We are far beyond irreversibly having changed nature. Chances are, however - sooner or later, nature may succeed in “changing us back into itself”. It is easy to imagine that this could happen in the form of a disaster where humanity takes a lot of other species with us down the drain (as the script goes). Perhaps it is less easy, but a lot more interesting to imagine ourselves setting out to learn and to realign our culture according to the inner workings of our ecosystem.
A common trap when thinking of nature and culture, is the notion that there is an inherent disunion between the two. As secularized protestants, we Norwegians may have a tendency to think of technology as an alien phenomenon to nature, a sort of disobedience. Yet, transgression seems to be right at the core of the human being, along with our will to evolve, and to seek the impossible. In other words, it’s absolutely natural to want to take a bite of whatever forbidden fruit is laid before us.
At Elementa we are convinced that our conscious efforts towards sustainability in design cannot arise from a guilty conscience. The project must be rooted in an imaginative, vital impulse to create solutions and to explore the infinite universe, not in a half-hearted wish to minimize the bottomless damage of previous generations.
If our notion that humanity are to “be changed back to nature” makes sense on a level – we would much rather go upright into the jungle to learn, than being dragged in – “in later days, in uglier ways.”
How can we renew the engagement of the Scandinavian design tradition with nature in real ways? Which cross-disciplinary bonds should be cultivated in order to make new new paths towards real sustainable living?