Future Cities II (2013) London, UK

Living Water – Water Living: bodies and ocean architectures.

2nd Design as Research Conference: AVATAR Other Worlds, University of Greenwich, 11-12 Apr 2013


How deep are you prepared to go? Performing as a body of water, in a body of water, therein relays another world where the inscription and transmission of data and life is amalgamated. By drawing on memories, artifacts, and insights gained developing a performance-as-practice-in-research praxis called aquabatics, Pell describes an aqueous relationship between the body and its environment as syzergistic – like the relationship between an egg and a yoke. Of her own inner world, she attempts to make sense of her own existence (real and illusory) and that of the ecological environment to create new works of live art. She does so by combining contemporary performance with commercial diving technologies and protocols, to craft improvised live performance and choreographed post-dive media artifacts. Of the exterior world, the artist looks more broadly for signs that humans are discovering themselves as architects of aquabatics. In this milieu, we are made largely of water. Water has memory. Water stores information. It even has computational potentials. If water can be programmed, choreographed and orchestrated, our bodies and oceans become stable, next generation digital mediums. As a thought experiment therefore, Pell [re]members the impact of nature as a programmable toolkit to posit bodies and ocean architectures as the central technologies of future cities. Reframing Bernard Stiegler’s body technology and expanding on Leroi-Gourhan evolution, the artist imagines a fantastic future city where the technicity of ‘water’ is located as the principal material of construction and the memory agent of all living systems. As artists and creative innovators can we employ the principals of our crafts, practices and philosophies to determine the architectures of our future? In short, Living water – Water Living examines the possibility of programming water to create another world.

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AVATAR (Advanced Virtual And Technological Architectural Research)

Future Cities 2.0 was a 2 day event held by the AVATAR (Advanced Virtual And Technological Architectural Research) group which is a cross disciplinary, research active architectural design group that examines the impact of emerging new technologies on the practice of the built environment and wider culture. “Living Water – Water Living” proposed the concept of aquabatics and water as an architectural element itself. Daring to defy currently assumed physics, Dr. Sarah Jane Pell used visual provocation and speculative fiction to take the audience on a thought experiment to another world: there they lived underwater and where all data flowed through aquatic architectures. Dr. Rachel Armstrong transported us into the future with exquisite dirt: providing the science and provocation to imagine fertilizing lunar regolith and terraforming inhospitable terrains into abundant grounds for new life; Koert van Mensvoort from Eindhoven University of Technology, spoke eloquently about the concept of Next Nature, which considers whether technology has a nature of its own outside human control. Mark Garcia introduced paracosmic phenomena and the imaginative space between reality and the other worlds we inhabit, and how we can use this as a strategy in art, architecture and the construction of future cities; Neil Spiller shared homage to his mentor, surrealism and challenged us to see both as a philosophy foundation for building other worlds. The final Keynote Speaker was Greg Lynn of Greg Lynn FORM and one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People of the 21st Century” as nominated by Time Magazine. He presented a series of investigations – both realised and proposed – projects combining the realities of design and construction with the speculative, theoretical and experimental potentials of writing and teaching. All speakers joined a panel to answer formal questions. The second day included an introduction by Rob Swinney, Project Leader of Perosephone, Icarus Interstellar 100 year Starship Project; and formal discussions between the AVATAR group and the speakers towards future collaborations and the advancement of ideas for future 'living architecture' cities.

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Keynote Speakers: Future Citites 2.0: Other Worlds. 2nd Design as Research Conference, University of Greenwich, Maritime Campus, London, UK, 11-12 Apr 2013

Future Citites 2.0 Conference Flyer 2013

Official Poster for the Future Citites 2.0: Other Worlds. 2nd Design as Research Conference hosted by AVATAR (Advanced Virtual And Technological Architectural Research) group, University of Greenwich, Maritime Campus, London, UK | 11th April 2013
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