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:


_ White Smog

In its etymology the name mal’aria stands for ‘bad air’. Appropriating air as a material substance of thought, White Smog revisits human-insect interactions through the lens of chemical communication (e.g. insects as vectors of disease, in popular culture, etc). Considering human odourants as data, this stream explores the design of an invisible smog, a complex blend of scents that envelopes the urban landscape, a white noise of odour, or ‘white smog’, creating an invisible topography that neutralises the perceived physical presence of humans and renders them undetectable - or olfactorily invisible - by malaria mosquitoes.

_ White Smog
Rain Rain Go Away!
_ 08 Apr 2016
_ White Smog
Artificial Sweat
_ 15 Dec 2015