Short-comings and Vulner-abilities
Published in K. Fletcher, L. St. Pierre, and M. Tham (Eds.), Design and Nature: A Partnership, London and New York: Earthscan/Routledge, September 2019, 111-117.
In a somewhat speculative, participatory study we tried to design a
consequential entanglement between people and plants. “We” refers to
a PhD student (the fermentation enthusiast) and a product designer (the
horticulture enthusiast) and 22 plant-loving participants. Over two months
in spring 2017 we practically explored our personal role in bio-material
circulations. Yet our negligence for the basic needs of nutrients-transforming
bacteria made us extremely susceptible to floundering plants and
inconvenient confessions, and postponed little breakthroughs.
Organised as a dialogue between nature and design, the book this article was featured in explores design ideas,
opportunities, visions and practices through relating and uncovering experience of
the natural world. Presented as an edited collection of 25 wide-ranging short chapters, the book explores
the possibility of new relations between design and nature, beyond human mastery and
understandings of nature as resource and by calling into question the longstanding role
for design as agent of capitalism. The book puts forward ways in which design can form
partnerships with living species and examines designers’ capacities for direct experience,
awe, integrated relationships and new ways of knowing.
Keywords: design/nature dialog, change experiment, genuineness, human frailty, generative vulnerability.