As part of my PhD research (2008-2013), I have been looking at ways to design biological systems to raise questions that lie outside the interests of the sciences and engineering. I have designed experimental living artifacts--cellular constructs, modified organisms, and biological hardware--to demonstrate what will it mean to live in a society with biological design, when designed organisms will increasingly become part of our daily lives and shape our aesthetic, social and cultural values.
I have designed a microbial perfumery that demonstrates the use of genetically modified bacteria to synthesize parts of Sandalwood oil and its smell. The "Oil well" (2013)is the prototype of a do-it-yourself learning and biofabrication machine that visualizes the different stages of a bacterial transformation, incubation and protein synthesis and use synthetic membranes to encapsulate the biologies.
The artifacts created during the "Living Commons" research are documented and published via lectures, publications and my teaching.
Workshop teacher, Making_Life Workshop series, Finnish Bioarts Society, Aalto University Helsinki. May 2014, November 2015, May 2015.
Designing Ideologically Modified Organisms, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers,The State University of New Jersey. February 27, 2013.
Design in Biochemical Space, part of the public lecture series at the Estonian Academy of the Arts, Tallinn, December 18, 2012.
Synthetic Ideologies of the Synthetic Living, part of Biopolitics, Society, and Performance Conference, Trinity College Dublin, October 31, 2012.
Of Mice and Men, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Western Australia. May 23, 2012.
Biosynthesis and The Future of Sandalwood
SymbioticA (Perth/ Australia, 2012)
Telhan, Orkan. For Designing Within: A Spatial Theory for Encapsulating Designed Biologies in Paradigms of Computing: Making, Machines, and Models For Design Agency in Architecture, eds. Dr. David Jason Gerber, Mariana Ibañez. eVolo, 2014.
Telhan Orkan, Discursive Methods in Synthetic Biological Design in the proceedings of Design Research Society Conference (DRS 2012), Bangkok, Thailand. 2012.