Materials and making for our supernatural future
Humankind used to take the materials nature offered and make them into something new. Now, there’s a new stage in the cycle, as nature takes human materials and transforms them once more. The making materials of today become the mined resources of tomorrow. Plastics are written into the fossil record. Industrial waste streams decay into intriguing new substances. We have entered the Anthropocene era – a new geological age where human making has realigned the processes of nature, forever blurring the boundaries between the natural and the man-made.
Geologically speaking, the fruits of the Anthropocene are yet to be witnessed. However, the acceleration of human industry has already made irreversible and permanent changes to the planet, to the point that artificial geological phenomena are being documented worldwide. As a result, designers are beginning to consider not only the complications caused by these vast ecological changes, but also the potential. Indeed can we use design ingenuity to gain value from anthropogenic matter? Can we reconsider waste as viable and valuable raw material resource? Can designers unlock the superpowers of materials to engineer new properties or behaviours?
Experimental design collective Dutch Invertuals are collaborating with FranklinTill on Mutant Matter – an exhibition of radical design concepts and investigations into possibilities of our new material future.