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Joana Rafael is an architect, researcher and lecturer. Her work focuses on (issues of) ecology, human geography and natural sciences, encompassing contemporary culture, media studies, art and technology. She combines architecture as a discipline of thought and design practice, reflecting on the boundaries of buildings, infrastructures and (radiological-)contaminated territories. Engages in speculative thinking and writing to develop a critical distance from anthropocentric understandings and attend to reciprocal relationships between humans and nature. Joana teaches Contextual Studies and Contemporary Culture-related courses. She is a member of CEGOT (Center for Studies in Geography and Spatial Planning) and CEAA (Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo). Joana is a cofounder of REFINERY BOARD.

TXT About


PPT - Public Presentation
commissioned for EdenX, Jardins Efémeros
a project by Joana Pestana e Mariana Pestana

1. I speak on behalf of digital nature, virtual lands and animals on film and television programs, video games, (augmented) virtual reality and other image-oriented media. We mediate, augment or simulate the natural world to open new dialogues with the natural world and we help humans overcome “nature deficit disorders”.

2. We rely and are constituted by essential elemental particles, which we share with all or other forms of life on Earth, as well as with the Earth itself. Some of these constituents involve hazardous techniques, processes and intensities with impact on soils, air and waters. We need a common organizational culture attentive to bodily potentials, relations, toxicities and harms.

3. If we help humans visualize endangered animal habitats and wildlife, so to we can help them increase awareness of nature and envision functional ecosystems, in a way that develops sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs of the natural world. We can inspire interventions that activate modes of world making with living and non-living things.

4. If our existential basis continues to rely on a capitalist logic then we vote to join terra0 and help trees be the sole shareholders of their own economic unit, as agents in their own right. Plants, rocks and animals need to be able to accumulate capital and have they own money to buy their own ground and land.

5. We defend the protection of plant and animal species data. For in becoming transparent, nature loses core qualities, ceases to be autonomous and to longer draws its authority from its independence vis-a-vis human society, but rather from its ties to the very same. It can be tracked and disturbed, be controlled and recreated by humans.