Our Artificial Nature daylights the cultural, social, and technological processes emerging within design discourse in response to the environmental imperatives of our time. The in-progress research of the Center of Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) core and affiliated research faculty at the GSD provides a window onto the often-invisible mechanics of the built environment that allow us to see, analyze, and design our future world in new and yet-unimagined ways. The collective body of work explores the challenging space between empirical and cultural information, scalable systems and local relevance, and data and design.
The exhibition calls attention to design practice as the creation of the artificial and the imagination of our constructed environment in a moment when our designed and natural worlds are fused. In this context the built environment accounts for 39% of global carbon emissions and our concept of our environmental change is shifting from a bucolic organic system to be dominated or restored toward an entangled system of biological, cultural, and technological processes. This quiet, hopeful thread of design research, emerging from the multiplicity of 21st century design narratives, strives for positive environmental impact. It addresses the present ecological paradigm by embracing degrowth as much as growth, and process as much as artifact in the deployment of design for the meaningful transformation of our shared world.
On the tenth anniversary of the Center for Green Buildings and Cities, the exhibition aims to situate the emerging research within a history of design for environmental change and solidify a dialogue around a new paradigm for environmental design. Positioned outside the framework of technological optimism and pessimism, Our Artificial Nature showcases our role as creators of the artificial, and designers of synthetic processes that engage continuously-becoming artifacts and environments informed by networked structures – from grounded, situated, and analog systems of knowledge to artificial intelligence and data-rich systems of information.