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Information Experience Design (MA)

Yui Nakanishi

Yui Nakanishi is a multi-disciplinary experience designer from Japan.

Her work explores the potential of new science and technology communication that resonates with personal emotions and inspires a shift in the values regarding the relationship between nature and human activity. With backgrounds in biology and data science, her practice aims to foster environmental responsibility through data-driven and poetic storytelling.

During her MEng course at the University of Tokyo, she participated in various projects with DLX Design Lab as a scientist, where she discovered a profound passion for science and technology communication as a catalyst for social movements. Believing in the power of thinking beyond fundamental scientific research and discussions about our technology and future in collaboration with society, she is now examining the intersection of art and science.

Profile Photo

We live in a world of limitless technological advancement and planetary changes, sometimes beyond our control. My focus as an experience designer is to unlearn/reshape our values by encouraging people, including myself, to take a pause and have conversations about our social responsibility and the well-being of both human and non-human entities.

In my practice, I challenge hidden and/or complex issues that do not have easy solutions. I believe that collaborative thinking often leads to the most valuable points of view. My question is, How can I create an experience that makes people feel related, understand, and engage in the topic? It is at the intersection of art and science where I find my answer. I put value in balancing scientific facts and links to personal emotions to craft experiences that are both grounded and thought-provoking, which involves weaving narratives, storytelling, and speculative design, from a non-anthropocentric point of view.

During this one-year MA program in Information Experience Design at the RCA, I set my focus on environmental microbiology research and explored various methods of communicating the invisible ecology that surrounds us.

Summer is in the Air is a project that investigates developing our new relationship with airborne microbes. Airborne microbes are often unrecognised and misunderstood due to their invisibility and the negative connotations associated in our daily lives. 

Inspired by seasonal changes in the microbial community, the project proposes the ambient visualisation as a musical score and sonification of airborne microbiomes in summer, using datasets collected in 2016 (Núñez, 2021). 

By posing the question “What if we could see and listen to the diversity in the air?,” the piece is composed of four layers of important factors related to their composition - taxonomy, environmental data, source, and gene sequence. The project seeks to embrace the encounter with microscopic species and encourage further reflection on our impact on ecology.

Picture of Musical Score
Close-up Picture of Musical Score

Four Layers

Musical Score of Airborne Microbiome in Summer

  • Taxonomy: Phylogenetic Tree including Top genera of bacteria and fungi, created in MEGA Software
  • Environmental Data: Average Temperature, Relative Humidity, Rain, Solar Radiation 
  • Source: Soil, Water, Plant, Animal, etc.
  • Gene sequence: Target Region of ribosomal RNA gene to identify species

Sonification of Airborne Microbiome in Summer

  • Taxonomy: Sound with different pitch allocated to each genus in phylogenetic tree, turning whole length of score as a landscape of diversity
  • Environmental Data: Instrumental Sound with different numbers beats and duration, calculated using the data
  • Source: Field Recordings related to the sources
  • Gene sequence: Drone sounds in low scale in ACEG (T in E), inspired by nucleotide symbols
Illustration of Four Layers
3D Sketch of Four Layers

This is an on-going project.

To read more about the process behind the project, please visit portfolio website.

GIF Floating Score


Acrylic Disc, Sound Piece


30 x 30 cm, 3 min

This experimental film is a speculation of the perspective of microbes, shot in various outdoor locations that symbolise summer, such as parks, beaches and forests. The film aims to offer a glimpse into how microbes float around and observe us, while invoking our nostalgic memories of summer, accompanied by mist, smoke, and the scent of freshly cut grass.

Film Still 1 - Floating in the Air
Film Still 2 - Cloud and A Bird
Film Still 3 - Moving
Film Still 3 - In the Grass
Film Projected on Smoke


Experimental Film


3 min

Throughout the academic year, my research has focused on understanding the current knowledge about airborne microbes and exploring various ways to communicate this hidden diversity. The concept of Temporary Home emerged, highlighting how our surroundings serve as a temporary habitat for these microbes, where they come and go, emphasising how we only meet a microbe once in a lifetime, which should be celebrated.

During this process, the central question that guided me was, How can I incorporate the subject that is alive, invisible, and possibly harmful into the experience? The journey involved conducting experiments, developing an installation that showcased interactions through environmental data and the collection of these invisible microbes in a jar within the exhibition space.

Microscopic facts about airborne microbes

  • We breathe in a million microorganisms belonging to a thousand species every single day
  • Their path and fate are impacted by environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity and motion of your existence
  • Some are carried from afar attached to particle

Capturing Airborne Microbes (and Dust)
Dust Floating
Biological Experiment on Petri Dish
Culturing Bacteria/Fungi in a Petri Dish With Agar
Air Sampler in Molecular Lab at Natural History Museum

The discussion-based and relaxing workshop was conducted as part of the project to foster imagination beyond our perceptions. Participants were asked to share their experiences - reflecting on their relationship with microbes, recalling all the sensations of summer, and reimagining the organisms surrounding us at that moment. Each of the steps was described in the workbook to guide the participants.

Cover Page of the Workbook
Activity During the Workshop
Activity During the Workshop
Content of the Workbook



Special Thanks for Scientific Support

  • Prof. Teruya Maki at Kindai University, Japan (Interview)
  • Dr. Piotr Cuber, Molecular Lab at Natural History Museum, the UK (Interview, Lab Visit)

Lastly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to DENSO Corporation for supporting this study.

DENSO Corporation