Amulets for Infrastructure

April 2012

Amulets for Infrastructure, Dodolab and Smudge Studio, 2012

Amulets for Infrastructure was a collaborative project with Smudge Studio (Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth) on a  cross-world creative inquiry project, at a time when DodoLab was working in Sudbury, Ontario, and Smudge Studio working in Kyoto, Japan. Amulets for Infrastructure investigated what infrastructure elements of their cities (the built systems and formal networks that maintain a community) people needed most. Infrastructure reveals critical attitudes in our attempts to design and build for a changing environment. Often hope, wishful thinking or a “too big to fail” attitude stand as substitutes for good planning, design, and maintenance. The project evolved partly in response to traditional Japanese omamori, talismans that offer their owners protection and good luck. The amulet for infrastructure is a humble acknowledgement that our planet is full of dynamic and powerful forces, which even our best technology and knowledge can fail to predict, prepare for, and protect against. When faced with the limits of our knowledge and capacity to plan, all we can hope is that our infrastructure withstands the events of the future. The amulets are a manifestation of our limits and our hopes for the future.