for cage-fed chicken coops and elaborated on the horrendous conditions in which these chickens are kept for the entirety of their pitiful lives. She took it upon herself, once again, to come up with a solution to this atrociousness. After tons of research and development, she came up with the "Fool's Foal" (Yoldas, 4/5/16 Lecture). This work of living art and science is a living organism that was bioengineered with the necessary functioning organs to produce edible eggs, similar to a chicken, on a timely fashion. This type of science made me think that she's "playing God" and exercising her creative mind. But in actuality, she was accomplishing her solution to a terrible societal problem that most people had swept under the rug.

Cage fed chicken coops cramped conditions
Fool's Fowl design (from Yoldas' Lecture)
Fool's Fowl design - "zoomed" (from Yoldas' Lecture)

This type of science was mind blowing to me. It sounded like she was trying to play "God" at first, but the more I listened, it sounded more like an artist coming up with a very atypical solution to a problem. I love the not-so-straightforward creative aspect that is involved in wanting to make a stomach for plastics or a living egg factory. Something about the ingenuity and scientific application really makes me appreciate science and art so much more. Seeing the various applications of bio-art makes me want to get in on all the fun and I look forward to learning about more insightful ventures this quarter. 
sheet from Yoldas' lecture.
Aka extra proof I was actually there.


 "Meet Your Meat: Eggs." Powered By Produce. 23 Mar. 10. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. 

 Tang, Calvin. "The North Pacific Trash Vortex." CalvinTang. 28 Nov. 2006. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

 Yoldas, Pinar. "Pinar Yoldas: An Ecosystem of Excess | 2000m²." 2000m. Agricultural and Rural Convention, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. 

 Yoldas, Pinar. "Pinar Yoldas." Pinar Yoldas. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. 

 Yoldas, Pinar. "Speculative Biology", UCLA Lecture. 05 Apr. 2016

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