[ISEA2016] Keynote: Natalie Jeremijenko – The Environment Health Clinic, Collaboratory (Xclinic), Farmacy and Ooz: Towards a Museum of Natural Futures


Natalie Jeremijenko is an artist, engineer developing Mutualistic Systems and Natural Systems Engineering. In 2014 VIDA Art and Artificial Life International Awards Pioneer Prize was awarded to Jeremijenko “for her consistently brilliant portfolio of work over the past two decades.” In 2015 Jeremijenko collaborated with OMA Hong Kong and developed Hadley Cell ‘hack’ to develop a megainfrastructure, NEWair, that uses the insect-dependent productivity of the megabiodiverse wet tropics as a lever arm on global biodiversity, with significant capacity to couple to subtropical deserts and conflict zones. This challenges geoengineering schemes by designing urban systems and waste streams (for clean energy, nutrients and contaminant remediation) coupled to the powerful natural systems of tropical cities with compounding benefits for human and environmental health.

By contrast, the contentious and capital intensive Shek Kwu Chau incinerator planned for Lantau Island, has additional negative human health consequences for Hong Kong, with arguable already the worst airquality in the world –3x as bad as the worst airquality in the US, LA and NY. Hong Kong’s ozone pollution currently greater than in industrial Guangdong and increasing faster. This is not attributable to mainland sources. China’s recently reported 7500 cancer deaths per day and Hong Kong U’s Hedley index that 2,196 people died prematurely last year due to air pollution in Hong Kong.

Jeremijenko is collaborating NY/HongKong designer Elaine Young (LAByrinth) to produce an edition of 244 glimmering shoulder bags, and with Ark Eden, of Lantua Island to develop alternatives and attractions, initiating a living bridge. These glimmer garbage bags can generate more energy then the entire Shek Kwo Chau incinerator in full operation and demonstrate the ineffectual and ineffectiveness of 20th century waste incineration. Beyond renewables, local, hybrid energy systems incorporating small-scale waste-2-energy creates local economies to achieve energy transition. Waste is a BENEFIT and does not make sense to distribute, pollute with nor waste. Reintegrating vegetation into the tropical urban environment thru floriculture and canopy complexity to increase Leaf Area Index (LAI), support pollinators and create tremendous human health benefits (>100x the benefits of temperate cites). The Towers of Flowers proposed for Hong Kong residential structures likewise improves human health, and combine to significantly exceedsthe COP21 goals,yet transforms them into direct, local, and convivial (health) benefits. A further edition of glamcarts with be issued in Sept to divert diesel and other vehicles and upgrade pedestrians/and pedestrian tech.

introduced by Hanna Wirman

  • Natalie Jeremijenko, Associate Professor, NYU, USA, Dept of Art and Art Education, Dept of Computer Science, Dept of Environmental Studies.