Airmotion / XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival
Our Woobi Play kids mask is being featured in this year exhibition, continuing our belief that good design and greater accountability can be achieved to create greater impact for social change
The XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival, highlights the concept of restorative design and studies the state of the threads that connect humans to their natural environments––some frayed, others altogether severed. In exploring architecture and design objects and concepts at all scales and in all materials, Broken Nature celebrates design’s ability to offer powerful insight into the key issues of our age, moving beyond pious deference and inconclusive anxiety. By turning its attention to human existence and persistence, the XXII Triennale will promote the importance of creative practices in surveying our species’ bonds with the complex systems in the world, and designing reparations when necessary, through objects, concepts, and new systems. Even to those who believe that the human species is inevitably going to become extinct at some point in the (near? far?) future, design presents the means to plan a more elegant ending. It can ensure that the next dominant species will remember us with a modicum of respect: as dignified and caring, if not intelligent, beings.
Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival prompts a shift in our thinking about the environment—here, treated intersectionally to include human and animal life at all scales, and economic, social, and political systems in addition to natural ecosystems. The XXII Triennale will further define the idea of restorative design and will gather examples new and old, from different domains and with different applications, in order to identify a new field of research and action.
Under these circumstances, it is not enough anymore for designers to be politically and chemically correct. “Organic,” “green,” “environmental,” and “sustainable” are buzzwords that have been applied in earnest to design—including food and fashion—over the last two decades, as have the terms “ethical” and “aware.” Yet, despite these noble intentions toward humans, animals, plants, and places, we are still—as individuals and communities—tracking a course of destruction through overconsumption and disregard for countless forms of life, including our own. Designers can change flashy trends into more meaningful strategies imbued with agency by encouraging new behaviors using objects––from physical to digital items, speculative scenarios to functional tools, architectures to video games, and construction processes for new biological entities to old-school mending kits––as prompts and foils. Citizens of the world have as much responsibility as designers. Broken Nature thus demands us all to collectively apply our resources in order to constructively repair the damaged ecosystems that we inhabit and shape.
The monitoring and reparation process will require concerted efforts by interdisciplinary and international teams, by companies, industries and governments, and at grassroots levels. In every case, design is a fundamental connective participant. Design can provide not only tactical creativity but also focus and strategy. The aim is to reconsider our relationship with nature beyond pious deference and inconclusive anxiety and instead move toward a more constructive sense of indebtedness to the environment.
Broken Nature is composed of a thematic exhibition and a number of international participations solicited through official channels. It will run from March 1 to September 1, 2019.
Special Mention: Woobi Play Kilo Design and Airmotion Laboratories