The Amyloid Project  - urbanSTEW

Photo by Lisa Tolentino

Photo by Lisa Tolentino

The Amyloid Project stems from a collaboration between urbanSTEW and ASU Physics research professor, Dr. Sara Vaiana. Dr. Vaiana’s research focuses on a newly discovered class of proteins found in the human body, called Intrinsically Disordered Proteins (IDPs), and particularly on ones that are involved in amyloid diseases. The final project resulted in two major pieces, an interactive steel sculpture inspired by the physical structure of amyloids and a 30 minute dance piece which used the steel sculpture as both a projection surface and climbable set piece. 

Contributing Artists:

Jessica Rajko (interaction design, choreography)**
Stjepan Rajko (interaction design)**
Lisa Tolentino (visual media design and performance)**
Robert Esler (interactive sound design, digital music composition and performance)**
Brian Korsedal (steel sculpture design and manufacturing)
Emmett Ramstad (sculpture textile and costume design)

**urbanSTEW directors

Project Inspiration: The importance of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) lies in their potential to better understand diseases such as such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes. IDPs, unlike other proteins, do not fold into well-defined 3-dimensional structures. This plasticity makes them susceptible to aggregate forming highly structured amyloid fibers. This stops them from carrying out their essential biological functions, and can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and diabetes. Dr. Vaiana is studying the unique properties of IDPs. This research is extremely complex but holds great potential to impact a large portion of our community, including people who suffer or know someone who suffers from diseases caused by protein aggregation.

The first iteration of The Amyloid Project was presented at the 2014 spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity. urbanSTEW, March 19 – 23, 2014.