ISEA2011 WORKSHOP: Foaming Ecological Urbanism

Foaming Ecological Urbanism: How Can Art and Architecture Collaborate in Rethinking Urban Ecological Living?

Workshop Leader: Anne Sophie Witzke
2nd Leader: Lea Schick

Art and architecture can play an imaginative and constructive role in the development and restructuring of urban ecological living, where experimentation and radical new-thinking is needed. At this one-day workshop we will be discussing how these fields can collaborate in rethinking new ecological urbanisms.

The workshop will take its departure in a presentation of a theoretical framework advocating how we can understand and discuss the Ecological Age as an emerging paradigm, and how these thoughts can influence the way we fabricate future urbanisms. The talk will be followed by selected presentations of art and architectural projects, which in different ways deal with these issues. In the afternoon we will engage in a collaborative process discussing and developing creative strategies for future, ecological urbanisms. Working with these complex issues it is essential to involve an interdisciplinary range of fields such as architecture, urban planning, design, art, sociology, engineering, software development, etc. We thus hope to bring people together from a broad variety of disciplines.
Theoretical framework

Throughout Modernity we have fabricated Modern ways of living and Modern values such as individuality, nuclear family, private ownership, demarcated disciplines, and a human-centered worldview. According to the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, we have insulated ourselves in detached spheres or bobbles with no perception of a truly connected and global world. Through the last decades it has become clear that the way of living, which we have designed since the inception of the industrial revolution is profoundly unsustainable. According to the French sociologist Bruno Latour we have to move away from a Modernist towards a more decentralized, ecological way of thinking and designing our world and our ways of living. We must stop thinking about our lives and environments as autonomous singularities, and instead see it as connections, processes, and hybrid ecologies. Today more than half of the planet’s population is living in urban areas and the growing urbanism and increasing awareness on low-carbon living poses enormous challenges to rethinking the way we live in the cities.

Art and architecture have different yet related approaches to these challenges, and together they might form a renewed and creative engagement in our cities. It is these challenges we invite you to discuss and develop creative and experimental answers to in our workshop.
Bios of the Presenters
Anne Sophie Witzke is currently doing a PhD in Media Art and Environmental Issues at Aarhus University, Denmark. She has been working intensively with art, sustainability, climate change and technology the last couple of years, as project manager and curator of the Nordic Exhibition of the Year RETHINK – Contemporary Art & Climate Change. RETHINK showed contemporary artists dealing with the cultural dimension of climate change.

Lea Schick is currently doing a PhD on the subject of new technological ecologies and climate change at the IT University of Copenhagen. She is here a part of the research group TIP, Technologies in Praxis. She has a M.Sc. in Digital Design and Communication from the IT-University of Copenhagen, and holds a B.A. in Aesthetics and Culture. She worked together with Anne Sophie Witzke at RETHINK, where she edited and moderated REFLECT, an online collection of articles and a related debate forum.

Posted by:  Ebru Surek