The Institute for the Design of Tropical Disease‘s mandate is to establish a space to shift the existing narrative on tropical disease from the dogmatic to the imaginative, exploring what is, was and what could be via a hands-on, critical design process. Appropriating tropical disease as a research medium for art and design, the project addresses the complex relationships that shape disease transmission, exploring the rationale of technological developments and their application in the spread of disease.

Inspired by the performative history of tropical disease and its cures, the Institute for the Design of Tropical Disease thus explores the “colonisation of territories” on the molecular, human and environmental scales. These themes are investigated through ongoing design explorations – or Research Streams – including White Smog: Human to Insect Chemical Communication, DiY Quinine: Open Synthesis of Medical Compounds, and the Architecture of Insect Breeding Grounds. Operating from an in-between position, the resulting processual works and experiments develop through collaborations with different disciplines.

The Institute for the Design of Tropical Disease is a project initiated by Thought Collider, a research art/design studio based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, comprising the work of Mike Thompson and Susana Cámara Leret. 

Partners include:
Laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University
International Flavours & Fragrances
Nationaal Herbarium Nederlands

Contact details:
+31 (0) 645 922 623 / 638 584 931

Supported by:


_ DiY Quinine

The discovery of the ‘Fever Tree’ (Cinchona) as a remedy for malaria transformed Western understanding of illness, stimulating a colonial and ideological expansion throughout the tropics. Inspired by the medicinal roots of a classic cocktail - the Gin & Tonic - the DiY synthesis of Quinine is reimagined as a means to explore the socio-cultural and economic factors that inform the distribution and assimilation of disease medication. Delving into these long-forgotten colonial tales of biopiracy, this stream considers the material cultures that surround these processes. This stream thus explores the cultivation, exploitation and commercialisation of plants as medicinal chimeras.

_ DiY Quinine
Sonsbeek '16 Jamu + Nongkrong
_ 05 Mar 2016
_ DiY Quinine
Making, Researching, Exchanging, Drinking
_ 05 Nov 2015
_ DiY Quinine
The Fever Tree
_ 22 Jul 2015