The complex relationship between humans and the ‘natural’ world around them conjures many opposing associations - intimate and separated, independent yet co-dependent. Nature is seen as something to care for, fear, conquer, admire, and control. It is our inherently inconsistent understanding of nature that has allowed for our fractured relationship with the planet.

In many ways, this contradictory understanding between human and nature is similarly reflected in our understanding of art and science. The two are portrayed as the expressive against the systematic, the emotional opposed to the logical, the right versus the left brain. However, synthetic biology provides an exciting opportunity where science, art, engineering, and design can intersect and collaborate. Biodesign breaks down the walls that traditionally separated these fields, allowing for more cooperative relationships and an ecological future.

Designing with Life aims to dissect assumptions surrounding biology and design, ultimately reconsidering how the two can work as one. If a more nuanced definition of biology can be established - more than just ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bacteria, but the multifaceted, sophisticated, and rich network that it is - we could create a more symbiotic and empathetic relationship with our planet and non-human cohabitants.