Socio-Ecological Design

Anthropocene Campus, ©Sera Cakal

Statements by Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir (artist, Icelandic Academy of the Arts, Reykjavik), Bronislaw Szerszynski (Sociology, Lancaster University), Chip Lord (Film & Digital Media Department, University of California, Santa Cruz). Discussion moderated by Katrin Klingan.

When the Earth itself emerges as an object of design within the Anthropocene, the mandate for to (re)construct socio-ecological systems may be seen as an aesthetic project par excellence. The hard and soft infrastructures we build, the political negotiations we undertake, the anthropogenic neo-natures we observe spreading all around us, confronting our notions of environmental stewardship: these are all figurations and compositions that have an innovative, indeed, generative dimension. Under the auspices of the Anthropocene, the Renaissance notion of disegno – the drafting of nature – reinvents itself, but as what? As a question of form? As an application of genesis?

Doesn’t “intelligent design” contradict the basic premise of evolution – that resilience emerges out of slow mutation and adaptation, rather than through manual-conceptual intervention? How does design deal with complexity, that is, how does its practice readily adapt to non-optimal, yet resilient, solutions? If the Anthropocene proposes a mutual set of autogenerative agencies, is there an “outside” to its designer drive? And finally, in relation to our immediate concern of education, what do these questions imply for the design of learning environments and curricula?

Recording: Video / Audio