How AI might be used to enhance local knowledge

[Indigenous peoples have a closer relationship with the ecologies of their land than those who practice ‘production agriculture’. But their intimate, fine-grained knowledge can always be enhanced. Sarah Kaushik (above) describes a system in which biodata collected from plants could be ‘heard’ by the farmer as music] I wrote the Foreword (below) to a new […]

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The Anthroponaut’s Wordbook, by Karin Fink. A prologue

The following is my prologue to The Anthroponaut’s Wordbook, by Karin Fink, which has just been published by Postmedia Books. The scale of the societal and environmental challenges we face can be debilitating. Feeling powerless to change the course of events, the inclination to switch off can feel like self-defence. Karin Fink’s response is both […]

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Re-wilding the Bauhaus: what its foundation course should be like today

To mark its centenary year, the Bauhaus published Design Rehearsals: Conversations About Bauhaus Lessons. My contribution was a response to images from Oskar Schlemmer’s class on ‘The Human’. I’m re-posting it now on the occasion of the @BauhausSeas launch event on 20 May. The Man portrayed in these images is a lonely one. A preoccupation […]

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Cities as Lifeworlds

Ahead of a talk in Milan at the Politecnico di Milano, I was interviewed about relational ecology and design Q: Sometimes “sustainable” ways of living are often more expensive. They are more elite, how can we make them more accessible? A: Good question. Food is an obvious example, but many ‘green’ products and services seem […]

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john chris jones and ‘designing designing’

Its publisher, Bloomsbury, describes designing designing as “one of the most extraordinary books on design ever written”. It’s therefore welcome news that – after a period out of print – this classic book has now been reissued. (That’s my copy in the photograph above; it just arrived). The following text is included as an afterword. […]

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Back To The Land 2.0

This reading list is for students on the summer course I run together with Konstfack, in Sweden. These texts span new ways to think about food and food systems – how to be, as well as what to do, in a food context.

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The relationship of my texts to a dead fish

The following is a conversation with John Wood, professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, and joint editor (with Julia Lockheart) of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice. Please cite: Thackara, John (2021), ‘The relationship of texts to dead fish’, Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 14:1, pp. 5–11, doi: doi.org Keywords: relational ecology; theory […]

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Sensory Orders

For an exhibition called Sensory Orders at Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts, in Gdansk, 32 artists, designers and writers were asked: “What sensory conditions are you are working with under present conditions? What sensory orders do you see emerging in the social-political environment around us?” My theory of change is borrowed from Ilya Prigogene: “When […]

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Bottom-up Biodiversity

Whether connecting schools to farms in France, daylighting rivers in Mexico, or rewilding grasslands in Patagonia, we’re learning how to ‘do’ biodiversity well. Fifteen minute read. Illustration © BAFU | Pierre Dubois, collectif Marie-LouiseThis text was commissioned by the Swiss Ministry of the Environment, FOEN. It is also available online in these other languages:German Biodiversität […]

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