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Betti Marenko, Martín Ávila: ‘The idea that we can design an ecology is something we should be wary of’
‘The idea that we can design an ecology is something we should be wary of’
(p. 241 – 249)

Betti Marenko, Martín Ávila

‘The idea that we can design an ecology is something we should be wary of’
In conversation with Martín Ávila and Betti Marenko

PDF, 9 pages

  • art theory
  • ecology
  • contemporary art
  • global ecology

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Betti Marenko

is a design theorist. She is reader in Design and Techno-Digital Futures at the University of the Arts London (UAL), as well as Contextual Studies Leader for Product Design at Central Saint Martins (UAL). Furthermore she is Visiting Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Her work at the intersection of philosophy and design investigates the tension between design taken as way of speculating on, and instigating, futures, and thought that addresses materiality, the virtual and the nonhuman. She is interested in repositioning design in the 21st century as a problematising tool for thinking, making and creating change. She is the co-editor of the volume Deleuze and Design (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) and her writing appears in several edited volumes, most recently: Believing in Bits: Digital Media and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2019), UnDesign: Critical Practices at the Intersection of Art and Design (Routledge, 2018), Encountering Things. Design and Theories of Things (Bloomsbury, 2017), as well as in the journals Design and Culture, Design Studies and Digital Creativity.
Other texts by Betti Marenko for DIAPHANES

Martín Ávila

is Professor of Design at the Department of Design, Interior Architecture and Visual Communication at Konstfack in Stockholm where he has taught previously as a senior lecturer. The designer and design researcher obtained a PhD in design from HDK (School of Design and Crafts) in Gothenburg, Sweden, and his thesis Devices. On Hospitality, Hostility and Design published in 2012 was awarded the prize for design research by The Swedish Faculty for Design Research and Research Education in the same year. Therein he investigates the complex reciprocal relations between human and non-human actors as well as artificial devices and designs interventions within these networks, going beyond conventional user-centred approaches and cultivating ecologies as a design strategy. More recently he has continued this approach in his postdoctoral project Symbiotic tactics (2013–2016), which has been the first of its kind to be financed by the Swedish Research Council.
Other texts by Martín Ávila for DIAPHANES
Marietta Kesting (ed.), Maria Muhle (ed.), ...: Hybrid Ecologies

The notion of ecology not only figures centrally in current debates around climate change, but also traverses contemporary discourses in the arts, the humanities, and the social and techno sciences. In its present reformulation it refers to the multi-layered and multi-dimensional nexus of reciprocities between living processes, technological and media practices, i.e. to the complex relations of human and nonhuman agents. The book Hybrid Ecologies understands ecology as an ambivalent notion, whose multivalence opens up new fields of action and yet, thanks precisely to this openness and vast applicability, at the same time raises questions not least concerning its genealogy. The interdisciplinary contributions seek to explore the political and social effects that a rethinking of community in ecological and thus also in biopolitical terms may provoke, and which consequences the contemporary notion of ecology might entail for artistic and design practices in particular. The present publication is the result of the fifth annual program of the cx centre for interdisciplinary studies, which was conceived in cooperation with the Chair of Philosophy | Aesthetic Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.