Keynote or General Session

Monday, May 12

5:30 pm – 6:45 pm

Broken Nature

Auditorium   Level 2

In this session with Paola Antonelli, you’ll learn to reorient your design relationship to nature. What does it mean as a designer to move beyond political or chemical correctness? In the zero-sum game between humans and nature, nature’s loss is paradoxically also humans’ loss. Under these circumstances, designers must evolve their thinking.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, August 20, 2013, marked Earth Overshoot day — the estimated date when people on Earth have used up the planet’s annual supply of renewable natural resources and reached its carbon-absorbing capacity. With a dose of poetic alarmism—after all, a day like August 20 happens every year, albeit every year a little earlier—the date can be adopted as a sign that we have gone too far. It can be designed into a prompt to look at our relationship with nature in a novel way; not anymore with simple respect and pious anxiety, but rather with a constructive sense of debt. Our relationship with nature is made of different strands, and some bonds are broken beyond repair. We need to move to reparations.

3 Main Take-Aways:

  1. Define your current relationship with nature and note its limitations.
  2. Understand that a new relationship to nature must be formed, with reparations (and not anxiety) as the motivating factor.
  3. Appreciate that the human-nature connection is a zero-sum game and respect that any injuries inflicted on nature will also hurt humanity in the long run.
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