Bart Ellenbroek

Today was a good week

My experiences during my first week at Mediamatic

I became very fascinated by bio-design and -materials, so i decided i wanted to do an internship where i could learn more about it. I am especially interested in mycelium based materials. After doing some research i found out that Mediamatic has a clean lab where they experiment with bio-materials. I applied for an internship and a few months later here i am. 


First Sample - My first self made bio material Bio-material 500g bostel, spin dried Tempeh starter (Rhizopus Oryzae) 50 hours incubation time at 29 degrees celcius

The first week was intense, to say the least. There were multiple events planned when i arrived on my first day. On thursday there was the opening of an exhibition called wASH, a project in wich artist Caroline Jacob makes laundry detergent from ash from the pizza oven in the restaurant. Then there was a lecture in the Sluisdeurenloods on friday and to top it off a 2-day event during the weekend in wich we opened our clean lab for the public.

During the first days i got an introduction to the clean lab from Lucia and Renuka. After we picked up bostel at Homland bewery we inoculated 9 bags of bostel (500 grams) with tempeh starter (Rhizopus Ogliosporus) and incubated them for 50 hours. 8 out of 9 bags didnt show any results, we think it was because there was to much air in the bags. The one bag that had less air in it did grow (see picture above), this is my first grown bio-material :)

About the open lab event; A beer festival was organised on the marine terrain behind mediamatic. Since we grow materials using leftover beer grains (bostel) the organisation asked us to open our lab so people could visit us and learn more about bio-based materials and the usage of bostel, and so we did. We cleaned the lab, made a selection of samples to show, made a setup and installed a screen to show the short documantary from VICELAND about mycelium based materials. I think it was a big succes, we had around 75 visitors over the weekend, of wich many were very enthousiastic and interested in what we do. During the preparation for this event i got to know the lab, and learned the basics about funghi and the growing process of the materials we make. I think it was a very nice introduction to Mediamatic and the Clean lab.

I think i had an interesting and succesfull first week. The next step for me is to write a research plan in wich i will document the things i want to experiment with and the end result im looking for. Being a product designer i tend to look for applications of materials and think in products. I realized that i need to focus on developing the material first because there is so much to explore and test, and the material isn't where it’s supposed to be yet. I want to feel like i really know the material and have a material i feel confident to work with before i start thinking about an application for it. I will try to look at this project in a more scientific way rather then a product designer way.