OpenDoTT Studio is a new fellow-led collaborative space, organised as part of our virtual secondment at Mozilla, Berlin. The fellows will take turns hosting talks, workshops, round tables and research activities associated with topics such as Open Technology, Internet Health, Privacy, Security, the Internet of Things, making and community-based projects. The space will be malleable – allowing for serendipitous emergence within intentional lines of enquiry . Studio sessions will feature guests from the Mozilla community or wider OpenDoTT networks sharing their work and engaging in valuable discussions.
Pilot Episode – Hack the Earth!
22nd June 2021
Our pilot episode entitled ‘Hack the Earth!’ was hosted by OpenDott Fellows Felipe Fonseca and Namrata Primlani. The episode featured two speakers who are exploring connected systems through alternate forms of making, eco-design and a close connection with people and the planet.
Founder, Project Otenga – https://projectotenga.com/
A native of Assam, Kabyashree Borgohain is a design strategist and an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar. Her experience in Design and Design Education over the years gave the much-needed push to start an experimental cafe plus research lab – Project Otenga. Set inside the Ahmedabad University campus in Gujarat, India, the café encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration, organizing and providing a space for nurturing cross-disciplinary collaborations and creative convergence through the medium of food. Project Otenga started its journey as a slow cafe with slow design principles and is now growing as an experimental collaborative food and human lab.
Senior Fellow Royal College of Art, Visiting Professor Tongji University – http://thackara.com/
John Thackara is a writer, curator and event producer – and visiting professor at Tongji University – with a focus on urban-rural reconnection. He curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years – first in Amsterdam, later across India – and was commissioner of the UK social innovation biennial Dott 07, the French design biennial City Eco Lab, and the 2019 China exhibition Urban-Rural. With a focus on social, ecological and relational design, Thackara has curated biennials and place-based xskool workshops in 20 countries. He studied philosophy before working for ten years as a book publisher and magazine editor. He was the first director (1993—99) of the Netherlands Design Institute. He is a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art, and visiting professor at Polytechnic University of Milan and the School of Visual Arts in New York. His most recent book – How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today – was published in China in 2019.
Conversations at the Studio
Can the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in the Amazon cause a tornado in India? Is it possible that the mining of heavy metals for the phones in our pockets could have brought about conditions for the Covid-19 pandemic? If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the last year, it is that our life on this planet is a series of connected systems – the way we live and work, our social, political and cultural lives, the technologies that we design are all interconnected and each manifest consequences that reach much further than we can account for.
John Thackara presented the idea of relational design- the forging of relationships between places, people and the environment. We need to rethink our relationship to technology by reinventing and redesigning our ecological relationships. John’s soil tasting event and the presentation of a relational dead fish keep us questioning how, as designers of connected systems we can look at how the things we design can be rooted in sustainable practice and connections to the earth. Kabyashree shared an ethnographic account of her engagement with the ecology and economy in the town of Nongpok Sekmai, Manipur in rural North-East India. Her construction of an eco-lab in the town as a ‘living lab’ points to a transition in the way that designers are thinking about smart villages, smart homes, smart communities and smart cities. Who are the people, the contexts that hover on the periphery of our mainstream visions of a smart world? How must designers engage with communities to take the ecological contexts into account? How can we rethink the idea of a maker space in an indigenous community- what tools , materials, technologies and systems will we use to build the ecologically sustainable smart community of the future ?