Founded by Dian-Jen Lin and Hannes Hulstaert, Post Carbon Lab is a transdisciplinary design research studio focusing on sustainability and dignity. As their service pilots incorporate pigment-producing bacteria and photosynthetic microorganisms, such as algae, these life forms became the entry point of the interactive lecture.
With an emphasis on sustainability and the ecological role of fashion, the presentation confronted the students with the purpose of creating fashion collections and how biology can complement and revolutionise the traditional ways of making. For instance, Post Carbon Lab provides Bacterial Pigment Dyeing (Note 1) and Photosynthesis Coating (Note 2) to small to medium-sized designers and brands to widen the access of sustainable innovations.
Note 1) Bacterial Pigment Dyeing is to use soil-dwelling bacteria that naturally produce pigments to dye textiles and garments. This process eliminates the toxic chemicals that are often released during traditional dyeing processes, which induces 17—20% of the global water pollution.
Note 2) With the integration of photosynthetic microorganisms onto textile substrates, Photosynthesis Coating is a living layer that is designed to revive and transform any piece of clothing or accessory into carbon sequestration surfaces.
After an in-depth presentation to various biological applications in the fashion industry, the students took part in a hands-on experience in upcycling PET bottles into DIY photobioreactors (PBR), which are low-tech, bio-hacking devices that facilitate the growth of algae in the domestic environment. Each student was given the following guide to complete their own PBR.
PHOTOBIOREACTOR STEP BY STEP
1) FILL BOTTLE WITH WATER
To remove the chlorine in tap water, we suggest using filtered water.
2) INOCULATE & DISPERSE
Bring a small amount of algae culture into the bottle and shake to achieve even distribution.
3) DRILL 2 HOLES ON THE BOTTLE CAP
Make sure the diameter of the holes are the same as the silicone hose to achieve airtightness.
4) INSTALL THE SILICONE HOSES
Guide one end of the tube to the bottom of the bottle to ensure even airflow distribution.
5) CONNECT TO VALVE & PUMP
Prevent the backward flow of water into the pump with a one-way valve.
6) INSTALL LIGHT SOURCE
Regulate the light source to the species’ liking to ensure optimal growth.