Facing contemporary ecological challenges with critically attuned and creatively oriented tools
About the Ecotopian Toolkit
Tool-making is a signature trait of the human species. What tools can we make, and might we require, in the age of the human, the anthropocene: a name for the present geological epoch when humans are the most potent force shaping earth’s systems? Global warming and other anthropocene challenges, including the ongoing sixth mass extinction event, often lead to apocalyptic visions, or apathy. Through the Ecotopian Toolkit initiative, we explore a longer history of the anthropocene to help represent—and respond to—our contemporary moment. Might a utopian turn help us navigate warmer, rising waters and build new forms of refuge? What tools can STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) educators in universities, museums, and non-profits design and develop via the history of utopia and its hope for better futures?
In 2017, PPEH hosted a design competition and a series of workshops to build ecotopian tools for WetLand, the art boat-meets-science lab conceived by then-PPEH Artist-in-Residence Mary Mattingly, in cooperation with Bartram’s Garden. PPEH now welcomes a new cohort of ecotopian toolmakers annually, each exploring what it might mean to face contemporary ecological challenges with critically attuned and creatively oriented tools. Each artist/team's project is highlighted in a public demonstration led by the artist/team, documented on the PPEH and Schuylkill Corps websites, and archived and included in ongoing Toolkit initiatives. Each recipient is also awarded a $1,000 prize. The next call for ecotopian tools will go out in Spring 2019.
2018 Ecotopian Toolkit
Deirdre Murphy, "Mapping Movements: The Invisible Highways of Urban Birds at the Water's Edge"
FICTILIS, "Wastewater Walk"
Environmental Performance Agency, "Embodied Scientist Parkour"
2017 Ecotopian Toolkit for the Anthropocene Conference Keynote Speakers:
Click here for the 2017 Ecotopian Toolkit for the Anthropocene Conference full site.
Writer, historian, environmental and human rights activist
"ART, DISASTER, UTOPIA"
Director at Earth Institute; former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for
"CAN SCIENTISTS BE ACTIVISTS?"
A PERIOD OF ANIMATE EXISTENCE
(Dan Rothenberg, Mimi Lien, Troy Herion)
Kathering Unger Ballie (April 10,2017) Penn Program in Environmental Humanities Competiton Winners Presented at Bartram's Garden. Penn News
Samantha Melamed (May 25, 2017) A Giant Water Filter for the Schuylkill? Philly Artists Respond to Environmental Challenge. Philly.com
Bethany Wiggin (Spring 2017) Forgotten Places and Radical Hope on Philadelphia's Tidal Schuylkill River. Open Rivers:Rethinking The Mississippi, no. 6