Visiting artist to offer workshop, dialogue on microbial design March 19-20

February 23, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) will host interdisciplinary artist Orkan Telhan, associate professor of fine arts, emerging design practices, at the University of Pennsylvania, for a workshop and dialogue on March 19 and 20.

The workshop, "Microbial Design Studio: Dough as Parametric, Computational, and Biochemical Material," will take place at the ADRI, located in 16 Borland Building, from 2 to 5 p.m. on Monday, March 19. Telhan will introduce basic concepts of microbial design and explain how designers can work with living organisms to create new forms of materials combining their skills from parametric and computational design. Registration is required for the workshop, as space is limited. To register, visit

Telhan also will offer a dialogue titled "New Mediums of Life" from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, at the ADRI. In this talk, he will discuss a series of design experiments that interrogate life sciences at different levels, from the biosynthesis of endangered molecules to microbial prosthetics, and alternative design tools that network algorithms, organisms and people.

Telhan’s research focuses on bridging theories of design and computation with artificial life and synthetic biology research. His work investigates the epistemic origins of making and manipulating life with a focus on the artistic, cultural and ethical implications of living, semi-living and life-like artifacts.

As interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher, Telhan’s investigations focus on the design of interrogative objects, interfaces and media, engaging with critical issues in social, cultural and environmental responsibility.

Telhan holds a doctorate in design and computation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Department of Architecture. He was part of the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Laboratory and the Mobile Experience Lab at the MIT Design Laboratory. He studied media arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo and theories of media and representation, visual studies and graphic design at Bilkent University, Ankara.

Telhan's individual and collaborative work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Istanbul Biennial (2013), Istanbul Design Biennial (2012, 2016), Vienna Design Week, the Armory Show 2015 Special Projects, Ars Electronica (2007, 2017), ISEA, LABoral, Archilab, Architectural Association, the Architectural League of New York, MIT Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. He is a co-founder of Biorealize and

The Arts and Design Research Incubator provides support for high-impact arts and design research projects. All programs are free and open to the public and, unless otherwise noted, take place in the ADRI (16 Borland Building).

For more information and to view the full listing of dialogues, workshops and events, visit and connect with the Penn State ADRI on Facebook.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 23, 2018