Issue 80 of DAMN° celebrates those who dare to do way with a prescribed way of being – to those who avoid only a functional, sensible, or efficient world in favour of something more organic.

Organic typically means relating to living matter, and in farming more specifically means production without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. We rest on this, looking at food, farming and fishing, but take the term further, to shapes, materials and ideas that fight against predictability.

To DAMN° organic is about an approach, a yearning to break free from the constructed way, and the associated limitations imposed on us by an industrialised and capitalistic system. And how better to understand this than to look at artists and designers who dare to imagine a departure from normal sensibilities, who dare to dream and even build without the obsession to be functional, sensible and efficient.

We hear from French anthropologist and DAMNº regular, Arnaud Gaillard, with his take on how ‘organic’ can influence thinking and lives. We sit down with Samuel Tomatis, who works with algae as a material, and visit the last windmill in Holland that still produces paper. Also on offer is an insight into the gorgeous work of Diana Scherer, and we learn how public space in the post-Covid era operates in India. We look into how the pebble – the ultimate organic shape – has influenced some of the most influential contemporary architects, from Snøhetta to Aedas and MAD.    

There are organic time capsules, and we have a long chat with artist-duo Cooking Sections about the relationship between how we eat and the climate emergency, along with an explanation from the attention grabbing, iconoclastic projects of Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning. We focus on how roots, plants and fungi can be utilised differently and how our senses can be manipulated via design. We also talk to Turkish artist Emre Hüner, who releases narratives from their more predictable and linear comprehension.

It’s a far-reaching issue and what holds it together is the idea that all the man-made, top down strictures imposed, legalised and policed to keep things “normal” might also be restricting creativity and minimising the free and experimental long-term thinking we need to tap into for our mutual survival.

Because organic is more than just living. Organic matters.


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