NEXT Design Perspectives 2021/22

The annual conference established by the Altagamma Foundation (Milan) in 2018, commissioning the curation of each edition to a leading figure in the academic sector to shed light on future scenarios in the wider field of design, culture and innovation impacting the creative industries. I have been invited to curate the 2021/2022 edition.

The first short capsule conference was held on October 29, 2021 – Fondazione Feltrinelli, Milano.

The full event was held on October 27, 2022 – Triennale di Milano.

Special partner: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, UK.

Previous curators: Paola Antonelli – MoMA (2018), Deyan Sudjic – London Design Museum (2019).

Details on the speakers and topics + full videos of the events at www.nextdesignperspectives.com/


Visual Natures – the research and UX design

This post refers to the reserach project and exhibition “Visual Natures – The Politics and Culture of Environmentalism in the XX and XXI Centuries” of which you can learn more a this other link. Here I delve into the contents and their presentation, as well as the unique tool that was developed to both aid the reserach process and its fruition by users. 

Content organisation and thematic clusters

DEEP ECOLOGIES 1950s – 1980s [read the introduction here]

Earthworks: Expanded Fields

New Communalism

Technology and Environmental Consciousness

THE PLANETARY COMPLEX 1990s – 2000s [read the introduction here]

Ecovention: Environmental Reparations

Post-Human Politics and Aesthetics

The Anthropocene, Climate Justice and Political Ecology

MULTINATURALISM 2010s – present day [read the introduction here]

Augmented Nature and Terraforming

Speculative Ecologies and Post-Globalisation

Subjects of analysis and categories

Arts and Culture: Movements, People and Events / Works / Exhibitions / Critical Writing (books, catalogues)

Climate Science and Technology: People / Scientific Facts and Climate Events / Technological Inventions and Discoveries / Documentation (papers, books and publications)

Social Movements: Civic Demonstrations, Public Events, Non-Governmental Organisations

Global Governance: Governmental Organisations / Official Acts and Deliberations by Governmental Organisations / Documentation

Intersections among the selected contents are contextualised through the three thematic clusters and subclusters and move from the anthropocentric foundations of modern environmental thought, built on the exploitative legacy of western colonialism and the thought-regime of Cartesian man/nature dualism, towards the more-than-human ecologies informed by theoretical positions founded on non-binary cultural traditions of eco-centrism and multi-perspectivism of recent years.

The presentation allows to individuate historical and causal connections among facts, people and events concerning: the achievements of scientific progress in building climate knowledge and awareness of negative anthropogenic impact, as much as its opposing denialism by industrial interest groups; social and political mobilisations that support reparatory and equitable policies, as well as the recurring failures of intergovernmental cooperation; the artistic practices devoted to ecological interventionism and critical experimentalism around novel concepts of social mutuality, multi-species coexistence and biocentrism, as well as the enduring injustice and forms of industrial exploitation that still threaten the survival of indigenous and disenfranchised people, deplete natural resources and destroy biosystems. 

How to navigate the Visual Natures’ interface

The research is presented in a custom digital interface designed and developed by the studio dotdotdot. You can browse the multimedia contents – images, videos, texts and audios – following the three main thematic chapters chronologically distributed across the 42-seat assembly designed by Carla Juaçaba, each provided with a touchscreen.

Up and down: by scrolling vertically you can compare findings across the four subjects of analysis (i.e., Arts and Culture – Climate Science and Technology – Social Movements – Global Governance) and their sub-typologies (for example: notable figures, scientific findings and facts, cultural events, artworks, social movements, books, etc.).

Left and right: by swiping horizontally you move through time.


Visual Natures – The Politics & Culture of Environmentalism

Visual Natures: The Politics and Culture of Environmentalism in the 20th and 21st Centuries

maat – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon 

30/03 – 05/09 – 2022

This research project is product of critical investigations around climate science, creative practices and eco-politics developed at  maat museum over more than two years during my tenure as executive director, and therefore continues the journey started in 2021 with the data-driven installation Earth Bits – Sensing the Planetary and the public programme “Climate Emergency > Emergence”, curated by the first Climate Collective.

Visual Natures surveys political, social and cultural forms of collective agency that, over the course of the last one hundred years or so, demonstrate how the transforming human understanding of “nature” – philosophical, biological, economic – informs the ways in which we organise, sustain and govern our communities as an expanding planetary construct, both in concept and practice.

Loosely following a chronological order from the 1950s until today, the resulting mapping cross-references four subjects of analysis: artistic production and cultural events, technological innovations and scientific findings, social movements, and deliberations of global governance.

The presentation defies the challenge of its encyclopaedic character by way of a thematic organisation along three main concatenated clusters – “Deep Ecology (1950s – 1980s)”, “The Planetary Complex (1990s – 2000s)”, “Multinaturalism (2010s – present day)” – each converging around expanding meanings of “ecology” and environmentalism that from the 1960s onwards have grown central in international public and cultural debates as phenomena of global growth, natural resource scarcity and pollution became provenly intertwined.

Deliberately appropriating an expression by architect and artist Paulo Tavares (member of the maat Climate Collective 2021), “visual natures” points towards a post-anthropocentric, non-hegemonic politics and aesthetics of environmentalism to emerge as a democratic and egalitarian paradigm of coexistence within nature that transcends human-centred worldviews and refuses the ecological and social violence of extractivism.

Commissioned to the Brazilian architect Carla Juaçaba, the spatial design in which the research is presented takes inspiration from “The Conference of the Birds”, a Sufi parable written in the 12th century by the Persian poet Farid al-Din ‘Attar – a moral allegory of sovereignty and truth-seeking through shared sacrifice. According to her: “The exhibition design is a conference space in which we (humans) are birds discussing a new ordering between nature and man and between science and democracy, while redefining the idea of progress.”

The research is presented in a custom digital interface designed and developed by the studio dotdotdot. You can browse the multimedia contents – images, videos, texts and audios – following the three main thematic chapters chronologically distributed across the 42-seat assembly designed by Carla Juaçaba, each provided with a touchscreen. Read more about it here

Environmental discourse seizes the fate of economies and entire populations, and while we remain far from shared consensus on coordinated climate action, it increasingly motivates collaborative commitment from various scientific and technological fields, inspires educational curricula and youth demonstrations, and animates artistic debate and intellectual activism across a generational expanse and disciplinary fluidity of engrossing development.

Visual Natures aims to shed light on the facts and phenomena that lead us here. To disentangle the precursory designs of our present, to learn where we come from and where we can be headed.

The Climate Library

The exhibition includes a Climate Library, a reading area incorporated in the installation where a vast reference list of books and publications pertinent to the various subjects addressed in the research is made available as a digital catalogue and partially in physical form. See more of the digital interface here.

A selection from this database is also presented with in-depth descriptions in the digital interface, composing a vast reference list of books and publications ranging from scientific literature, sociological and anthropological studies, economics, geopolitical analysis, to cultural research, art criticism, philosophy and investigative journalism.


Art Director and Initiator: Beatrice Leanza

Research and curatorial team: Beatrice Leanza, Nuno Ferreira de Carvalho, Rita Marques, Camila Maissune, Maria Kruglyak, Amir Halabi, Bárbara Campos

Interaction design: dotdotdot (Alessandro Masserdotti, Laura Dellamotta, Fabrizio Pignoloni, Giovanna Gardi, Nicola Buccioli, Mariasilvia Poltronieri, Davide Bonafede, Simone Bacchini, Nicola Ariutti)

Installation design: Carla Juaçaba

Visual identity: Lisa H. Moura (maat)