Graphic Design Seniors
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Calvin Hutcheon, Class of 2019

July 30, 2019


Global markets have failed to protect us from recession, war and climate change. As we
prepare for instability, one thing is clear, the market is not correctly calculating the cost of our

Epiphyte is a new kind of economy. One that puts agency in the natural world. Rather than
govern by a doctrine of perpetual growth, Epiphyte lays out a framework for managing industry
through ecological methods.

At its heart, Epiphyte empowers organisms to act within the feedback loop of the economy.
Helping to determine stock price through an active trading presence, organisms bring
externalities back into account.

For this prototype, Epiphyte has been designed to observe lichen and moss. Excellent
bioindicators, these organisms are sensitive to air and water pollution—the kinds of pollution
local industry is largely responsible for. Lichen and moss respond to these changes, altering
their color and shape in response. By monitoring these factors, Epiphyte can develop an
accurate health metric.

To have an impact on the industry, an Epiphyte module is set up near local industry, already
owning shares the business operating nearby. If the organism’s health decreases below a
certain health metric, as determined by the organism’s physiological changes, the module will
begin buying shares in industry specific competitors.

While one module may have little effect, en-masse, such feedback could lead to significant
changes in industry behavior.

By including the natural world in governance, Epiphyte is helping us account for the hidden
costs of industry.




  1. Make what you're excited about, not what you think will get you hired! Treat this as an opportunity to make something weird, emergent, and speculative—the kind of thing you'd have a difficult time convincing others to fund. 

  2. Allow for the possibility of spectacular failure. Make something you are uncomfortable with. It may not work, and that's ok. 

  3. Fold in the adjacent. Let your knowledge outside of design guide your concept. Let your deign expertise to guide the form.