Master-Workshop «Creature Nature»

by Armin Blasbichler

A short history of nature: 300.000 BC, First Nature, nonhuman, pristine and untouched. As of today a romantic reverie, out of reach forever, as the human species has set foot on every square meter of the planet’s surface. 12.000 BC; Second Nature, the age of agriculture. Sedentarism led humans to systematically modify and control the land, domesticate animals and mitigate seasonal variations. 1700 AC, Third Nature, the pleasure garden. Nature’s entropic propensities are tamed on to the drafting tables of planners and moulded with techniques of the disegno and the visuals arts for the aesthetic enjoyment of the feudal classes. 1900 AC and beyond, Fourth Nature. Science, capitalism and industrialisation, media and technological advancement forcefully merge into the very fabric of the earth. Enter, the age of the Anthropocene.

Among the many gloomy futures projected by a variety of thinkers, philosophers like Timothy Morton provide an unconventional and encouraging view at this peculiar condition: the Anthropocene as a non–anthropocentric age where the human species is not a given thing one can point to anymore, rather a hyperobject that is real, yet remains inaccessible. Its impact can be seen as an incessantly evolving warehouse-like organism in which the departments of digital technologies & automation, terrorism & fake news, transhumanism & singularity, genetic engineering & synthetic biology and alike advertise refuge and salvation, thus urging us to reconceptualize the offerings of an entity we used to call mother earth. The result is a hyperhabitat in which the nature–culture and the human–nonhuman distinctions have become obsolete.

The «Creature Nature» workshop series is conceived as an interrogation of the presumptions and simplified logics of nature and acts as a laboratory for opportunities of design agency – a critical, yet playful exploration of possibilities in an ecological reality of complex networks and ecosystems.