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Creative Learning

Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines—Last May 6, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Tacloban City, thanks to my ongoing art residency with Plan International. Tacloban was a city that was devastated by Supertyphoon Haiyan / Yolanda in 2013. I founded The Apocalypse Project around the same time, and this city figures well in my talks.

Four years later, the city has shown amazing physical recovery. A ship that ran aground has been turned into a memorial:

Another ship that went aground

I hopped on a tricycle and paid my respects to one of the mass graves for Haiyan victims:

A mass grave in Tacloban for Haiyan / Yolanda victims

I was a bit alarmed at people who rebuilt their houses by the sea:

People rebuilt their houses by the sea

Resilience involves adaptive design. Here is a new sign that alerts for storm surges, which is a new term the residents learned, as the waves had never been that high before:

Storm surge sign

I tried to put myself in the position of people who lost their houses. Even the big ones didn’t stand a chance:

A house devastated by Haiyan

The next day was my workshop on art and climate change. I was a bit nervous—for the past years I had to encourage people to widen their imaginations on climate change events, and here I was with young people who had experienced way more than I had:

Workshop time!

We made some perfumes for The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store:

Perfume making

And made science fiction shadow puppet theater:

Shadow puppet theater workshop

perfumes

We also made sculptures for a new project I’ll be releasing in a few months:

sculpture of a tree that fell down because of the superstorm

 

It was the kids’ first brush with polymer clay, and it was fun toasting these in the oven.

 

Sculpture time! How lovely are these!

 

perfumes and sculptures

The kids’ favorite activity was building resilient communities using paper:

Cutting up paper infrastructure and nature for climate resilient communities!

 

Resilient architecture building!

 

It was a true honor to work with these young people. I can’t wait to turn these outcomes into a proper exhibition! Stay tuned.

Thank you to  Plan International Tacloban staff and Kim Junmookda! As always, this was super fun!

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Installation view of The Apocalypse Project: Urban Harvest at 1335Mabini

 

Here are some photos from the opening of The Apocalypse Project: Urban Harvest exhibition at 1335Mabini, including the sciart conversations afterwards.

Man, I’m tired.

More soon!

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Climate Change Couture: Colombia No. 3
Shot on location at Buenos Aires, Medellin, Colombia

This shoot was made possible by Platohedro and Casa Tres Patios, where I did a residency supported by Arts Collaboratory and the Ministry of Culture of Colombia.

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Climate Change Couture: Colombia No. 2
Photos taken in Buenos Aires, Medellin, Colombia
Model: Andersoon

This residency at Platohedro and Casa Tres Patios was supported by Arts Collaboratory and the Ministry of Culture of Colombia.

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Simon Hirsbrunner, media researcher from University Siegen, Germany, visited The Apocalypse Project: House of Futures at the Institute for the Future and sent us these lovely photos. Many thanks for coming!

Human beings are steadily living longer. What could happen when we extend our lifespan? In this project, I design artifacts and tell the story of Emily, a fictional 148-year-old woman in a future.

In the future, may we have more inclusive magazine covers that feature accomplished people of all ages.

In the future, may we have more inclusive magazine covers that feature accomplished people of all ages.

If we can live to be 150 years old, I envision that we will have technologies that will allow people to achieve this maximum longevity. Perhaps we will have tattoos that can deliver hormones for telomere repair. Or wearables that can track the number of cell divisions. Maybe we will inject young blood into ourselves to extend our lives (and maybe this blood will come from younger family members)—a macabre possibility, for sure, but so are lots of what we do to ourselves now especially if our ancestors could see them!

I also think that living longer affords us time to pursue more interests. If we want to go back to school for the second or third time, then we can! We can learn more languages, change careers, perhaps have more lovers. If we have more time, I think most of us will devote this to developing ourselves and our relationships. There are pros and cons to this future.

Browse the gallery to view The Matriarch, a story of a 148-year-old woman and a day in her life.

If we can live to be 150 years old, we might develop technologies to assist us as we age, such as tattoos to deliver hormones for telomere repair, or wearables that can tell us the number of our cell divisions.

If we can live to be 150 years old, we might develop technologies to assist us as we age, such as tattoos to deliver hormones for telomere repair, or wearables that can tell us the number of our cell divisions.

Many thanks to Emily Abrera and her family, and Rjho De Guzman.