Woodbury professors Joshua Stein and April Greiman were recently awarded a Nature, Art & Habitat Residency Fellowship. The 2017 residency and workshop topic will be Rock & Stone set in the rural Taleggio Valley in northern Italy. NAHR is a one-month residency (June) offered to six multidisciplinary professionals and one university level student active in the fields of bio-inspired arts, design, architecture, as well as anthropology, botany, natural sciences, literature, technology, economy or a cross-disciplinary blend of any of these. An international jury selected the residents based on their proposals.
NAHR’s multidisciplinary laboratory propels innovative and creative thinking. Annually dedicating research toward a specific natural element so as to examine the resiliency of the ecological systems located in Taleggio Valley, NAHR launched the 2017 summer residency around rock and stone: material culture and cultures of making.
Rock represents the substrate of life, and gives shapes to the natural landscape, conferring character to vernacular built environments. Rock has been used for human tools, and the tradition of shaping and sculpting rocks continues today. Rock is also used to create concrete, that most common of construction materials, and it is at the basis of silicon that gives substance to the hi-tech world, a paradigm shift to mark the onset of the current Anthropocene geological age.
Revealing connections between the natural and artificial, rock is both a repository of the geological past as well as a material that shapes our future.
NAHR’s 2017 theme will explore the material that also constitutes the foundations of the Taleggio Valley. Omnipresent at different scales – from the monumental mountains to the sedimented minerals, from the historical traditional architecture to structural details and small handmade objects – the presence of rock can initiate material and poetical explorations to inspire and encourage creative design actions.
Visits to quarries, walks to the mountain peaks, dedicated lectures by specialists will guide the observation and analysis of the rock surrounding NAHR, and this summer’s residency program expects to explore interactions and relationships within the valley’s ecosystem by offering site-specific investigations and opening up the possibility of a range of inter- and cross-disciplinary research opportunities.