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In 1982, Richard Buckminster Fuller visited the New Alchemy Institute, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to open a new geodesic dome. Frail of body but still sharp of mind, the 87-year-old architect was something of a countercultural guru by this stage, thanks to his “spaceship Earth” philosophy and his forward-looking designs, not least the dome.

Lightweight, efficient, simple to construct and futuristic, domes became a hippy cliche in the 70s, but the New Alchemists’ dome was a little different. Designed by Fuller’s disciple Jay Baldwin, it was the first “pillow dome”: made of triangular panels of transparent plastic inflated with argon gas, which improved its insulation properties.

Inside the pillow dome was a miniature forest of plants, tropical fish ponds and a ripening fig tree. Fuller nodded with approval. “He said, ‘She’s beautiful,’” recalls Nancy Jack Todd, co-founder of the New Alchemy Institute (NAI), along with her husband John. “He turned around and said to John with this happy smile: ‘This is what I’ve always wanted to see: my architecture with your biology.’ He called the work we were doing ‘the hope of the world’.” The New Alchemists’ alternative was a harmonious system of organic farming, renewable energy, sustainable architecture, waste treatment and ecosystem restoration. No pesticides or chemicals, no fossil fuels, no waste, no pollution, low impact, energy efficient. In other words, they were doing 50 years ago what we’re now realising we should have been doing all along.

[In his interview for the article] rather than feeling bleak about the future, John Todd is surprisingly optimistic. He recently published a book called Healing Earth, part-autobiography, part-manual on how to save the world. Its opening line reads: “I am writing this book based on the belief that humanity will soon become involved in a deep and abiding worldwide partnership with nature.” Yes, the planet is in crisis, but rather than what the New Alchemists called “doomwatch science” – monitoring environmental decline – John Todd has always been focused on practical solutions. “The more we weave together the knowledge that’s been accumulated in the last 100 years, the more we can do things that we never dreamed of,” he says. “We don’t have to invent anything; we just have to pay attention to what’s been learned.”

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This is an extract from the Observer 30 Sept 2019 regarding the recently published books;
A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise Of Ecological Design by Nancy Jack Todd
Living Lightly on the Earth: Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island 1974‑76 by Steven Mannell 

Discarded was a small solo print show at the Heart arts venue in Headingley, Leeds from March 2019.

In this series of monoprints, I have been particularly interested in taking an impression from discarded pieces of personal and family history. I’ve usually found these objects – photo albums, postcards, scrap-books and letters – in boxes of miscellaneous items at auction rooms. I am intrigued by the private and personal stories that are suggested by these once-treasured objects and yet unsettled by their abandonment and disposal.

 

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‘Activism may be the first new artform of the Twenty First century’ – Peter Weibel
Global Activism: Art and Conflict in the Twenty First century, (Cambridge MA; MIT Press, 2015) 

Following the completion of my PhD and graduation in July 2018, I have been undertaking a series of printing projects alongside the monthly All Ears events. I have also become more closely involved with climate change activism. Much of the art work that I have undertaken in the last eight years has been concerned with exploring the intellectual, emotional and cultural impacts of the increasingly unstable climate and weather conditions. I have tried to join a conversation regarding futures that are worth working towards and creating work that points toward new beginnings. Perhaps inevitably this had lead to me becoming more directly involved with the movement to radically re-think the priorities for government and society at large. I first became aware of Extinction Rebellion in November 2018 when the the group occupied five bridges in London. Since then I have attended the Spring up-rising in Bristol in March, the Spring rebellion in London in April (a particularly significant action for me personally) and the Victoria Bridge occupation in Leeds in July. Extinction Rebellion.

Victoria Bridge, Leeds July 2019

Spring Rebellion, London April 2019

Spring up-rising, Bristol March 2019