Starter Culture

Jake O’Hagan, Interdisciplinary Sculpture ’16
Emma Whitlock, Interdisciplinary Sculpture ’17
Gage Branda, Interdisciplinary Sculpture ’16
Sarah Whelton, Interdisciplinary Sculpture ’16


Project Overview

Artists and designers are driven to creation – from maker to material – this relationship flourishes when the hand, mind and tangible medium meet. starter culture is a tool for experimentation and learning, presented in the form of a ready-to-use kit. The aim of starter culture is to disperse the opportunity to research biomaterials. Inspired by the DIY community and open source learning, starter culture offers any citizen scientist the ability to create and design with non-toxic, biodegradable materials. Conceived by a group of artists researching silk, mycelium and bio-plastics this kit seeks to foster a hands-on approach to small scale production. starter culture shifts the traditional paradigm of material research from the economic vantage point to an ecological one. Through this more sustainable way of building, materials can be imagined in unison with their possible design applications. Directed exploration and experimentation is aided by a live network, propagating communication and sharing between makers. Acknowledging constant successes and failures invites the opportunity to reevaluate the good and the bad of any material. starter culture hopes to encourage those of all types of mindsets, to explore communally and creatively; to democratize ingenuity.

Project History

Starter Culture was presented at the 2016 Biodesign Summit at MoMA. The project was exhibited at Emerge 2017 at Arizona State University and acquired by the San Jose Tech Museum for inspiration in their Biotinkering Lab.

Learn More

MICA 2016 Biodeign Challenge