SIGNS of Intelligent Life

About This Project

SIGNS of LIFE: cross(x)dressing buildings for pollinators, people and possibilities. (or perhaps SIGNS of Intelligent LIFE)

Outdoor signs printed on tyvek* can not only signal anthropocentric messages but also respond to the pollinator crisis, and in doing so explore mutualistic systems design.

Mutualism is an under-celebrated subset of symbiotic relationships in which both parties benefit. However it is not deliberately designed–as if engineers, designers and human sign-makers don’t understand the the way that systems work. Most of the the world’s biomass is composed of mutualists: organisms in forests, meadows, corals are involved in symbiotic associations. I am assembling the evidence for and examples of mutualism in urban infrastructure; as a fundamental and desirable property of healthy urban systems; as something we can design that can cross(x)promote both economic and ecological interests and as a display of of our response-ability.

Most people have heard of the pollinator crisis; and most of us understand the need to align economic and socio-ecological incentives. Using signs as visual evidence that we act on our collective knowledge—knowledge that pollinators are in need of support and additional resources; or knowledge that leaves are the best technology available to improve air quality for instance. The intelligent response might be to incorporate vegetation into barren urban environments. Signs can simultaneously signal several important messages beyond what may be printed in text – and like the LifeCycle project, cross promote for the common good.

I gave the following definition of Resilience for the founding issue or Resilience Journal:
Resilience means response – ability, or a systematic capacity to respond in ways that improve shared environmental health. When applied to the anthropocentric context, where natural, cultural and designed responses are interdependent, resilience is not a one-time testable parameter but requires systems of experimenting that foster the capabilities of androgenic response.

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