Data Ecologies

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Two FoAM and gRig presentations at the Data Ecologies workshop: “What am I doing rendering fractals?” by Steven Pickles and “On growing of worlds: whole systems in turbulent environments” by Maja Kuzmanovic:

We can perceive the universe around us as composed of many overlapping, simultaneous realities, interconnected ecologies of worlds, in which we constantly influence their patterns and are influenced by their connections. By acknowledging this interdependence, we minimise the predominance of rigidly hierarchical, reductionist or exclusive world-views - from finding alternatives to technocratic 'security theatre' or homogenous global consumerist culture, to proliferating biological and cultural diversity.

Whatever their shape or flavour, many of today's Earth-bound realities are slowly and often imperceptibly sliding towards pervasive environmental and social instability. In order to be able to perceive, experience, or act with these instabilities in mind, human-scale endeavours should become more in tune with ecological-scale transformations. This requires a shift from short-term, mechanistic 'action-response' driven tactics, to long-term, systemic and environmental reflection. Thinking which enables an integrated approach to engaging with complex issues. Moving from objects to relationships, from collections to communities, from structure to process and from contents to patterns, whole systems thinking can provide fresh perspectives to current problems. This approach is based on the assumption that inclusive and participatory cultures can generate systems, actions and behaviours that are better suited to an existence in turbulent situations.

At FoAM, we research the potentials for fertile 'design ecologies' based on whole systems thinking. These ecologies should be able to entangle physical environments and digital simulations, traditional crafts and emerging technologies, artistic and scientific endeavours. They encourage proactive engagement and problem-solving from multiple perspectives. They integrate thinking and making, ethics and aesthetics, aiming to generate and integrate realities, where the 'built' and the 'grown' are interdependent aspects of diverse and abundant patterns of life.