From Sept. 17-25, 2016, the London Design Festival will feature an art installation inspired by Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 book Ecotopia. In the book, a journalist visits a newly-formed country in the Pacific Northwest that’s built on sustainable permaculture principles. The installation will explore ways that “Utopian thinking” can help us find solutions to our modern-day environmental challenges. According to Permaculture Magazine:
“The Ecotopia installation is a contribution to the broad discussion on what this shared vision might be. Rather than merely speculating, it will showcase the visions of leading scientists, academics, philosophers, designers and architects who are currently looking at climate change and sustainable solutions. Ultimately, it aims to propose an envisioning process based on expert knowledge.”
The project itself will be multi-sensory, with illustrations of these futuristic visions hanging on the walls. The images will be complemented by tangible examples of permaculture design: bark chippings lining the floor; ferns and other plants sitting on a rammed-earth structure; and sustainable materials like carbon fiber.
The installation hopes to offer a counterpoint to a culture of consumerism:
“Our current obsession with ‘stuff’ is the cause of much of the damage done to our planet. It is vital that we hold out a vision of Ecotopia so people can imagine a new life beyond consumption and unbridled growth. The mindless acquisition of stuff must come to an end.”
The artists are partnering with Permaculture Magazine to develop the installation, and are raising money for it on CrowdFunder. The London Design Festival attracts thousands of visitors, and will provide a unique opportunity for the artists to share their Ecotopian vision with a wide audience who may not be familiar with the concept.