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POW-erful Design: Adaptation as Inspiration for Technology

Jan. 13, 2012 - extended through October 2012

Art-Science-Creativity Gallery Image of POW-erful Design

The inspiration for da Vinci's Ornithopter flying machine may have come from Greek mythology's Icarus and his constructed wings.  Alternatively, inspiration may simply have come from the birds outside of da Vinci's window.  In either case, adaptations have always been a source of human fascination, inspiration, and creative thought.  In this exhibit, we connect fictional and real technologies to their biological inspiration by using specimens and artifacts from the MSU Museum, the MSU Library's Special Collection for Comic Books, the A.J Cook Arthropod Collection, and miscellaneous pieces from artists, scientists, and designers.



Drawing on creativity


In the comic book universe there are hundreds, if not thousands of series that are finding an audience beyond the Marvel and DC titans. For anyone interested in learning about illustrating and producing their own series, the MSU Museum presents Comic Book Artist Ryan Claytor for a workshop on Sunday, May 20, 1:30 - 3 p.m. in the MSU Museum Auditorium.  
Image of Ryan Claytor
The program is presented free of charge and is open to the public.

Claytor, director of the MSU Comics Forum and an MSU Comics Studio instructor, will share his approach to illustrating and publishing comic books, which he has been creating since 2004. He will also discuss the medium of comics alongside other kinds of storytellers and communicators to discover some of the parallels. 

See a video profile here. 

The program is presented in conjunction with the MSU Museum's exhibit, "POW-ERFUL DESIGN: Nature as Inspiration for Technology (Fictional and Real)," running through August in the Art-Science-Creativity Gallery.

Can scientists really learn something from Spider-Man's web-slinging, a tactic that he uses to capture villains and create parachutes, decoys, nets and shields? The exhibit draws together the familiar and the unfamiliar to help show how nature can inspire designers, architects, and scientists -- really creators of all kinds -- to develop new ideas. 

Real-life examples from nature include a materials engineer who developed an adhesive based on the sticky toes of geckos, an architect who copied termite mounds to design a mall that does not need air conditioning and (still in development) an artificial surrogate nervous system patterned after bee behavior and communication.

The MSU Museum joined forces with the MSU Libraries' famed Comic Art Collection to show vintage comic books that incorporate technologies inspired by nature. "POW-ERFUL DESIGN" is funded, in part, by a grant from the Society for the Study of Evolution.