Masterclass

What is the nature of a 21st century ‘human’?

A masterclass Rachel Armstrong and Arne Hendriks

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FRI. 28 MARCH
Masterclass
All day
Broet Basement

SAT. 29 MARCH
Masterclass
All day
Broet Basement

SUN. 30 MARCH
Masterclass
All day
Broet Basement

A three-day masterclass for participants from a range of disciplines to embark on a journey to change their view of what it means to be human in the 21st century at a time of ecological crisis. Each participant will encounter a series of challenges that reframe the way we think about our lives and ourselves so that we are no longer “machine-humans” but “ecological-humans”. This workshop is based on the ‘mythic stories’ workshops as conducted by RAND for companies like Shell in the period between the ‘50 and ‘70s.

During the masterclass the participants will be introduced to the reality of a strange and lively material realm and asked to deal with specific challenges through a series of workshops. They will articulate their new understanding of the body, environment, technology and community, in a real-estate brochure themed on one of four possible sites: an 8 billion city, a star ship, Venice beach or a suburban home.

Throughout the masterclass, participants will work with guides dedicated to each of the four specific themes. Inspiring speakers will share their research and insights into working in ways that may be considered ‘icological’ – where the convergence of design, nature and technology provides new opportunities for making and being.

This workshop raises questions that challenge our preconceptions about the nature of humanity in the 21st century. It specifically asks whether it is possible to work directly with matter using a different kind of technological platform than machines by applying ‘lifelike’ strategies to address design challenges. The possibility of a new production platform has radical implications for the way we imagine, work and live in the world in ways that are not bound by the logic of industrialization but are life-promoting, stochastic, maybe shaped using existing techniques in agriculture and gardening and are as such are also directly compatible with Nature. Indeed, the outputs of this new production platform are post-natural or ‘icological fabrics’ that interweave nature, technology and culture and may form the building blocks of 21st century communities and cities that can be combined in ways that are as rich and diverse in terms of their environmental performance as life itself.

Open to the audience
The talks, as well as the progress of the masterclass, will be open to the public on regular basis. When and how will be posted during the event. Access is free.

Rachel Armstrong is a Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) specializing in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction, University of Greenwich, London. She is also a 2010 Senior TED Fellow, and Visiting Research Assistant at the Center for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics and Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark. Rachel is a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture,’ which suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She collaboratively works across disciplines to build and develop prototypes that embody her approach. Rachel has been frequently recognised as being a pioneer. She has recently been added to the 2014 Citizens of the Next Century List, by Future-ish, listed as one of the Wired 2013 Smart List, as one of the 2013 ICON 50 and one of the ten people in the UK that may shape the UK’s recovery by Director Magazine in 2012. In the same year she was nominated as one of the most inspiring top nine women by Chick Chip magazine and as one of the BBC Focus Magazine’s August 2011 edition’s ‘ideas that could change the world’.

Arne Hendriks is an artist, art historian (University of Amsterdam) and exhibition maker with a primary interest in defining and redefining the paradigms of human existence on Earth. His work explores the transformative power of the creative impulse and the importance of fundamental free scientific research. In his speculative design research, the strange and the familiar continuously swap places to provoke conflicting perspectives which speak about the radicality of everyday experience and the familiarity of the radical. His recent projects include 8 Billion City, Instructables Restaurant, the Repair Manifesto and The Incredible Shrinking Man. Arne is also the director of the Dept. of WHAT IF, a recent start-up that investigates, formulates and disseminates alternative near-future scenarios as yardsticks to understand where we are and where we could be going. Hendriks is a coach at Next Nature within the department of Industrial Design of the Technical University in Eindhoven. In 2013 Arne was awarded with the Dutch Design Future Concepts Award and has been listed as one of the ICON 50.

Site Arne Hendriks
Site Rachel Armstrong

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