At the heart of this project is an openness to the unpredictability of nature and the current climate that we are now in. The project has been called the Intelligent Wilderness to symbolise its aim to overcome those associations of the wilderness as something savage and unintelligent and that actually working with the intelligence of nature is really the way forward to help us out of the climate crisis. The project has been curated into the form of temporary exhibition. Please follow the links above to view the exhibition.
The Intelligent Wilderness project looks at how to replenish the natural resources lost to industry in the Cromarty Firth region of the Scottish Highlands. In order to achieve this, a strategy of wilding is proposed to help the return of biodiversity and natural systems to the landscape. However, this project doesn’t simply suggest an abandonment of industrial activity to the wiles of nature. Instead it embraces modern technological advancement, suggesting the creation of a Critical Zone Observatory Network. This technological infrastructure is designed to monitor and diagnose the changes occurring in the surroundings as it undergoes the process of wilding and sustains the impacts of climate change. This landscape of the Intelligent Wilderness offers a profitable future without deteriorating the wealth of resources from which it is built.
The power of modern technology is redirected towards the local landscape in this project, providing the framework for the emergence of a localised, climate sensitive intellectual commons, empowering local communities on environmental issues local to them.
The essence of the Intelligent Wilderness is the process of growth. As the wilderness grows so does the web of technology monitoring and responding to it. Along the journey of wilding, serendipity and surprise are key experiential qualities of the landscape. This project embraces these unpredictable and organic qualities and organises its design strategies to provide the space for these dynamic systems and processes to take place.
The Intelligent Wilderness brings with it a new aesthetic realm, away from traditional controlled landscapes. Instead, it's 'aesthetic' is transient, unpredictable and ever-changing and hence a place of constant discovery for the willing eye. This aesthetic responds and adapts to the needs of the current and future climate rather than trying to recreate an aesthetic of the past.
The Wild Commons Network aims to open up new forms of dialogue between key characters in the landscape; human, animal, plant, element. This is achieved both through the spatial qualities of the site, giving unrestricted space to allow for novel interactions, as well as the presence of technology to mediate new conversations. This is done with the belief that in order to achieve climate resilience, communication between previously divided and neglected communities needs to be restored.
On display at the exhibition is this Field Guide, designed to be used by individuals visiting the Wild Commons Network. It is designed to educate and encourage involvement of human in the wilding process happening around them, whilst also creating another opportunity to gather data in the Observatories.
Link to Field Guide:
Wilding and agriculture are often viewed as adversaries with wilding proposals often being criticised for ignoring, diminishing and even demonizing agricultural practices and communities. The proposal instead seeks opportunity in this challenge and outlines a roadmap towards the continuation of agriculture in the region, using wilding to enhance the richness of the land by restoring soil health, biodiversity and water management. In this way the two practices complement each other and increase the prosperity of the landscape and human and more than human communities it supports.