What is the nature of a 21st century human?

Call for participants!

14 Mar 2014

This masterclass by Rachel Armstrong and Arne Hendriks raises questions that challenge our preconceptions about the nature of humanity in the 21st century.


What is the nature of a 21st century human? -

The masterclass investigates what a culture based on humans-as-ecology might be, in contrast to the idea of humans-as-machines that shapes our modern world.

Four fundamental pillars of existence are explored during the masterclass namely: the body, technology, environment and community. Participants will be recruited from across the sciences and the humanities and work in groups to produce an alpha prototype of what it means to be an ‘ecological’ human. Fundamental philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality will be raised as well as the nature of the human body, how this may be extended through assemblage-based technology and what kinds of practices constitute a meaningful ecological existence with our environment.

Rachel Armstrong is a Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) specializing in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction, University of Greenwich, London. Rachel is a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture,’ which suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She has recently been added to the 2014 Citizens of the Next Century List, by Future-ish, listed as one of the Wired 2013 Smart List, as one of the 2013 ICON 50 and one of the ten people in the UK that may shape the UK’s recovery by Director Magazine in 2012.

Arne Hendriks is an artist, art historian and exhibition maker with a primary interest in defining and redefining the paradigms of human existence on Earth. His work explores the transformative power of the creative impulse and the importance of fundamental free scientific research. In his speculative design research, the strange and the familiar continuously swap places to provoke conflicting perspectives which speak about the radicality of everyday experience and the familiarity of radical intervention. Arne is also the director of the Dept. of WHAT IF, a recent start-up that investigates, formulates and disseminates alternative near-future scenarios as yardsticks to understand where we are and where we could be going. Hendriks is a coach at Next Nature within the department of Industrial Design of the Technical University in Eindhoven.

How to apply?
This masterclass is taking place on 28, 29, 30 March, 2014 during the Age of Wonder festival. Professional artists, designers, writers, researchers and thinkers are encouraged to apply. Please, send your motivation why you want to join (max. 500 words) with a short CV/biography before March 14, via email to info[at]baltanlaboratories[dot]org. The fee for participants is 50,- Euros, including drinks and Age of Wonder festival passe-partout.

For more information go to: http://www.baltanlaboratories.org/article/workshop/what-is-the-nature-of-a-21st-century-human