Dezeen Magazine

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg at Dezeen Day

"We're selfish – we're trying to solve problems for ourselves" says Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

An optimistic vision of the future in an era of climate breakdown is one that doesn't involve humans, said British artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg at Dezeen Day.

During her keynote, Ginsberg questioned why scientists and designers try and create new and "better" life forms and consider relocation to other planets when we have failed to care for what we already have.

"There's this paradox that humans are so desperate to create new life forms, but we are terrible at looking after what already exists," said Ginsberg.

"The problem is that 'better' is really a human idea," she explained. "We're selfish – we're trying to solve problems for ourselves, and those problems have human measures."

"Why is Mars better with humans?"

During the talk, Ginsberg spoke about her first solo exhibition, Better Nature, which is at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery until 24 November 2019, which includes The Wilding of Mars.

"The way to make something optimistic is just to leave people out," said Ginsberg, speaking about the simulation of a wilderness on Mars, which would grow over a million years and would be seeded with sixteen different plant species.

"Why is Mars better with humans, and why are humans going to be better on Mars?" she asked.

Ginsberg praised the Broken Nature show by MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, who also spoke at Dezeen Day. Antonelli argued in an interview with Dezeen earlier this year that the extinction of humans in the future is inevitable, a theme explored in the exhibition.

"[The show] had this very provocative idea at the centre of it that we can design a beautiful extinction for ourselves, and how we can design for that as the condition," said Ginsberg.

"What's better for nature will be better for us"

Rather than seeing humankind as better than nature or in control of it, we need to recognise that humans are just one part of the natural, Ginsberg said.

"If you think about what's better for nature, 'better' really just means survival," she said.

"In an era of climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse, we need to be thinking about what's better for nature, because what's better for nature will be better for us."

"The world is burning around us, but we can still change our behaviours," she continued. "It is up to all of us to demand change and to change things in our everyday life. So I try to remain hopeful that things could be better."

Dezeen Day took place at BFI Southbank on Wednesday, 30 October 2019. Alongside Ginsberg and Antonelli, speakers included design graduate Stacie Woolsey who created her own masters course and principal at Zaha Hadid Architects Patrik Schumacher, who joined a panel to discuss how architecture and design education can be improved.