Guest Lecture
ONA Fokushalle and
Territorial Design in Histories, Theories, and Projects

Better NatureAlexandra Daisy Ginsberg with an intervention by Johanna Just

DR ALEXANDRA DAISY GINSBERG is an artist examining our fraught relationships with nature and technology. Through artworks, writing, and curatorial projects, Daisy’s work explores subjects as diverse as artificial intelligence, exobiology, synthetic biology, conservation, biodiversity, and evolution, as she investigates the human impulse to “better” the world. But what does better mean? Who is it better for? And who gets to decide? Ginsberg will address these questions through discussion of some of her recent artworks, including resurrecting the smell of extinct flowers (now on view at the Natural History Museum Bern) and her upcoming commission for pollinators at the Eden Project Cornwall. As humanity slowly acknowledges the impact of our progress on the natural world, and the need to make a damaged nature better, we have to ask: what does better mean?

She has spent over ten years experimentally engaging with the field of synthetic biology, developing new roles for artists and designers. She is lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (MIT Press, 2014), and in 2017 completed Better, her PhD by practice, at London’s Royal College of Art (RCA), interrogating how powerful dreams of “better” futures shape the things that get designed. She read architecture at the University of Cambridge, was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and received her MA in Design Interactions from the RCA.

JOHANNA JUST is a designer, researcher and doctoral fellow at the Institute for Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS) at ETH Zurich. In her work, she explores multispecies entanglements in human-made landscapes in the Upper Rhine Plain. Johanna graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture (London) with a MArch (Distinction) degree under SmoutAllen, where she received the Bartlett School of Architecture Medal. She holds a B.Sc. in Architecture from the Leibniz University of Hanover and has spent time studying at IUAV in Venice. She has taught on the MA/MLA Landscape Architecture programme at Bartlett School of Architecture and BArch programmes at Oxford School of Architecture and the Bartlett. Johanna is a founding member of the Bakerloos (London), where she has designed collaborative mapping workshops and installations. She has experience in architecture and art practice working with Haworth Tompkins (London), Ay Architects (London), BeL (Cologne) and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg (London).