Information Gardens

Brian Eno, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Mark Pagel, Jennifer Jacquet, John Brockman [10.16.11]
Topic:
Introduction By: John Brockman

On Sunday, October 16th, Edge, at the invitation of London's leading curator,  and long-time collaborator, Hans Ulrich Obrist (HUO), co-director of the Serpentine Gallery, participated in The Serpentine Gallery Garden Marathon, the sixth in the Gallery’s acclaimed Marathon series. The Garden Marathon explored the concept of the garden.

As Obrist noted,

"A product of the creative encounter between the man-made and the natural, between order and disorder, the garden can offer productive metaphors for the interactions between human life and time, care, thought or space."

"The event is directly inspired by the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, designed by Peter Zumthor. The encounter of architecture and garden creates a contemplative space that is both set within – and meditatively separated from – the wider surroundings of Kensington Gardens.

"Participations will range from the fields of horticulture, design and architecture to explore the creation of gardens and their spatial, urban and scientific importance, through to works by artists and readings by poets and writers exploring the significance of the garden in our experience of the world."

[Photo: Stefano Boeri, Vertical Forest, © Stefano Boeri] 

Other recent collaborations between Edge and HUO have included "What is your Formula, Your Equation, Your Algorithm: Formulae for the 21st Century" in 2007. "Maps for the 21st Century" in 2010.  HUO and I have also had the pleasure of writing about each other. See "Brockman's Taste for Science, or how to entertain the smartest people"  by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and "A Rule of the Game: A Talk with Hans Ulrich Obrist  on Edge. 

INFORMATION GARDENS consisted of talks by Mark Pagel, Jennifer Jacquet, and Brian Eno.


 

John Brockman
In Conversation with:

Mark Pagel, Cities as Gardens
"Up until 10,000 years ago there were no permanent settlements and all human groups lived by hunting and gathering. Then agriculture was discovered and everything changed. Now a small number of people could supply food for the rest and the first cities arose. Every since that time there has been a steady movement of people out of our original arcadia and into cities, such that now over half the world lives in them. But why given that cities have historically been targets of attack and places of crime and where diseases fester and spread? The answer is that cities have acted as gardens of our prosperity, creativity and innovations and their continued existence is vital to fitting the projected 9 billion people onto this planet. Surprisingly, they are the new 'green centres' of the world."

MARK PAGEL is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Professor of Evolutionary Biology; Head of the Evolution Laboratory at the University of Reading; Author Oxford Encyclopaedia of Evolution; co-author of The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Biology. Forthcoming book Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind.


Jennifer Jacquet, Shame Totem v.2.0
"Throughout the 19th century, native tribes that spanned the north coast of North America erected shame totem poles to signal to the community that certain individuals or groups had transgressed. This art is resurrected with a modernized, garish, digitally rendered 3-D shame pole to represent the most shameful corporations – chosen with the assistance of 500 people based in the U.S. who surveyed about the corporations that have most negatively affected society. The talk will describe the relationship between gardens and shame, a historical view on shame totems, the specific concept for this work, and details of its creation."

JENNIFER JACQUET is a Postdoctoral Researcher, Fisheries Centre/Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia; Research interests incude environmental sustainability (particularly fish), the evolution and function of guilt, honor, and shame, and the role of information technology in shaping environmental action.



Brian Eno, Composers as Gardeners
"My topic is the shift from 'architect' to 'gardener', where 'architect' stands for 'someone who carries a full picture of the work before it is made', to 'gardener' standing for 'someone who plants seeds and waits to see exactly what will come up'. I will argue that today's composer are more frequently 'gardeners' than 'architects' and, further, that the 'composer as architect' metaphor was a transitory historical blip."

BRIAN ENO is an Artist; Composer; Recording Producer: U2, Cold Play, Talking Heads, Paul Simon; Recording Artist ( Drums Between the Bells, Small Craft on a Milk SeaEverything That Happens Will Happen TodayAnother Green World).