Ollie Cotsaftis is the founder and creative director of future ensemble, a post-disciplinary and speculative design studio operating at the intersection of the human experience, the built environment, and the realm of creative technologies. Exploring the boundaries of disciplines, future ensemble designs preferable futures and crafts bespoke and relevant brand, product, service, system, venture, and spatial experiences. Ollie is also a RMIT University School of Design Industry Fellow, experiments with new ideas through his visual art practice, and most recently, co-founded the Melbourne chapter of Speculative Futures, an international network for those interested in futurism and design fiction.
Bio-hacker, artist, and researcher, J.J. Hastings fuses and folds together the fields of biology (tissue engineering, genomics), informatics (machine learning), and new media art. She is alumna of New York University, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, and Central Saint Martins with advanced degrees in Biology, Fine Art, and Bioinformatics. J.J.’s career in scientific research spans over a decade and rooted in her longstanding roots as a bio-hacker. Her artwork has been exhibited across Europe, India, Asia, North America, and Australia. She teaches an array of subjects in science, design, and art at RMIT and the University of Melbourne.
Pia Interlandi is a fashion designer whose work often incorporates death as a scientific and psychological concept. She has a particular interest in textile manipulation and garment transformation, informed by her fascination with human biology and time spent in Japan under the instruction of Yoshiki Hishinuma. As an undergraduate in RMIT’s Bachelor of Design in Fashion, she began dissecting garments ‘autopsy-style’ and experimenting with dissolvable fabrics as a method of exploring life’s transient qualities. This became the basis of her current PhD study at Melbourne’s RMIT University, entitled [A]Dressing Death: Fashioning Garments for the Grave . However it was when her grandfather died in 2008 and she dressed him for his funeral that her work began to move away from metaphor and began to engage in the realities of death. At this point she also trained to become a certified funeral celebrant.
Pia is a passionate advocate for Natural Burial and has done a number of lectures on the topic while also teaching Textile Technology and a number of experimental studio classes within the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT since 2007.
Emma Luke has an extensive design background in accessories, design, and fabrication, specialising in watches, bags, jewelry, and wearables. She has collaborated with other brands, formed her own label, owned a store, produced collections, and consulted on various projects.
Emma is currently completing a PhD focused on post digital craft which explores emerging constructs of multimodal design practice and new processes of creating and visualising hybrid personal objects. This enquiry aims to challenge digital obsolescence and the loss of lasting cultural narratives through the creation of auratic objects manifested in a series of multifaceted generative objects and design projects.
Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library