Supported by some of the foremost influential creative leaders and organisations in design visualisation, The Rookies is the world's leading international annual competition for young, up and coming student and graduate designers, creators, innovators and artists. A juror since 2016, I was delighted that the 2018 edition attracted an exceptionally high standard of entries from art, design, architecture, and film schools spanning several continents.
However, numerous though the outstanding entries were, one entry stood out above all others, for its author, Joshua Puppe, an architecture student from Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S., exhibited extra-ordinary imagination, relevance, and production skill across illustration, film-making, model making, and overall concept development. Puppe’s entry, The Authors [images above], comprised beautifully considered, composed, and cinematic imagery as evidences he has an exceptionally exciting career ahead of him.
See Puppe’s entry at: https://t.co/jWQxviAZOg
Read more about The Rookies at: http://www.therookies.co/
The weekend of July 6th - 8th sees the launch of Timber Festival, which a joint venture between the National Forest Company and Wild Rumpus will explore "the transformative impact of forests on people and places with artists, musicians, scientists, and thinkers". Set in the National Forest, which planted over 25 years ago spans the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire, the event will encourage festival-goers to "re-imagine our relationship with our environment", while enjoying an "arboreal wonderland".
Aboard the inaugural speaker line-up, I’ll be exploring humanity’s relationship with wildfire at the interface of forests and cities past, present, and future. Having delivered a précis of my research of this past several years, together with a short provocation, I'll invite they present to join me in debate and discussion around this, quite literally, hot topic! Part of the Charcoal Sessions, where writers, artists, academics, politicians, and scientists, together with they working in woodlands will come together around a fire at dusk, atop the National Forest's historical coal pits, and below the forest canopy, I'll be sharing insights from wildfire’s deep past by means of illuminating its integral role in Earth and human systems.
Although the festival's installations, performances, and activities are too numerous to list, highlights include:
*The greenfield festival premiere of Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon [pictured above] - an extraordinary 7m Moon sculpture featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface and sound by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones.
*Bespoke Timber Festival installation, The Fire-Garden, which produced by leading artists, sculptors, designers, and technicians pa-Boom, will turn the foremost ephemeral element into an arts medium.
*Award-winning immersive virtual reality experience In the Eyes of the Animal by Marshmallow Laser Feast, which will enable participants to 'be an animal in the forest through the eyes of four woodland species'.
*A listening walk with composer and sound-artist Jason Singh, exploring voice and technology to mimic nature and birdsong, while gathering sounds to create instruments from plants, plant data, and other living and non-living elements of the forest.
Read more at: http://timberfestival.org.uk/
On a mission "to serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible", 500 Women Scientists aims to become the foremost organisation for the transformation of leadership, diversity, and public engagement in science. So far, over 19,000 female scientists worldwide have stepped forward to participate, many of whom are now registered on its global data base of scientific expertise spanning all science genres.
Lend your support and find out more at:
On December 14th I had the pleasure of critiquing the first term outputs of the latest Urban Morphogenesis Lab cohort. One of The Bartlett Bpro's MArch Urban Design programmes, the research cluster, which is led by ecoLogicstudio cofounder Prof. Claudia Pasquero, "pursues a non anthropogenic understanding of the urban landscape", its intention that of creating territories "of self-organisation and co-evolution of multiple dynamical systems". A juror since the lab's inaugural year [academic session 2013 - 2014], I've been consistently impressed by the students outputs, and by the course leadership and curation, which has gone from strength to strength to become one of the foremost respected research units in its field.
Building on the lab's past interrogations into the potentialities of working with non-human intelligence, including bacteria, fungi, bioluminescent phytoplankton, algae, and ants, this year's MArch students are exploring the material, engineering, design and computing possibilities of working with slime moulds, silk worms, and arachnids, including tarantulas. Aims and objectives of the experimental works include the identification of new applications for ecological intelligence within architecture, urban design and planning, the scalability thereof, and associated risks and opportunities, including the creation of new design morphologies, methods, approaches, and aesthetics (see slides above and below).
A programme with close links across the biodesign, biotechnology, and biomimetic architectural and urban design community, fellow jurors of the Urban Morphogenesis Lab include Pasquero's ecoLogicstudio cofounder, Marco Poletto; Professor of Experimental Design at University of Newcastle, Rachel Armstrong; author and founder/director of the Emergent Technologies and Design Programme in the Graduate School of the Architectural Association, Michael Weinstock; and Bartlett professors including Mark Smout and Marcus Cruz; amongst others.
Read more about the Urban Morphogenesis Lab and The Bartlett's Bpro programme:
Shared a few thoughts on, amongst other things, how ecological regime shifts will impact upon people and planet in the 22nd Century for Factor magazine's Winter 2017 edition. Exploring myriad aspects of the not so distant future, and free to download on mobile, tablet, and laptop, the edition marks the launch of Factor's new format, which bigger and slicker than before is a joy to behold.
Read Factor's 'Life in the 22nd Century' edition here.
The Geovation Challenge seeks to find and support ideas that benefit human and environmental health and wellbeing. Successful entrants will receive support and opportunities for funding during a programme that launches in London in spring 2018. I've entered an idea titled GEO ECO NET, which highlights the need to increase awareness and understanding of ecological networks within and across cities, focused on the need to help not hinder fauna to traverse the architectures, and more broadly, the environments we create.
If you'd like to support the idea, please give it your vote at:
GEO ECO NET: Ecological and Social Network
"Humans aren’t the only ones that need traverse cities. Both here in the UK, and worldwide, innumerable faunal species need travel about urban environments too. Some species are permanent residents, of which one example is the hedgehog. Whereas others, including a great many bird species, come and go throughout the year, their movements synced with the seasons. Others still, are sporadic, but welcome visitors that tend drop in when weather conditions necessitate, of which waxwings are one.
However, urbanism, and in particular architecture and planning that works against not with the needs of faunal species interferes with these movements, and in the worst instances to the extent of causing injury and mortality. For example, did you know that bird deaths into the hundreds of millions per annum are attributed to the use of non-friendly bird glass in buildings? Or, that many bird species navigate by moonlight or starlight, meaning light pollution at the scale now manifest in many cities sends them off course?
The above are just a few of the ways in which human activities are undermining the integrity of faunal movements at the local, national, and global scale, and to such extent as may endanger some species. But, much is there that we can do to help mitigate the problem.
As with so many other types of challenge, we first need assess what need be done, how and why. The task is far too great for any one individual, any one school, any one city, or any one nation. And, not least, because complex though faunal migratory routes are, at a time of environmental flux, life is evolving in ways both expected and otherwise."
Read more here.
Share the idea on Twitter via #GeoEcoNet
Open access, peer-reviewed, and featuring contributions from leading-edge researchers and practitioners worldwide, the Journal of Biourbanism is the bi-annual online publication of the International Society of Biourbanism. Edited by Dr. Stefano Serafini, and featuring papers from Prof. Rachel Armstrong, and Prof. Sergio Los, and Prof. Besim Hakim, its latest issue, explores the epistemology of design at the interface of architecture, planning, and the environmental and social sciences. A few words on my contribution are below:
Mind the Gap:
A Discussion of Philosophical and Psychological Dichotomies
Abstract: Differences, dualities, and dichotomies play a fundamental role within the psychological and philosophical frameworks through which humans interpret phenomena. Boundaries and binary oppositions abound in our thinking and actions, manifesting metaphysically and physically, internally and externally, and on all conceivable scales. Drawing upon insights from past and contemporary systems thinkers and integrating an assemblage of personal experiences, together with observations, the present work aims to understand how and why our psychological, thereon our philosophical relationship with oppositions frame the collective societal response to rapid change and upheaval, and what role might transdisciplinary thinking have to play in reconciling societal differences.
Download the Journal of BioUrbanism Vol. 5 here.
On the evening of October 27th I had the pleasure of chairing a panel discussion, which part of the V&A museum's 'Every Last Drop' edition of its Friday Lates, explored the potentialities of water as artistic medium. Curated by CLOT magazine, our speaker line-up for the evening comprised dutch artist Berndaut Smilde, RCA PhD researcher Wayne Binitie, and Sam Bompas, co-founder of Bompas and Parr.
Smilde, Binitie, and Bompas each delivered 15-minute presentations in which they discussed the role of water in their artistic works. Smilde, who developed and patented a means of creating temporary cloud formations, presented his world-renown Nimbus Series (see slides and video below), and other projects of a similarly ephemeral nature, including Breaking Light, which was created using a prototype prism that allowed him to "break light at a large scale in order to impose a natural appearance onto its surrounding as a temporary hack in the landscape". Binitie presented both audio and visual works, including the outputs of his collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey, which examines the temporal nature of Earth's polar habitats, as well as earlier projects including the One Aldwych Pool Suite. Bompas presented a selection of past works including temporal solid, liquid, and atmospheric water-based structures, thereon, with the aid of an assistant, delivered a live-experiment in the form of the creation of a taste cloud (see slides).
Recurrent themes throughout the panel discussion that followed included the immaterial and transient nature of new and emerging artistic innovations; water-based art as a medium for public engagement in environmental discussions and debates; temporary elemental artistic expressions of the past, present, and possible future; and scalability of water-based solid, liquid and atmospheric visual and audio works and the opportunities and challenges inherent in the process of their creation.
Many thanks to the V&A museum for their flawless hosting the event, and to CLOT magazine for bringing together such a thought-provoking panel.
Save the Date: November 9th 2017 :: Monument Masterclass :: An Evening with 5x15
Atop one of the best vantage points in London, The Monument, historian and author, Dr. Matthew Green and I will be uniting past, present, and future, as we round off the Monument Masterclasses series in an event curated by renowned literary salon, 5x15.
Exploring the theme of the evolving relationship between nature and the built environment, we'll be taking inspiration from "a constantly changing city skyline", which is "still shaped by the lasting impact of the Great Fire of London in 1666".
The Monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren between 1671-1677 in commemoration of the Great Fire of London. Standing 202ft high and 202ft from where the fire started in Pudding Lane, it is "the tallest isolated stone column in the world and has been open to visitors for over 300 years".
Those hoping to attend need note the event "space is not suitable for anyone who suffers from vertigo, a fear of heights or a fear of confined spaces".
Tickets are limited and available at:
Save the Date :: October 27th 2017 :: V&A Friday Late :: Every Last Drop.
"The original contemporary late night event", the V&A's Friday Late "celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society, bringing audiences face-to-face with leading and emerging artists and designers through live performance, film, installation, debate, DJs and late-night exhibition openings". Exploring the theme of water, the forthcoming Friday Late, Every Last Drop will take participants on a journey that examines the manifold facets of "the most abundant material on Earth". From tracing "the spirituality of the Ganges", to uncovering "the impact of industry on China's drowned landscapes" to asking "if algae can break our addiction to plastic and expose what tap water is really comprised of".
I am delighted to be moderating a roundtable discussion on water as artistic media, which curated by CLOT magazine will feature a line-up comprised visual artist Berndnaut Smilde, artist Wayne Binitie and genre-breaking experience designer Sam Bompass from Bompass and Parr.
Berndnaut Smilde is a dutch artist whose most well-known work is Nimbus series, a project featuring hyper-realistic miniature clouds in unique spaces such as museums, factories, castles and dungeons. Wayne Binitie is an RCA PhD candidate whose research and practice recalibrate the perception of glacial water through audio-visual contemporary art. Sam Bompass is one half of Bompass and Parr, a studio recognised for its otherworldly jelly creations.
Find out more at: https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/friday-late
Melissa Sterry, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, founder Bionic City®.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
© Melissa Sterry 2018 All Rights Reserved