Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

Ask Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg what led her to enter the Royal College of Art’s inaugural Design Interactions program after studying architecture at Cambridge and design at Harvard, and she explains: “It was never a planned diversion.” The same could be said of her engagement with science, in which Ginsberg has no formal training. Yet her work belies such modesty. It is incisive and provocative—bold, elegant, and empathetic. Ginsberg is forging tighter connections between design and science, exploring design approaches that visualize aesthetic and ethical futures enabled by biotechnology. Designing for the Sixth Extinction (2013–ongoing), for instance, investigates the impact synthetic biology could have on biodiversity and conservation. It imagines newly designed organisms intended to sustain and revive endangered ecosystems—a slug that neutralizes highly acidic soil, a porcupine-like device to collect and disperse seeds, a self-replicating biofilm that attaches to leaves and traps airborne pollutants. In her constructions, Ginsberg engages the tradition of a landscape painter. She presents patent diagrams for the fictional organisms, suggestive of intellectual property, engaging a narrative design approach to yield new knowledge about ethical issues.

Works associated with this person or group