Pinar Yoldaş unites science, design, and feminism in her unique and stunningly exciting way to create ideas addressing the challenges of our time. We visited her in her lab of »Dangerous Ideas« in San Diego
The Visual Arts department at the University of San Diego seems pretty gray overall. Bare walls and lots of concrete. But when you get to the studio of Dr. Pinar Yoldaş, Professor of Robotics in Art, neuroscientist, artist, and visionary thinker, a sparkling golden chair and freshly painted stools in Yves Klein Blue are spread out in front of her door on which you can read “Yoldaş Lab. Dangerous Ideas”. And those are exactly what makes her work tick: her extraordinary ideas of liberated sex organs, of enormous stomachs that clean the oceans, or of black plants that push photosynthesis to heights never before imagined. We talked about her very own fight against plastic pollution and climate change – and about her hope that many designers will join in.
You hold so many different degrees, ranging from architecture and communication design to computer science and neuroscience. Pinar Yoldaş: Oh yes, I have a very long educational background (laughs). I was born and raised in a small town in Turkey, and the education system back then was very strict. It was all about your score and as I scored high, I ended up in science college and even qualified for the national Chemistry Olympiad team. I loved chemistry, but I also loved art. My father is an architect, and I grew up in his office drawing all the time. I really missed that as a chemist, and I didn’t realize back then that I could use artistic skills in science as well. So I quit and studied architecture. When coding became very important, I studied computer science and also visual communication design and did UX for many years. But then I missed science (laughs). So I started studying neuroscience at UCLA and did my PhD.