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Symbiocene | Our Time on Earth Exhibition

Date: 05/05/2022 - 08/29/2022

Location: Barbican Centre, London 

Project Team: Julia Watson, Smith Mordak, Buro Happold & Experts from War Khasi, Ma'dan & Subak Communities

Client: The Barbican Centre

New commission for the 'Our Time on Earth' exhibition,  'Symbiocene' looks at how Indigenous technologies are invaluable to our collective understanding of and response to the climate crisis.

The 'Symbiocene' creates a playbook for how western designers can collaborate with indigenous knowledge keepers, to create future technologies. This multimedia piece includes a soundscape, models, projection mappings, physical earth samples, photography, illustrations and videos. Representatives from the Khasis community in the North-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, the Subak community of farmers in Bali and the Ma’dan community of southern Iraq collaborated with designer and author of Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism by Julia Watson, architect and sustainability engineer Smith Mordak and Buro Happold to look at how urban environments in 2040 could benefit from incorporating Indigenous and local knowledge and technologies.  Four new Lo—TEK innovations emerged from this commission’s collaborative processes.

Our Time on Earth is a major exhibition celebrating the power of global creativity to transform the conversation around the climate emergency. Through art, design, science, music and philosophy, the exhibition presents a range of radical visions for the future of all species. Aiming to reignite respect for our essential and complex biosphere and inspire awe and wonder for our beautiful planet, the exhibition explores different ways of existing on Earth and finding ways to reconnect with them, while also looking at the role technology has to play in deepening our understanding and connection to the natural world. Our Time on Earth encourages visitors to take an active role and leave feeling empowered to make positive change.


Earthbound Report, Jeremy Williams

“An exhibition that balances the beauty of the earth and the urgency of the environmental crisis.”
Photo Gallery
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