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 cash prize. The next call for ecotopian tools will go out in Spring 2019.
Enter here to learn more about the 2018 cohort of Ecotopian Toolmakers.Begin →