Culture Dose | Radical Matter | Neri Oxman | Sounds of The Forest

Neri Oxman biomaterial image
A Few Visionary Women Exploring Material Ecologies –and sounds of the Forest
Our Best Culture Dose for Earth Month

2020 was a particularly important year in the biography of our planet, marking a crossover when human made objects/buildings/impact is greater than the bio-mass/nature on our planet.

Which means we are at a cross-roads: we need to decide which path we take next. This statement from Dr. Neri Oxman, a leading thinker and maker in the “material ecologies” space (a phrase she coined) guides this week’s Culture Dose.

And here we are two years later and there’s been a veritable explosion in the regenerative ecologies field. Understanding we’re on a tipping point, innovation is often found within the work of women. Scientists, artists, designers claiming, experimenting, designing this space. They offer imaginative, revolutionary futures. So take a little time out to read, watch and listen to a few of these visionary women.  

READ Radical Matter: Rethinking Materials for a Sustainable Future

Radical Matter: Rethinking materials for a sustainable future book

This imaginative book by Kate Franklin + Caroline Till, offers many alternatives to the standard “take-make-discard” model of processing virgin materials to manufacture consumer goods. Eight sections address: reusing waste streams. minimizing byproducts, making with detritus, making as community connection, digital fabrication on demand, truly disposable products, living materials, and future mining. Aimed at innovation in design, breaking boundaries along the way, it offers a truly holistic system of design. (For professionals, students, and citizen-makers.)

WATCH Neri Oxman – Material Ecology in a Live Q&A with Paolo Antonelli

From tree bark and crustacean shells to silkworm webs and human breath, nature shapes Neri Oxman’s innovative design and production processes. As a designer, architect, and founding director of The Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab, Oxman has developed not only new ways of thinking about materials, objects, buildings, and construction methods, but also new frameworks for interdisciplinary—and even interspecies—collaborations.

Her pioneering approach brings together materials science, digital fabrication technologies, and organic design, to create new possibilities for the future. While individually these works are beautiful and revolutionary, together they put forward a new philosophy of designing, making—and even unmaking—the world around us.

While her virtual exhibition at the MoMA is over there is a Q+A online well worth viewing.

It is a lively and informative discussion that took place during the lockdown between Professor Oxman and MoMA’s Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, and Director of Research and Development.

And it might send you right to the exhibit catalog!

Listen to Sounds of the Forest

Map of sounds of the forest

Use this interactive map by Wild Rumpus to listen to forests around the world. An ongoing co-creation originally for the Timber Festival 2021, choose a woodland, a forest, explore this growing soundmap that brings together aural tones and textures from the world’s woodlands.

–KL Dunn

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