by Ariadne Avkiran & Iris C. M. Frank

Our planet and fellow earthlings have experienced terrible tragedies over the last years and decades. Scientists have declared human-induced global warming ​as a major cause for mountain glaciers and ice sheets melting, sea levels rising, severe droughts and bush fires spreading. Not only has this cost too many people’s lives, but also ​left millions of people homeless and seek refuge s​ome place else. The disruption of our fragile eco system has already initiated an​ inevitable climate migration on a global scale.​ According to the Internal Disruption Center, over 16 million people have been displaced due to weather related disasters in 2018.

In times of climate crisis, our project gives a g​limpse into a possibly near future ​and offers one feasible solution for a challenging and precarious scenario. We imagine s​mall groups of 3-6 people​ who are driven out of their homes traveling together, sort of camping or ​wandering like nomads over a longer period of time,​ searching for a new place to settle down. In this scenario, means of transportation are an unreliable and uncertain factor, since fossil fuels and resources might be limited or restricted.​ Larger urban settlements might be overwhelmed with the number of refugees flowing in, which is why we focus on finding an alternative that is l​ ess dependent on urban infrastructures.​ We want to build a wearable object that can grow small, fast-growing plants​ like radish, watercress, spinach, spring onions, carrots and bok choy. This piece is ideally made from ​recycled plastic fibres and containers​, consisting of several smaller and bigger pods and constructed in a way that it can be mounted, put securely in place or strapped on when on the road.

Our fresh-veggie-survival-kit is designed to offer people affected by the rising sea levels in the temperate and partly the​ subtropical zone a mobile way of self-sustainable living.​ The individual pods are connected by small tubes connected to an integrated watering system which reuses every drop of water efficiently. In a similarly efficient manner, the ​green waste from the produce can be composted in a small compartment ​designed for that purpose - if there is any, since most of the greens are edible. In addition to these features, a small impermeable storage is designed to keep seeds in a cool, dark and dry place.

To us, ​architecture is not only limited to buildings and spaces but comprises any context of living instead.​ ​Especially when losing a home, architecture goes beyond the average understanding of its concept.​ Instead of coming up with an industrially reproducible product, we want to create an object at the o​verlapping grounds of architecture, fineart and fashion. ​​This project sheds light on the existential crisis of millions of people as well as on the urgency of the climate crisis. 

For our research we have​ decided not to travel long-distance. W​e believe strongly in reducing carbon emissions and will therefore limit our research to p​ersonal interviews with climate refugees c​ urrently living at the Traiskirchen refugee camp in Austria. On this journey we will obviously take the ​train and public transport only.​ Besides m​ aking the wearable object​ we will d​ocument the interviews via photography, text and draw a mental map of their journey ​and present it in the format of a compact booklet.