Words by Cathrine Disney (Twitter @CathrineDisney)
Central Saint Martins MA Material Futures graduate and designer-researcher hybrid, Jaime Tai, is blurring the boundaries between design and science, building facts and ideas into tangible multi-layered scenarios. Tai’s work encourages us to think big about the future and the implications of emerging technologies. Her graduate work, Trehalose Artefacts, explores a not-too-distant future in which trehalose, a natural sugar with high water retention capabilities, may be used to enable humans to live on less water by reducing water loss through skin surfaces during drought.
In a world where some consider the effects of global warming to be irreversible, initiatives that prompt a change in human behaviour to reduce the impact of global warming on our environment seem out-dated. Trehalose Artefacts encourages us to consider new ways in which humans may now have to adapt themselves to suit their environments in order to survive.
What is more important: to take or not to take yourself too seriously in order to be creative?
Definitely the latter for me. I like to be completely relaxed and open-minded, especially at the beginning of a new project. I love brainstorming (especially with others) where everything and anything is possible, not discounting the things that sound crazy but could potentially lead somewhere worthwhile. Even when there are points where being creative means working within strict parameters to come up with innovative solutions, my best ideas are the ones that have had time to breathe and develop.
Solitude or loneliness, how do you spend your time alone?
I enjoy spending time alone and make a conscious effort to carve out a space for it in my schedule because it’s a great time for me to recharge and take stock of where I am. If and when I get to do that, I’m likely to be reading (probably a genealogical crime thriller or design blog), re-organising myself or coming up with new ideas for projects.
Who or what was the last person, place or thing that fascinated you?
Kakia Konstantinaki’s Hyper-Opera – it’s a digital immersive experience based on The Odyssey, inspired by Punchdrunk’s theatrical productions and the concept of hyperopera.
I like the idea of site-specific theatre across multiple virtual platforms and dimensions where viewers can choose which characters or stories they wish to follow. On a side note, I also love the latest version of Minion Rush. Bananas are the new in (again).
What’s your favourite time of the day?
In the morning, before I get hungry. I often have long days so it’s a good time to get myself mentally settled, ready and refreshed before I face whatever’s ahead.
One for the road… What are you unafraid of?
People thinking that I’m strange, now that I’ve kind of learnt to embrace it! Or going out of my comfort zone – this particular project (Trehalose Artefacts) has been a rollercoaster of firsts including learning cell culture techniques and how to knit on a Stoll machine but I’ve really enjoyed it.