Kuang-Yi Ku, MA Social Design, Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands

Sydney 2018: Methods and Practices

There are some alternative medicines in different cultures, and their effects sometimes cannot be proved by contemporary scientific researches. They are usually even regarded as cultural myths, such as tiger penis for virility in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). And the huge demand of wild animal parts as TCM results in increasing endangered animals. However, TCM still could contain a certain value which differ from mainstream western medicine. Therefore, the main concept of this project is how can we find the answers for the conflict between the value of traditional Chinese medical culture and the contemporary thinkings of environmental conservation?

Using non-western perspectives of speculative design, this project uses design practice to reconcile traditional Chinese medicine and culture with more environmental aware perspectives to eating tiger penis. Supported by Latour’s theory of modernity, this project also proposes new forms of creating artificial tiger penis in the future which will help to avoid putting in danger more animals. The design proposal even synthesizes the new artificial penis which is stronger than tiger with different animal’s gene by combining Western and Chinese medicine all together. The methodology of this hybrid medicine provides new possibility in the future. Finally, this design approach could be applied to other traditions around the world that could also be having conflicts between modernity and traditionality.