Artists in residence at the Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, McFarland & Singer, are hosting a collaborative exhibition titled "My DNA". Scientists and artists are invited to submit an exhibit in a petri dish, to be representative of an aspect of their research, practice, or approach. Join me in contributing your scientific or creative DNA.
Pictured above: my submission, titled 'DNAbstract' [canvas, crystallised salt: medium saliva + powered metallic], which is representative of the intersection of the abiotic, biotic, and anthropogenic.
Submission deadline: 30th September 2017.
Delighted to be joining peers to present at Propela + Space10's contribution to London Design Festival, which titled Intelligent Spaces is taking place at Protein Studios in Shoreditch on the evening of September 20th 2017. Co-curated by IKEA's research laboratory, Space10 [Copenhagen], and leading-edge agency for creatives crafting the future, Propela [London], Intelligent Spaces is part of a week-long series of events under the theme of Exploring the Spaces of Tomorrow.
Intelligent Spaces speakers: Liam Young: speculative architect, sci-fi shaper, extreme explorer & technology storyteller; Kaave Pour + Bas Van De Poel: Space10's Creative Director + Head of Playful Research; Maarten Nefkens: Strategy Director at Amsterdam-based creative agency Dawn; & myself.
I'll be presenting Biome Shock! Anthropogenic meets Ecological Intelligence, which asks "what is intelligence? How do define what is, and is not ‘smart’, and why does that matter to designers?". Liam Young will present “an audio-visual expedition to a city found somewhere between the present and the predicted, the real and the imagined, stitched together from fragments of real landscapes and designed urban fictions”.
Collaborators in the week-long event include: WikiHouse Foundation, Central Saint Martins' spatial practices and architecture students, Brooklyn design studio Anton & Irene, pop-up location curators Appear Here, futures research studio Franklin Till, which curates and edits biannual magazine Viewpoint, and materials research studio Ma-tt-er, which, in residence, is producing an exhibition, workshop and a talks programme envisioning future spaces as multi-sensory.
Exploring the Space of Tomorrow:
Tuesday 19 September: Shared Spaces: CSM + Anton & Irene + SPACE10
Wednesday 20 September: Intelligent Spaces: Propela + SPACE10
Thursday 21 September: Portable Spaces: WikiHouse + SPACE10
Friday 22 September: Temporary Spaces: Appear Here + SPACE10
Saturday 23 September: Material Spaces: Ma-tt-er + SPACE10
Reserve a place at: https://space10.io/program/intelligent-spaces-propela-plus-space10
Related events: The Future Of_ event series, which is curated and produced by Propela, and takes place in the space during the day. Learn more about the program at futureof.co.
Please join me, and several thousand scientists from over 100 countries, in becoming a co-signatory on the article World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice (Ripple et al, 2017), which marks the 25th anniversary of the first notice, which was initiated by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The deadline for signatory is September 19th 2017.
"Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1500 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity". These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine fishery collapses, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth. They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring."
"On the 25th anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse. Especially troubling is the current trajectory of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Malhi et al. 2008), and agricultural production--particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014). Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century."
Read the full article here:
Scientists become a co-signatory here:
Kevin Kelly on the new biology of machines, social systems, and the economic world, in Out of Control, 1994.
Earlier this year Forum for the Future launched its Living Grid project to bring together an international collective of "corporate energy users, academics, community energy organisations, local authorities and experts in energy and technology to contribute their opinions and reflections, inspired by experts in regenerative development and biomimicry". Together we explored the question "How might we design an energy system inspired by life?". A few of the insights and ideas have been assembled and shared online under the hashtag #LivingGrid.
Read more at:
Victor Papanek in The Tree of Knowledge: Bionics [The Use of Biological Prototypes in the Design of Man-Made Systems], Design for the Real World, 1971.
Supported by some of the biggest names in the creative industries, The Rookies is the world's leading international annual competition for young, up and coming designers, creators, innovators and artists. A juror since 2016, having reviewed this year's entries in the category of Architecture, my star picks for 2017 are:
DNA House [above] by Anna Eckes of Cracow University explores the potentialities of biomolecular computing in architectures within a fresh water habitat. The project evidences study of organic forms in their natural setting, interest in biological processes and structures, and an appreciation of the subtlety of the beauty of faunal species.
The work of Peter Efe of University of Greenwich [below] resides in the domain of the imaginary city. The entry is one of four cities that he conceived, for which inspiration came from sources including the Lloyd’s Building by Richard Rogers, a city of the dead featured in Hollywood movie The Mummy (1999), and the Neo Apocalyptic City.
The Amalgamation Ritual [bottom] by Martynas Kasiulevicius of University of Westminster is designed around a Cappadocian Maple tree in Kew Gardens, London. The tree was "3D scanned to obtain accurate three-dimensional readings and accurate scale data of every phototropic branch and trunk". Exploring an ancient pagan handfasting ceremony, the project artfully combines inspiration and ideas spanning anthropology, culture, ecology, and architecture, together with a high degree of skill in working with several artistic mediums.
View the Rookies 2017 Architecture entries at:
Image: The Trail by Chris Rossetto and Emma Lubbers
National Park City Foundation's 'Imagine' competition invited artists, designers, and architects to imagine and visualise London as a National Park City. Over 50 entries flooded in from around the world, many exhibiting an innate grasp of the imperative to create greater ecological connectivity in and across London, and in cities about the world.
I had the pleasure to join peers including Andrew Grant (Grant Associates), author and journalist Will Self, Gemma Ginty (Future Cities Catapult), Ben Smith (AECOM), Judy Ling Wong (Black Environment Network), and more, to judge the entries, and give thoughts and feedback on their potential. All agreed the overall standard of entries was superb, indeed so much so that we selected not one, but a handful of winners.
'Imagine' Highly Commended:
Read more at: http://www.nationalparkcity.london/imagine
Image: Earthrise, NASA, 1968
Never has the imperative to think, thereon to act, ecologically been greater. But to our great advantage, humanity is now endowed with such scientific insights; technological means; willing, able, and ready talent, both at the individual, and the organisational scale, as can potentially meet that imperative. Peoples far and peoples wide, peoples of all manner of capabilities are, and in ever-growing numbers, coming together to “make the planet great again”. In our hands rests the collective responsibility to not merely undo environmental damage done, but to utilise our potential, and to its fullest, to ensure the continued integrity of Earth’s systems: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and pedosphere. Whereupon we harness our intellect, and the imagination born thereof, we turn immense challenges into exponential opportunities. For all the many possible worlds in our Universe, we stand upon the foremost significant unto our future - and to that of every living creature on the planet, therein all known life. May we rise to the occasion, today, World Environment Day, and every day.
Read about World Environment Day at: http://worldenvironmentday.global
Read a few more thoughts on the imperative to protect the environment at:
Forum for the Future's Futures Centre, based out of Singapore, is a global community to track change and accelerate sustainable action. April 24th 2017 saw the launch of its #LivingGrid conversation, which explores "how humanity might design an energy system that can continuously renew itself, making our lifeless grid more interactive and able to flex in response to the ebbs and flows of renewable energy, so that it behaves like a living system".
Themes include "what can human systems learn from the rest of life on Earth?"; "How would nature design our energy system?"; and "How can we behave less like consumers in an energy market and more like organisms in an ecosystem?".
#LivingGrid activities span online articles, discussions, and content sharing designed to highlight signals of change and encourage sense-making. Participants include architect Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture, London; Ash Buchanan of Cohore, Melbourne; members of the Future Centre's team, Singapore; and myself.
Contributions to #LivingGrid will be compiled into a print publication launching later in the year, but, in the meantime, join the conversation and contribute your thoughts on building bio-inspired energy systems.
Read Sensemaking: Evolution at:
Read Sensemaking: Systems at:
Join the LivingGrid conversation at: https://www.thefuturescentre.org/livinggrid
Melissa Sterry, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, cross disciplinary designer developing Bionic City®, and PhD Researcher.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
© Melissa Sterry 2017 All Rights Reserved