LIFE AND DEATH | NGV DESIGN WEEK | FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES | 2020

In 2020 Melbourne Design Week asks
participants to experiment with ideas,
materials, places and processes to
respond to the central question ‘How
can design shape life?’

Life & Death presented designed
outcomes by creative practioners
looking at both the life of the object:
functionality, utility, cultural or social
intent, speculation or
experimentation – whilst in parallel
putting equal emphasis on the
death of the object: what happens
to the object once it’s reached it’s
end of life?

JAMES LEMON PEST CHAIR

Pest Chairs:

Every day we are faced with sobering realities about the earth’s catastrophic future. A sixth mass extinction that we designed ourselves into. ‘Pest Chairs’ represents an ongoing, personal battle between my optimism and my pessimism. 

Life! (optimism) 

Ants, termites and bees make up to 50% of insect biomass on the earth. I used to dislike bugs, however, insects play a major role in the prosperity life on the planet. Without them, everything collapses. This pivotal influence in life is where my awe in their complex societies and design lies. 

My work aims to decentre the human, to celebrate the complexity and diversity of life, and to imagine futures in which we reject destructive, anthropocentric logic. 

These chairs are inspired by design in nature, architecture outside of the human species and how some of the least visible forms of life live the most sustainably. 

Death (Pessimism)

In a future where we have consumed ourselves out of everything, I think about all the shit we made and what will become of it. I think about our buildings and our art. I think about the life that will continue. I think about insects. The ones that remain. And I wonder, what will they do to our homes and table and chairs and art? They’ll be chewing it all up, spitting it out, and making their mounds. Silently rebuilding the world from the rubble we left them.

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