Lo-TEK: Julia Watson
About the Author: Academic and author Julia Watson is the Principal and Founder of Julia Watson Studio, an experiential, landscape, and urban design studio, as well as a Director and Co-Founder of ‘A Future Studio’, a collective of conscious designers with an ethos towards global ecological change. She teaches Urban Design at Harvard and Columbia University. After graduating from Harvard with the highest award for her work on conservation and spiritual landscapes, she has been published in Nakhara Journal, Water Urbanisms East, World Heritage Sites and Living Culture of Indonesia, and co-authored the Spiritual Guide to Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage with Dr. J. Stephen Lansing.
This is my review of the book:
Have you ever felt romantic for the agrarian life? A plow, a field, and seven wives and 50 kids to help do all the manual labor? What would you grow: rice, corn or maybe fish? This book helps put your whim-of-fancy into some practical perspective. By looking at multiple indiginous communities across four key habitats (mountains, flood valley, desserts, and lakes), Julia Watson illustrates the importance of these integrated systems by exploring the the way each of these communities work WITH their environments. On page 19 there is a wonderful flow chart of how individuals, community, culture, and world view are created as a result of working within a local system. This book takes the perspective of an anthropologist and looks broadly at how these communities have survived for millennials. However, I would like to be clear that this is NOT a how-to book. There are no steps on how to grow rice, or farm fish. There ARE diagrams of how cascading rice terraces work, and how floating islands can be made (and there’s more than one way to float an island). I found it amazing that many of these communities are being studied for their CHEMICAL-FREE pest management, and FERTILIZER-FREE high yield crops. This book actually got me thinking about my own plot of earth, and how I could harness the utility of some of the keystone species in my own yard. If that wasn’t enough, this book is gorgeous! From the side sitting binding, to the copper pallet, and the overall inclusiveness (this book is written in English, but includes multiple languages, one for each cultural interview), I feel a little more connected to humanity than I did before reading it. Buy this book and buy less plastic crap!
I feel that I need to also mention the designers of this book, W―E studio
“Piera Wolf and Claudine Eriksson are W―E studio, a multidisciplinary creative studio based in Zürich and New York that strives to bridge time and space between these constantly evolving and contrasting cities. Piera and Claudine have individually been recognized by publications and organizations including The New York Times, Dazed Digital, Rolling Stone, Slanted, and many more. Talks, teaching, and workshop engagements include the New York School of Visual Arts, HTW Berlin, Google Creative Lab, and the Zürich University of the Arts”
These are their images of this book: