The Long Now is an overlay of two experiences (one physical and one digital). The first is climatic as the space is tuned to current norms of body and nature and the second, a glimpse into a plausible yet unfamiliar version of this world. The Long Now questions our preconceptions and established norms that define our evolving planet, reorienting our place and perspectives.
Concepts of environment and body are moments within a much larger arch of time. Flush against the ground, the project is tuned through heat and light to meet the needs of our bodies and vegetation that occupy the space. The full spectrum lights offset the decrease in nourishing sunlight to our bodies in fall and winter months while heating the soil extends the growing season of the grasses used by the public for gathering. This ‘Long Now’ extends an ideal condition of environmental qualities of light and temperature best suited for current human health and comfort.
Through the use of augmented reality, The Long Now also extends the bandwidth of what our environment has been in the past and might look like in the future. Above the ground plane are visual representations of local climate data over the past century and spectra of light particles shifting between the near ultraviolet or near infrared due to changes in solar radiation and the Earth’s atmosphere. Speculative plant life below, among the green grass, in response to these changing spectrum's of light and atmosphere giving us unfamiliar plant growth and colors. The Long Now presents an experiential slice of an earth unfamiliar, though entirely feasible based on past and possible future environmental conditions.
The project collapses these contradictory yet plausible perspectives of environment and body to reorient our assumptions and norms which today often include the environmental management of stasis. We instead exist in a very ‘Long Now’.
Sean Lally and Matt Wizinsky bring complementary insights from their different disciplines —landscape architecture and interaction design—to create work that bridges disciplinary boundaries. Lally is an associate professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UMASS Amherst and his masters in architecture from UCLA. Lally is author of The Air from Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come and a Rome Prize Fellow in Landscape Architecture. Wizinsky completed graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Design and is now an assistant professor in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at The University of Cincinnati. He is a designer, design educator, and researcher whose projects live at various intersections of participatory design, interaction design, exhibition design, and speculative design. He recently collaborated on a pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.