BDC Alum Jiwon Woo wins Bioart and Design Award in the Netherlands

BDC Alum Jiwon Woo won the 2017 Bioart and Design Award (BAD) in the Netherlands. The BAD Award is a unique competition that aims at stimulating young artists and designers from The Netherlands and abroad to experiment with bioart and design and to collaborate with renowned Dutch science centers.

Woo’s winning project, Mother’s Hand Taste (Son-mat), is a culinary ode to the personal touch. Son mat—the taste of the hand—is an important principle of South Korean cuisine that represents cultural identity and the direct handling of ingredients. Here, Jiwon Woo translates it to traces of bacteria and fungi on the hand of the person who prepares the food. She researches whether the taste of the hand might be identified across several generations, even when family members have emigrated to different continents. Jiwon Woo experimented with generational inheritance by visualizing and then bio-fabricating the hand yeast of family members of different generations, and across four different locations (Philadelphia, Utrecht, Seoul and Tokyo), to examine its effects on the taste of fermented food. Its main outcome is the creation of a conceptual and mechanical objet aimed at capturing, storing, and growing one’s own son-mat - specifically, to be used in the brewing of the traditional Korean fermented rice wine, makgeolli.

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Alison Irvine