PAD studio were very kindly invited to participate in an exciting workshop at Bath University, contemplating the notion of ‘Future Habitation’, particularity how we may develop this idea in light of recent technological advances and the impact of Climate Change. The event was kindly organised by The Edge Arts and formed one of a series of workshops held during Global Climate Change Week (10-16 Oct 2016) and as part of The Edge Arts platform, ‘The Next 50 Years Of Knowledge’. This will look at how new ideas may have cogent impacts on health, ecology, learning, culture and international standards of living. To picture these futures, The Edge building on the Bath University campus will become the site for a collective understanding on such matters, marking the University of Bath’s 50th Anniversary since it was founded as a higher education institution in 1966.
Led by artist Emma Smith, ‘Practices For Future Habitation’, was a public, cross-disciplinary gathering with the aim to consider future capacities for human habitation with a focus on the body and sustainable structures. Bringing together a group of experts (that’s us apparently!) across the disciplines of art, architecture, eco-design, computer science, sociology and earth science, the event asks what we may develop for co-habiting successfully in our future world? Taking as its premise, the view that all matter is in a constant state of becoming; this summit asks how human cognition and practices of being in (and of) the world should evolve whilst ensuring positive ecological impact.
Emma’s practice is fascinating. She is intrigued by language and all its nuances and appropriately, the day’s proceedings were begun by educating the group on the etymology of the word ‘habitation’:
*habiting v. in the process of creating practices of place. The term habitation derives from habitare ORIGIN C18 from Latin ‘it dwells’. To dwell is to live but also to think and to speak at length about. [Emma Smith, Practice of Place, Bedford Press, 2015, p.20].
As the day unfolded, we discussed a number of different scenarios. PAD approached the problem with reference to the elements identified by Vitruvius, ‘Commodity, Firmness and Delight’. All elements are still vital in an era of virtual enhancement. Particular emphasis was placed on the notion of ‘delight’, and how this may be driven by understanding of both place and landscape.
It was a wonderful day of praxis with friends old and new. We at PAD hope this was the first in a series of many stimulating discussions of these topics.