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Prof. Beth Ferguson Designs and Curates “Tools for a Warming Planet” Exhibition

UC Davis Assistant Professor of Design Beth Ferguson is a designer and curator for the exhibition “Tools for a Warming Planet,” a collection of speculative and scientific field tools for environmental exploration of climate change. The installation is currently on view at Arts Santa Monica in Barcelona, Spain, through Aug. 21. From there it will be shown as part of Ars Electronia in Linz, Austria this September.

The project combines practices of scientific research and artistic intervention by compiling tools from various modes of investigation. As the climate becomes a more volatile and figured actor in our lives, our methods of ‘knowing’ the environment are changing. Observations in nature, mapping, community engagement, and data collection are changing roles, from exploring unknown or uncharted areas to establishing new metrics, representations, datasets, and relationships in otherwise ‘known’ territories.

For the project, Ferguson collaborated with Sara Dean, assistant professor at California College of the Arts, and co-founder of IF/THEN Studio, and Marina Monsonís, a visual artist and the facilitator of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art Kitchen Lab from Barcelona, Spain.

Ferguson contributed a number of projects to the installation including “Micromobility Hub,” “Emerji’ with Dean and “Public Sediment” with Associate Professor of Design Brett Snyder. Lean more about this work at her Adapting City Lab.

In addition, Ferguson mentored a number of alumni and students on their contributions including graduate students Ofelia Viloche Pulido on “Natural Dye Garden” and Alejandra Ruiz on “Waste Altas” and alumni Jovita Lois Wattimena (B.A. design, ’21) on “Kali,” Sima Pirmoradi (M.F.A., design, ’21) on “CJ-2050” and Eldy Lazaro (M.F.A., design, ’20) on “Myco-Electronics” which was developed through Assistant Professor of Design Katia Vega’s Interactive Organisms Lab.  

The installation will be exhibited at Ars Electronica 2022 Festival in Linz, Austria, Sept. 7–11.

Recognized as the world’s preeminent festival of art, technology and society, the Ars Electronica Festival was designed to take the digital revolution’s emergence as an occasion to scrutinize potential futures. Since its launch in 1979, the festival has become more extensive and multifaceted with symposia, exhibitions, performances, concerts and interventions spanning a broad arc from speculative futuristic scenarios to analytical considerations, from provocative actionism to philosophical debate.

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