Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Finding Parasites & Icon Magazine

Looking in the environment around me introduces lots of small objects or entities that attach themselves to things.

By collecting these images it helps find inspiration for finding contexts for my project.

Rus found this article in Icon magazine. The existing table has to be slightly adapted to accomodate the parasite drawers which is an idea which I haven't really looked at. I had come up with the idea of objects that attatch and materials which invade as seperate ideas. Combining both of these ideas is quite interesting.
I wonder what the table will look like with the parasite drawer removed? This is something I need to consider - Do I want my parasite to be permanent? If I were to create an object that needed to be screwed or slotted in (with a slot I or the user had created) it would be interesting to make the screw holes or slots functional or aestheticly pleasing, allowing the table to unaffected when the parasite is removed. But if the parasite is permanent this wouldn't matter which changes the outcome of the objects I design.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Opportunities for Parasitic environments

I'm trying to look at sites and situations in which a parasitic object could be used. I'm finding it a help to find the hosts and then think of the parasite. My ideas are very abstract and not very clear but the idea of the stair slide is quite nice visualy. Then looking at existing parasitic forms the plug which I could put forward into unusual designs of objects using a socket not necessarily for electricity. Then bizarre sofa storage which has been done a million times for nasty things like remote controls and magazines. I also thought about inclosing space on the sofa making it more of a den or experience. Finally an idea for a parasite which stops the cold tap from turning on too far I suppose saving water but this would probably just be an annoyance.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Parasitic Design - Idea Formulation

I'm trying to identify Parasitism types within design but focusing on 3D.

1. Objects which steal energy or a resource from a source/host.

2. Objects which change the form of an existing object.

3. Materials which invade other materials.

4. Objects which attatch themselves.

'Las Palmas Parasite’ by Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten.Dutch Architects who have created a prototype of a prefabricated building attached to the roof of an existing warehouse. The building exists using the water and heating power of the warehouse and can be attached in a short time scale. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing but solves a lot of problems from energy consumption and housing space. Its a very interesting opportunity for a parasitic relationship within Architecture.

Micheal Rakowitz, Parasite. The product is a compact homeless shelter. The mass of fabric is able to be carried around and then rolled out. A tube is attached to the exterior ventilation systems on existing buildings. The product fills up with warm air and provides a temporary warm and waterproof membrane for the person to sleep in. Taking advantage of heat which is usually wasted and also making a thought provoking statement about the lack of shelter for the homeless within the city.
This is an impressive opportunity for design using existing sources, imagine a parasite which exists on wind or condensation or some other free source. The idea of the inflatable is also an interesting one. The air we expel is proven to be able to intervene in a Parasitic relationship and inflatables themselves definitely seem an extremely successful form of parasite.


I have started to research the science of Parasites.
It is decribed as Parasitism and always found within the subject of Symbiosis when I researched it.

Symbiosis is when two organisms co-exist (where one organism benefits while the other is not affected).
Also there is Mutualism where both species benefit

A Parasite changes the Symbiosis by sometimes being predatory e.g flea on host, and one organism benefits and the other called the 'host' is harmed.

I then found a whole list of types of parasites which will be handy when i'm defining my projects.

Endoparasites - Parasites that live inside the body of the host.
Ectoparasites - Those that live on the outside of the body.
Parasitoids - are parasites that use another organism's tissue for their own nutritional benefit until the host dies from loss of needed tissues or nutrients.
Epiparasite - is a parasite that feeds on another parasite.
Biotrophic parasites - cannot survive in a dead host and so keep their hosts alive.

Interestingly there's also a term
'Social parasites' - taking advantage of social interactions.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Never thought of tape

I had been thinking of adhesive objects which could create a parasitic invasion, i'd been thinking of hooks and suckers etc but I think this creates such a visual impact as a material. It made me start to think about the entity thing I kept going on about ... a huge sticky parasite?.. but what would it do?


I researched for parasitic designs and through doing this I noticed different types of parasites.
Firstly I found an example of lazer cut marquetry by greenwich village going back to the idea of materials being parasitic.

The idea of something which changes the form of an existing object is really interesting to me the fabric changes the use of the chairs and creates something new without damaging it.

I find this product so inspiring for this project changing the use of this chair and making it something else and something so much more attractive that what it was.

Objects clinging to another or surrounding it, using ivy as the comparison again.

The stool is such a visual parasite on this chair I think I would need a good concept to do something similar to this though. The chair below it is a similar example when looking to it as a parasite it just reminds me of a backpack or clinging child.

And finally the idea of collections of parasites again... these patches stick together to create forms which the user creates. This is an example which gives me similar ideas to the parasite badges or objects on the wallpaper.

Velcro wallpaper

Done some pretty naff prototypes. The idea behind velcro wallpaper could be quite interesting, I made a few box shelves and thay stick suprisingly well. I imagine some intricate patterned wallpaper which would have a similar appearance to flocked wallpapers. This would be nicer if I can get hold of rolls of velcro material which I can cut patterns into rather than the annoying strips that are available.

The shelving was a quick option but objects that can be pulled off the wall and rearranged easily is a nice idea... need to think of what these objects would be. Think i'm blocking myself by imagining a front room when there are more rooms in the house with interesting objects in. Kitchens always have lots of hooks and hanging objects. Thinking about the bathroom with tiles that have different functions think their all sex aids or something, nice context.


I've identified a few areas of parasitic design and parasites in design. One of these concepts is a using a material as the parasite. This could be realised by boring or wasting material in the way in which wood louse burrows through wood leaving small tunnels and holes. It could also be realised by inserting a material into or onto another in a similar way in which ivy surrounds and infects the outside and inside of a trees trunk and branches.

A process which I have been really interested in is marquetry. The idea of experimenting using plastics rather than mother of pearl or wood could have interesting outcomes. I've experimented with perspex for a starting point before I test out various shades of wood. I have seen a few examples of this process around, its a really interesting media and could be a niche or process I could take forward into my final project if I do end up making furniture.

I seem to have an obsession with the lazer cutter and realised last year that marquetry could be created much more quickly and easily using it, although I will be experimenting with original techniques also. I slightly manipulated an image of a flea and cut the same shapes from birch ply and perspex. It's come out okay not sure on the colour it probably would be nicer with wood on wood, but it was a successful experiment and I know that lazer cut marquetry is possible now.

A quick idea was to use the birch offcuts as a collection of parasitic badges and a ridiculous amount worn at the same is quite an interesting idea.. well it looks pretty interesting, and saves on waste. Collections of objects could definately be something I should look at and could be used with different medias.Its made me think about things that hook to clothes or surfaces like walls.

The next step

Another post in the past tense. Ok.. first ideas on parasites. Kept noticing graffiti pastes in Brick Lane. Could I relate this to parasites? The idea of an object covering or taking over existing object (in this case walls) I wanted to start by getting the idea out of my head so pasted an image of a hook worm on the studio wall. Works as decoration and nothing much else.. nice process though.


I started with a project on Boundaries. I was exploring the relationships between a person and their personal boundaries. I looked at protecting personal space and the oposing idea of intergrating it. When looking at intergrating boundaries I thought about seating which forces people together, and squashes their personal space. I created ideas about applying pattern to particular spaces, the chairs and tables and objects in a room could be forced into an intricate pattern which overlapped space. I then thought about the pattern being applyed to all surfaces and it became an invasion of pattern. From this idea I moved on to the invading pattern become a physical thing, a set of objects or imposing entity and from this long chain of thought I came up with the concept of... PARASITES.