Cells and Seams: A Discussion on Biotechnology and Fashion

September 12, 2015 At 117 Beekman Street, Manhattan, NY

Moderated by lecturer and designer, Joshua Katcher, this discussion will focus on research and developments in biotechnology and fashion. The diverse roster of panelists will exemplify textile, garment and jewelry designs employing concepts like biomateriaility, sustainability and ethics in fashion production. How is biofabrication currently being explored and reimagined through experiential applications on the body and clothing?

Panelists: Stefani Bardin, Annelie Koller, Ayodamola Okunseinde and Ali Shachtschneider

Joshua Katcher is a fashion instructor at Parsons The New School for Design, the top design school in the country. He is currently writing his first book, Fashion & Animals, and has lectured on that topic at Princeton, The American University of Paris, Parsons, Brown, UPenn, and FIT among others. Katcher started the first men’s ethical lifestyle website, The Discerning Brute in 2008, focusing on “fashion, food and etiquette for the ethically handsome man,” and launched the Brave GentleMan label and eCommerce platform in 2010, spearheading the first vegan, ethically-made menswear fashion brand that utilizes organic, recycled and hi-tech materials he refers to as future-leather, future-wool and future-silk. Katcher is currently nominated as Vegan Brand of the Year in the 2015 Fashion Net Awards, is named 2014 Man Of The Year by COCO ECO Magazine, a “modern day hero in the making” by The Wild Magazine, and both an “ethical style icon” and one of the top 10 male bloggers by Veg News Magazine. He is a contributor toHuffington Post and LAIKA Magazine, has appeared on the cover of Vegan Good Life Magazine, and has been interviewed on major networks like Al Jazeera as an expert in the field of vegan fashion.  Learn more about him by visiting his websites: TheDiscerningBrute.com & BraveGentleMan.com

Stefani Bardin explores the influences of corporate culture and industrial food production on our food system and the environment. She works with neuroscientists, biologists, engineers and gastroenterologists to ground her research in the scientific world. These investigations take the form of single and multi-channel videos, immersive and interactive installations and tools for measuring and/or mediating these influences. She recently completed a residency at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU where she continues to teach classes in Food + Technology + Science + Design.  She also teaches in Food Studies at the New School and in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons.

Annelie Koller is an architect, artist and design researcher from South Africa, currently living in Brooklyn. Through the lens of biology, material technology and computation, her experimental and research-driven work seeks to develop a new language of design for a posthuman community. She completed her M.Architecture at the University of Pretoria, and MFA in Design and Technology at Parsons School of Design. She’s currently a member at Genspace researching biology as a model for 3D printing, including growing biopolymers from mycelium and algae, and considering computational biotechnology as new methods of fabrication. She is also currently a design researcher at the biotech startup, Modern Meadow, and is assisting in the organization of the Biofabricate 2015 conference in New York City.

Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde is an artist and interactive designer living and working in New York. He studied Visual Arts and Philosophy at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey where he earned his B.A. His works range from painting and speculative design to physically interactive works and explorations of Afrofuturism. Okunseinde was the co-founder and creative director of Dissident Display Studios, an award winning multimedia studio and art gallery based in Washington DC. As a staple of the Washington DC arts community, Okunseinde made influential contributions to projects and organizations such as The Washington Projects for the Arts, Pink Line Project, and Banished Productions. As a collaborator with, amongst others, choreographer Maida Withers, Carmen Wong, and Yoko K., Okunseinde created several interactive performance based works and has performed in several countries including Mexico, Finland, and Croatia. Okunseinde holds an MFA in Design and Technology from The New School, Parsons School of Design in New York where he is currently an adjunct faculty member.

Ali Schachtschneider is an artist and design researcher working with biology, fashion, and materiality as tools to extend the body, exploring its interaction with the things which surround it, and experiment with a future where body, material and object are blurred. She uses hands on research and speculation to develop alternative living styles. Her work has been exhibited at Columbia University, Biofabricate’s Pop-up Lab, PLAGUEspace Floating Galleries and Parsons the New School for Design. She’s received multiple awards from the Royal Society of Arts U.S. and been featured in various online publications. Currently an artist at Genspace NYC she grows materials and assists with Arts and Culture programming and development, including the Pop-Up Lab at Biofabricate 2014 and Genspace’ event at the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival 2015. www.alischachtschneider.com