Anthophila Reveries

SPECULATIVE DESIGN
NEW YORK, NY // 2016

how might we use design as a critical lens?

What are the unintended consequences of human-centered ideologies and consumption behavior?

Anthophila Reveries is a speculative design concept that challenges our complacency with the Anthropocene and the privileged position of humans in the natural world. Specifically, it is a critical response to the ecological and social devastation possible with the loss of bees, a current reality and crisis for humanity. This project repositions the human as inferior to Anthophila (bees) and suggests the tools, environments, practices and culture within that worldview.

The final package of artifacts stem from the imaginative-rationale of a fictional residency in which humans live and work amongst Anthophila in reclaimed strip malls that have been converted to sanctuaries of preservation and honor for the vital insects. The artifacts created include a ritual-based calendar and almanac, a uniform design, field-work mask technology, customized sign-language, and various graphics that detail the scale and engineering aspects of the converted spaces.

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This project was created under the guidance of Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby with team members Ankita Roy & Chengcheng Teng.

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Project Introduction:

America’s quintessential symbols of consumption – shopping malls – have become ghosts of our wasteful attitudes. As we obsessively strive to satisfy the individual through “human-centered design,” we ignore the voiceless stakeholders in order to keep the American dream alive. Among those voiceless victims are Anthophila, better known as bees, nature’s hardest working class. Although Anthophila are our most sacred natural technology, their decline has been mostly ignored and indicates our ecological neglect and ignorance.

Stanford University’s Department of Geotechonomics (DoG) believes, because you can no longer disbelieve, that the natural world is built. In order to reimagine a world in which humans are not at the center, the DoG has pioneered the Anthophila Residency, a one-year commitment of science and service. Located in Oakland, CA, the department has repurposed an abandoned shopping mall of 14 acres as an experimental reverie seeking to re-prioritize our priorities. There, time & structure, scale & space, and comfort & lifestyle have taken on a new dimension. A cohort of visionaries including sensory architects, bouquet engineers, and biosphere strategists work amongst the honorable Anthophila.