News

Ecologies of invention



21 October 2013



Imagine the walls of a building letting in and circulating air - not the windows, the walls. This is what architect Doris Kim Sung has achieved in her work through the use of thermo-biometals - metals that curl and shift in response to sunlight and the weather - in the construction of buildings.


With a background in biology, Doris based the idea of a 'breathing' wall on the unique way in which a grasshopper takes in air through its sides and uses the air to cool its body.


You can find more information about Doris Kim Sung and her designs through the TED website: here



What kind of person thinks to make this creative connection, from a grasshopper to a building material? How can people across various disciplines be encouraged and trained to make connections such as these; to work more inventively?


Traditionally, invention has been seen as isolated to the realm of scientific discovery. But are artists, designers and musicians also inventors? The contributors to Ecologies of invention, (ed. Andy Dong, John Conomos and Brad Buckley) attempt to answer these questions - and ask and answer even more.


Ecologies of Invention is the first collection of essays that brings together writers and scholars of international standing from the University of Sydney and beyond to examine the assumptions underlying notions of inventiveness. In doing so, an important distinction is made between 'inventiveness' and 'creativity'.


Significantly, the contributors look at origins, approaches and attitudes towards inventiveness across the disciplines, including art, architecture, design, history, engineering, science, law and economics. As Marc Newson, designer of the famous Lockheed Lounge, points out in the Foreword, Ecologies of invention 'makes an important contribution to our understanding of that "light bulb" moment of realisation or invention that takes place across all disciplines'. As well as sharing similarities across disciplines, the contributors demonstrate how invention on all different scalesfrom personal capacities to the social, spatial and network configurations, share similar processes and production.


Edited by Andy Dong, Professor and ARC Future Fellow at the University of Sydney and holder of the Warren Centre Chair for Engineering Innovation; Brad Buckley, artist, activist, urbanist and Professor of Contemporary Art and Culture at Sydney College of the Arts; and John Conomos, artist, critic and theorist at Sydney College of the Arts, the concept of invention as explored in Ecologies of invention moves beyond the individual chapters and contributions by Faculty of Architecture Academics Lian Loke, Dagmar Reinhardt, Chris Smith and Rob Saunders, to the design of the book itself.


The book poses new questions for scholars, artists, architects, designers, historians, engineers, scientists, lawyers and economists about the nature, origins and processes of invention.


If you would like more information about the book, editors or contributors, please contact Sydney University Press at sup.info@sydney.edu.au.


Available for order here


Ecologies of invention
Edited by Andy Dong, John Conomos and Brad Buckley
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781743323571
RRP: $50


Contact: Alexandra Crosby