Wk 9- Systems thinking + designing with (eco)systems

In the ‘Art of Systems Thinking’ O’Connor and McDermott articulate the need and importance of transdisciplinarity in the context of systems thinking as “instead of seeing separate fields of knowledge all needing years of study to understand, systems thinking lets you see the connection between different disciplines.” (pg. 4) This enables a prediction of systems behaviours, regardless of the scale or complexity of the system. On a similar note, the case study of Transition Design also emphasises the need for transition solutions that draws from many approaches to act as an “integrative agent” qualifying designers to work in trandsciplinary teams to catalyse change in complex systems. This extends the discussion of interdisciplinary thinking we have had over the weeks, and really places this methodology, and the role of designers at the crux of many contemporary discourses concerned with manifested change to develop transition solutions for a sustainable future.

“Change can be surprisingly easy if you identify the right connections.” (O’Connor, McDermott, pg.21) In every system, especially social and political, change and inertia have been seen as drastic hurdles to overcome through individualistic efforts and a change in universal mindset. O’Connor and McDermott pose a new window to perceive change as a systematic intervention through synthesising the interdependencies and dynamic relationships between elements in systems. This challenged me to think differently because as a designer, I realised that our role is to help find those critical points of intervention, that are very often than not the “beliefs of the people in it, because it is the beliefs that sustain the system as it is.” (pg. 24) It is a question then, how are designers to help facilitate sustainable change through “human-centred” mindsets, but ensure that this does not continue Anthropocentric dynamics, but instead develop a more holistic approach to the betterment and mutually positive dynamics of the human and natural systems for a sustainable future.

 

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Ball in Basin model illustrating the Earth System of the Anthropocene, where the Holocene sits in the natural variability and basin of attraction. Source: Research Gate, 2016

 

We are a system operating with systems of other living and non-human organisms and their environments. The principles that stem from Living Systems theory, such as self-organisation, emergence, resilience and interdependence can serve as leverage points for initiating change within complex systems. (O’Conner and McDermott) The rapidly changing nature of human systems such as cities has fostered a positive change for humans as self-organising beings. But this has created a butterfly effect across its interdependent systems such as the natural environment which undergoes self-organisation of its own as organisms become resilient to the changing urban and natural landscape as a result of human and technological interventions. The image above illustrates the Holocene (current geological period) as it sits in the basin of attraction. If this chain of effects continues in the complex web of interdependencies, there is a definite limit to the continuation of such negative feedback loops, and we may spiral further from the complex system of human – non-human interaction into a state of chaos without redirective practice. This poses an urgency to shift the Anthropocentric view, and develop “holistic and ecological worldviews” as Fritjoj Capra highlights is the most powerful leverage point for sustainable future. There is a bigger concern to respond to this “crisis in perception” and designers have much to contribute through interdisciplinary modes of problem solving to help transition into a “new way of being in the world.”

 


 

Manzini, E. 2010, ‘Small, local, open and connected: Design for social innovation and sustainability’, The Journal of Design Strategies: Change Design, vol. 4, pp. 8-11.

 

Kagan, S. 2010, ‘Cultures of sustainability and the aesthetics of the pattern that connects’, Futures, vol. 42, pp. 1094-1101.

 

Research Gate, 2016, < https://www.researchgate.net/figure/A-ball-and-cup-depiction-of-the-Earth-System-definition-of-the-Anthropocene-showing-the_fig4_305471690> accessed May 15 2018

 

 

 

 

Wk 8- Human vs. Environmental ethics. Eco-ethics.

We had another insightful and highly passionate guest lecturer come in today. Reannan Honey from the School of Life Sciences. Reannan provided several insights into conservation practices, habitat restoration through her background as an Ecologist. She questioned, “How have urban environments changed natural environments?” Invasive species introduced during colonization such as the Cane Toads and such destroyed native species. If the individuals in authority and access to knowledge had asked the right questions, and tried to consider the future implications of introducing foreign species, the outcome maybe have been mitigated. Tony Fry in in ‘Design Futuring’ introduces the concept of ‘designing in-time,’ that involves “examining in detail what is likely to shape future positive or negative possibilities and thereafter deciding what should, or should not, be factored into design activity on a precautionary basis.” Reannan shared a very similar cautionary advice to be as rigorous as possible through thorough research and testing. While Fry also touches upon ethical evaluation in willingly accepting responsibility, he also understands that design is political- it always “serves a particular ideological master.” However, to those who strive to redirect design, this understanding is imperative.

 

Breannon highlighted several conservation practices through the lens of bio-centric design that combines eco-centric and anthropocentric worldviews. For example, the creation of patch habitats and wildlife corridors aim to reintroduce elements of ecosystem in parks and reserves to allow animals to cross over habitats and coexist in urban systems. Such thinking stems from disciplines of science, design in built environment, architecture and ecology studies. Tony Fry hence aptly argues the importance of redirective practice for design that bridges across disciplines by a ‘meta-discipline’ that fosters an “exchange of knowledge and dialogue based on a common language of engagement.” This thinking is beyond mutli-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary thinking, and rather is a ‘meta-disciplinary’ practice that enables a “practical transformation of knowledge in action.” (Fry, 2009, pg. 55) Both Reannan and Fry argue for a research-grounded and cross-disciplined mode of acting for the positive future directing of our environment.

 

Hence, reflecting on studio content up to now, the role of ethics and empathy in design creates an open dialogue for consideration that openly delivers the need for humans to acknowledge, take responsibility and act upon through design and redirective futuring for an ecologically balanced existence within the envelope of Nature.

 


 

Fry, T. 2009, Chapter Four, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (English ed.), Berg, Oxford, pp. 53-70. 4

 

Wk 7- Urban geographies.

Reflecting on the city from today, a multitude of interesting ideas surfaced about Sydney in its natural and urban landscape through time and different contextual concepts; design, social, political and poetic. Primarily, Sydney as a landscape seems untouched despite the city growing and evolving constantly. It was interesting to know that this city was unplanned and made around the natural landscape and topography when Cook arrived back in 1717. This lends Sydney a beautiful pattern when compared against other stringently planned and gridded cities like Melbourne. While this structure may cause navigational issues, those immersed in the living, thriving embodiment of Sydney’s history and culture have so many pockets, alleys, funny, ‘leftover’ and contained spaces to explore for creative avenues.

 

The concept of architecture embodying ideologies was an interesting discussion prompted by Eoghan Lewis, our SAW guide. Architecture, and conceptualizing of city design seems to be a subjective practice for every individual. In the case of the Opera House, so many references to the environment, history, landscape and society were taken into consideration in its design that Jorn Utzon had to go beyond his discipline as an ‘architect’ and immerse himself into these other facets. The need for interdisciplinary practice keeps arising in this subject, and I wonder what this concept has to offer to the urban ecological system where there are so many conflicting avenues, personas and contexts. Is there a way the City can grow towards a better and sustainable future if designers, architects, investors, councils and governments worked in conjunction with each other rather than stemming from vastly different motivations? A socialist outlook on architecture exists, where buildings give to the city instead of taking from it, I wonder if a concept of the city giving to Nature can arise.

 

While the urban landscape of Sydney has its natural, beautiful and poetic foundations, the present-day developments of the city create hyper-competition between architects, designers, investors, corporates, the council and the government. In this ecosystem, the City was constantly compared to a rainforest in that developers are on a constant look-out for competition. There is also a notion of foraging as they look out for other advantages to appeal to another kind of tenants, and it seems to be a game of financial gain, social commentary, progressive urban planning and creative innovation. This deeply interrelated concept of the city as a material ecosystem challenged me to consider where Nature stands in this system. And if this network insists on continuing, what is the future of the Natural ecosystems in our urban context, if at all? How can we as designers intervene with a shifted outlook on the urban ecosystem that works with and for the natural ecosystem that has been resilient so far and held strong as the foundation of our city.

 

 

 

Wk 6- Being detective of possible futures.

For me, and I believe for many other designers, nature has been a prime source of inspiration to seek for solutions to simplify complex challenges of our systems. However, Myers’ essay posed a more poignant perspective of how plants “teach us the most nuanced lessons about mattering,” about life and about death. It was insightful, and somewhat confronting to understand that “we are only because they are.” The relationship between humans and nature is indeed more profound, a further suggestion that humans are no great creatures, but mere animals in the larger ecosystem of existence.

 

Heidi Axelsen’s lecture today was highly captivating and insightful. She discussed how designers can organise interdisciplinary projects and the motives and values that often underlie the works they develop to benefit non-human species. Heidi works with social processes and public art with architects, community groups, and artists. Through interdisciplinarity, she leverages the possibilities of art and architecture that lifts the profile of the many works she creates with her partner. By marrying the conceptual softness of art with the hardness of and utilitarianism of architecture, her works thrive upon the hybridity of disciplines to respond to the wicked problems of cities. Her advice on breaking down silos and enhancing skills of collaboration to become mutable and chameleon-like while maintaining who you are really was insightful to hear. A lot of her projects, for instance ‘The Visitors’ are codesigned with locals who have the information and tacit or lay knowledge to contribute to contribute to, as their experience is a form of knowledge equal to, if not beyond that of experts. This project in Blue Mountains explored alternative ways for humans to interact with botanical worlds where the narrative is for plant agency movement; “we need them, we wear them, we use their bodies to house ourselves, like unwanted visitors we take much more than we return…” She explores what the world would look like if we were plant agents, referencing Natasha Myers; “we must learn not just how to collaborate but conspire with plants/if not, their undoing would truly be our undoing.” (lecture slides)

 

So, over the last few weeks, I have gathered a decent understanding of what it entails to exist in the Anthropocene, and how we humans led ourselves into this age. However, in suggesting the forms of violence and destruction shaping the lives of plants and their people in the Anthropocene, the need to alter our “ways of thinking, making and doing” has never seemed more urgent than after reading Myer’s essay. The case study “The Visitors” proposes how design can instead alter our interactions and engagement with the plant world, to become collaborative “agents for plants,” as Myers calls the ‘Planthropocene.’ Hence, the key insights I derived from Heidi’s lecture were;

  • Designers can be motivated by making things better, attractive, desirable, or to question social and political realities.
  • Design has the potential to engage with realities and deeply investigate alternative social relationships.
  • Design is a practice of questioning.
  • Designers can be detectives of possible futures.

 


 

Meyers, N. 2017 Photosynthetic Mattering: Rooting into the Planthroposcene, Moving Plants exhibition catalogue. Rønnebåeksholm, Denmark.

 

Axelsen, H. ‘The Visitors’ < http://h-h.work/The-Visitors&gt; and <http://rundog.art/thevisitors-heidi-axelsen-hugo-moline/ > accessed April 18 2018

 

Wk 5- Public vs. Environmental health.

What I derived from the lecture today was some clarity between public and environmental health. And that clarity was a complete lack of distinction between the two. We suffer as nature suffers. All human illnesses in one way or another stem from the ailing of nature.

 

The class discussion on the works and practice of designer, engineer and scientist, Natalie Jeremijenko opened up so many insightful workings of design as activism for altering social behaviour. Her ‘delusional’ drive and pursue of using new technologies for social transformation is an inspiration to me as a designer also pursuing social innovation using the capabilities of the digital age. I realised it takes ‘problem-understanding’ than an objective ‘problem-solving’ to get to the real core of contemporary problems. Jeremijenko operates across the disciplines of design, engineering and science and effectively marries environmental and public health. In her TED Talk, ‘The art of eco-mindshift,’ and in her recent works at Environmental Health Clinic, she redefines what constitutes as health by redefining the problem through environmental health prescriptions. It makes complete sense to view public health through the lens of a shared, environmental health spectrum, rather than the internal, individual and predetermined. By framing health in an external way, she is able to create a model to understand and change it through a collective action effect.

 

Her use of language and humour makes the discussion less legalistic and more relatable, creating an accessible transfer of knowledge, insight and hence action. Her dialogue shifts from human to human, and from human to nonhuman by finding poetic and well-researched ways of marrying poetry and engineering. By reimaging our relationship to natural system through her fish-feeding/messaging digital media project, she is able to remediate interspecies interactions through nutritionally appropriate feeding augmentation. While this ensures the continuing desires of humans wanting to feed fish, it also mediates a cooperative and healthy behavior from humans towards animals. This project involves taking opportunities of new technology to rescript actions for collective, aggregated actions for environmental change.

 

The brief discussion on climate stabilization through the example of New Delhi’s air pollution issue posed some interesting questions. As the air pollution metric in New Delhi records the highest, that toxic environment as in a way become part of its urban existence. But should this be a normalized aspect of the city? Its habitants are seeking to accustom themselves to these changing environment as humans are seen as highly adaptable and resilient creatures. But should they be adapting? Or should the connection between public health and environmental health we explored. As a designer, I believe I have a role in creating social and political change. I can do so in a humorous, chameleonesque way as Jeremijenko, in an overtly active manner, or in a subtle, poetic yet effective ways to reframe human suffering as an opportunity to respond to environmental ‘prescriptions.’

 


 

Jeremijenko, N. 2010, ‘The art of the eco-mindshift’ <https://www.ted.com/talks/natalie_jeremijenko_the_art_of_the_eco_mindshift> accessed April 11, 2018

 

Jeremijenko, N. 2013’ Cross(X)Species Adventure Club’ (Curating Cities Project)< http://eco-publicart.org/xspecies-adventure-club/ > accessed April 10, 2018

Wk 4- Cities and Bio-centric design.

Today was presentation day. From the observations we made last week of the natural and human processes and interactions between the city and the Moreton Bay Figs, we developed an ecological map to explore the relationships between the species and its physical environment. By visually representing these interactions, we were able to project all the interacting elements as actors in a system. The ecological mapping we conducted in our groups gave a voice to the Moreton Figs overtime, inspired by Van Dooren’s poetic exposure of the pain of the vultures. From observing the changing forces of urban development, we were able to represent the Figs with an unyielding personality, able to withstand and remain resilient. This activity helped me see that nature is doing its part. Now it is our responsibility to change the way we interact with them, and listen to others, beyond our own needs.

 

From Sheppard and Lynn’s reading on ‘Cities,’ the lack of understanding of cosmopolis in designing cities has created a distinction and rift between the urban and the natural. But in practice and in theory, this dichotomous relationship has an inherent notion of continuity and coexistence between ‘wilderness’ and ‘civilisation.’ However, in our Anthropocentric age, Cosmopolitanism is largely understood as a modern appreciation for diversity and the ‘other’. It was challenging to understand that this celebration suggests an inherent and “unavoidable relationship between humans and responsibility towards animals, and the rest of nature.” Hence why, current strategies for sustainability of cities strive to rearrange cities so the natural and urban “interpenetrate via corridors that promote the health of native plants and wildlife, domestic pets and people” alike. There are research groups, often interdisciplinary in practice that demonstrate how this coexistence can be achieved.

 

There are ways that we can do so through design practice and framework that already exist. ‘Mapping Edges’ as a trandisciplinary research group rely heavily on permaculture to achieve their intentions. I have always perceived permaculture as a method to achieve sustainable and holistic possibilities for the future of small scale communities where individuals wish to be self-reliant and self-sustainable. Though I never realised how real and possible this concept is until I conducted further research. It is almost hard to visualise it as it is so close to the ‘Heaven’ vision of futuring. A seamless co-existence of natural and human in a mutually benefitting system of sustenance and resilience! Stemming off the title given to the project ‘Mapping Edges,’ I connected that to principle 11 of the Permaculture Principles, ‘Use edges and value the marginal.’ This principle aim to extend the notion that “don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path.” There are ways to transform the ‘urban edge’ by playing on the boundaries that hold the potential for transformation and innovation. Inter-disciplinary thinking is a concept that crosses over boundaries and edges. Similarly, by going beyond the well-defined boundaries of current frameworks and disciplines, designers can build upon frameworks such as Permaculture to develop unique solutions centered on bio-centric design grounded on ecological concepts that demonstrate sustained resilience and innovation.

 


 

Sheppard, E. & Lynn, W.S, 2004, ‘Cities’, in N. Thrift (ed.), Patterned ground: Entanglements of nature and culture, Reaktion Books, London.

 

Vanni Accarigi, I & Crosby, A. 2018, UTS, ‘Mapping Edges <http://www.mappingedges.org > accessed 10 April 2018

 

Permafund, 2017, ‘Permaculture Principples’ <https://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/_11/> accessed 11 April 2018

Wk 3- Anthropocentricism vs. Biocentricism. Ecological urbanism.

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Capturing the magnanimous and beautiful presence of the Moreton Bay Fig that still houses some small creatures in its folds and crevices. Image source: Anandini

 

Cities are ecosystems. Built upon the scientific framework of ecosystems as the network of interrelating and interdependent organisms in a natural system, ecological urbanism is the “theory and practice of city design and planning, as a means of adaptation.” (Spirn, 1998, pg. 26) Spirn argues that this theory is a critical framework for future city designing in the face of threats against humanity, health, safety and the environment. In workshopping the city design through the excursion to Blackwattle Bay today, we were able to notice in our design groups how nature is so resilient to the many forces of urban development. Particularly observing the Moreton Bay Figs, the beautiful buttressed roots which are so old, yet so sturdy, I was reminded of my grandmother. Old, yet sturdy. An ageless beauty valued, cherished and respected. Capable of motherly comfort and providing respite in the crevices of her strong embrace. Despite the many urban forces such as residential development, infrastructure and such have led to the cutting of many Moreton Bay Figs, the trees have a cultural and national significance, and are naturally resilient structures of nature. While these forces have changed the way the Figs support the natural ecology, it still houses many organisms (image-above) and also provides respite and aesthetic value to the locality.

 

Spirn discusses the foundational knowledge of ecological urbanism and its benefits, where Alberti warns “For so great is Nature’s strength that, although…some huge obstacle may obstruct her, or some barrier divert her, she will always overcome and destroy any opposition or impediment.” Although challenging, we must acknowledge and recognise that the city is a part of nature that a whole that embraces us all. And as part of that ecosystem, it is the role of us as designers and inhabitants of future cities. And hence, cities are ecosystems. The term ecology and ecosystem are often used in contexts beyond the natural, as we conclude that nature is the whole that embraces us and all living organisms, each interacting within their own and with other environments. And hence, understanding the ecosystem can help us extend the concept as a metaphor for understanding urban environment. Through this framework, we can observe the effect of human activities and their interrelationships.

 

Cities should be resilient. Sprin aptly poses that “cities are part of the natural world; cities are habitats.” It is the role of designers to create resilient cities that adapt to changing forces, needs and conditions. The role of design as discussed in class can be direct or indirect. Direct design responses can be demonstrated by the examples of spatial constructions such as habitat bridges that hope to create a seamless coexistence of urban and natural landscape through a concept of biocentrcism that denotes an ethical awareness that all living things have an inherent value and right to exists. Here I can touch on the temporal aspects of Natalie Jeremijenko’s project ‘The Phenology Clock’ that combines art, technology and ecosystem frameworks to communicate the collective relationships we have to natural systems and to create “socially conscious experiences for direct and indirect change.” Opposed to the almost parasitic modes of urban existence we witness at present (of which I observed through the cuttings of the Moreton Figs to make way for light rails), where cities are designed to serve humans needs at the expense of other species, designers can use the understanding of urban ecology concepts and current ecological interactions to inform design possibilities.

 


 

Spirn, A.W. 2011, ‘Ecological Urbanism: A framework for the design of resilient cities,’ Resilience in Ecology and Urban Design, Springer Verlag, USA.

 

Jeremijenko, N, 2015, ‘The Phenology Clock,’ Tega Brain http://tegabrain.com/The-Phenology-Clock accessed 8 April 2018

 

Wk 2- Pain vs. Pleasure. Biodiversity and extinction.

We have agency. We are the managers of biodiversity, in the age of man we have created for ourselves. We have a responsibility and a role as humans to rectify the relationships to nature. The incentive for doing so may be economic, intrinsic value, value for conservation, or a collective sense of responsibility to change our understanding of nature. Or, the driver could be pain, “sorrow, anger, mourning.” But as Stewart Brand states in his TED talk, “Don’t mourn. Organise.” (Brand, 2013)

 

For instance, a collective approach to managing biodiversity is demonstrated by Amphibian Ark (AArk). Almost eluding to Noah’s arch, the collective group of conservationists have a mission in “ensuring the survival and diversity of amphibian species focusing on those that cannot currently be safe-guarded in their natural environments.”

 

Ethics, values, moral obligations, pain and attachment. In this period titled the Sixth Great Extinction, Pooley writes in ‘Endangered,’ (2015, pg. 261) that “we should acknowledge the deeply entangled relations of humans and all other living beings and ecosystems.” Our values play a major role in shaping our choices. As does attachment and pain. As human beings, we relate, and deeply empathise with pain and suffering. But why is it that we often struggle to relate to the pain of endangered species, why are deaf and blind to this ethical demand for responsibility in the ‘face’ of the other. (Dooren, 2010, pg. 274)

 

Perhaps because we are struggling to comprehend the pain that is not of humans. As humans, pain is a strong part of our identity. The class discussion made we realise that pain is how we experience and remember things (childbirth, pain vs. pleasure of bodily desires) Humans relate to other humans, we have the capacity to empathise. Dooren builds upon the power of imagination to give a face to animals. He does so with the hopes that we can grasp their pain threshold; emotional, physical and sensory. He builds upon the case of corporeal responsibility through pain vs. psychology. Dooren argues that we are living in an interconnected world of human and non-human ecosystems, where the aspect of ‘functional extinction’ arises and as a result of this connectivity of ecosystems, or ‘worldlings,’ we are often ignorant to the threatening ripples of further disturbance and death in the world. He posits that “we all suffer and are brought into pain in a multispecies world.” Using the example of the Asian white-backed vulture, he demonstrates how the mass death of vultures as a result of chemical poisoning generatively opens the “entangled worlds of relationship and accountability.” Human cultures, such as the Indian communities reliant on the vultures for their economic, cultural and religious systems will we caught up in ripples of disturbance produced by the loss of vultures, highlighting that human ‘cultures’ like human-nature are multispecies projects.

 

Researching the case study, ‘The Pollinator Pathways,’ I observed how the project embodies this changed mindset where our relationship with nature changes; Nature is no longer ‘over there’ or it is not ‘the other’ – it is indeed us. As designers, it is confronting and hopeful to have the abilities to be active agents for biodiversity and conservation in farms, urban environments and the wilderness through working across networks. The project aims to design “cities as drivers of ecologies, rather than the ecology in cities.” This reminds humans of their role in The Anthropocene, encouraging the employment of ecological power to design for the sustenance of not only humans, but the planet.

 


 

Van Dooren, T. 2010, ‘The Pain of Extinction: Death of a Vulture’, Cultural Studies Review, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 271-89.

 

Pooley, S. 2015, ‘Endangered’, Environmental Humanities, vol. 7, pp. 259-263.

 

Brand, S. 2013, The Dawn of De-Extinction. Are You Ready? TED Video

<https://www.ted.com/talks/stewart_brand_the_dawn_of_de_extinction_are_you_ready/u

p-next> accessed 20 March 2018

 

Pollinator Pathway, 2018, ‘The Pollinator Pathway’ < www.pollinatorpathway.com/about/> accessed 20 March 2018

Wk 1- Man vs. Wild. The Anthropocene.

Some call it ‘age of the man’, while others define it as a disaster. The Anthropocene is a shift in geology where humans are perceived as cursory benefactors of all systems; human, non-human and natural.

 

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(left) Dwarahat’s sprawling natural and agricultural fields. (right) Me perched on a cliff overlooking the vastness and freshness of the town, as respite from city hubbub.

 

From a subjective standpoint, when we were asked to write a reflective piece in our first class outlining a place of interest and connection, I flew back in time to the day I landed (again) in Dwarahat, Uttaranchal, India. (image- left) A village almost stuck in time and place, the lush green landscape almost effortlessly holds civilisation and a flourishing environmental and agricultural vista. The place for me is a cove of hope and a lagoon to cleanse my body, mind and soul. It is here that I can connect deeply to myself, and escape the constant push for speed, change and growth of city-dwelling. (image- right)

 

I observed across the readings that academics tend to have a Biblical mode of describing this age of man. Marris and Kareiva in the article ‘Hope in the Age of Man’ perceive “human changes as degradation of a pristine Eden.” (Marris, E. & Kareiva, P. 2011) But some see hope. Scientifically, this hope, and the research and execution of this hope is termed ‘rewilding.’ To further the Biblical references, Monbiot (2013) in ‘My manifesto for re-wilding the world’ refers to rewilding as a mass restoration of ecosystems to reverse man’s destructive impacts by “abandoning the biblical doctrine of dominion which has governed our relationship with the natural world.”

 

Extending on the reflections of humanity’s situation and our effects on the planet, Father Francis in the ‘Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ analyses the situation. He suggests how the ‘rapidification’ of the intense pace of life and work of our culture is inherent to the speed at which such complex human systems change. It was nice knowing that there are similar mindsets that are questioning this ‘rapidification,’ as I do so frequently in my visits to Dwarahat. But converse to this is the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. A question posed in the studio today, ‘What if we refuse to uncouple nature and culture,’ is explored through the lens of the common good; “Goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development.” (Father Francis, verse 17, 18 & 19) This leads to conflict that emerges from the contrasting interests and capabilities of humans, non-humans and nature, rooted on the unparalleled dynamic of change and evolution of each of the living systems.

 

So what if we start speaking and listening to not only ourselves, but start empathizing with a degree of humility. What if we become “aware of the impact we have on other people and other living systems,” and explore different ways of being in, with, and for the world? (Leimbach, T 2014 and Lecture slides) Moline’s essay on Dingo Logic, ‘Feral Experimental’ explores the boundaries and intersections of experimental design, design thinking, data visualisation, and interaction design and service design. By decolonizing design research and practice, designers can become ‘feral’ and become comfortable to work collaboratively on the margins of disciplines. For designers, this interdisciplinary practice gives the capability to respond to the wicked problems of our day and age and focus on those leverage points for positive intervention.

 


 

Marris, E., Kareiva, P., Mascaro, J. & Elli, E.C. 2011, ‘Hope in the Age of Man’, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/opinion/the-age-of-man-is-not-adisaster.html?_r=0

 

Monbiot, G. 2013, ‘My manifesto for re-wilding the world’, The Guardian, 28th May 2013: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/27/my-manifestorewilding-world

 

Design case study: Feral Experimental. New Design Thinking, Catalogue Essay: Moline, K. 2014, ‘Dingo Logic: Feral Experimental and New Design Thinking’, NIEA: http://www.niea.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/Feral%20Experimental%20Exhibition%20Catalogue.pdf

 

Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, 2016: ‘Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ of the Holy Father Francis: On care for our common home’, Catholic Church: https://laudatosi.com/watch

 

Leimbach, T. 2014, Design Goes Wild, https://theconversation.com/design-goes-wildboundary-crossing-in-feral-experimental-29974 accessed 12 March 2018