Overline: Berlin Science Week
Headline: Building (with) Nature

Film Screening & Discussion

Building (with) Nature

Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) | Andrew Gilbert, Rossella Alba, Stefan Schäfer, Michaela Büsse

Film Screening & Discussion

This panel revolves around the question how scientists model environments and what effects their models, when applied, have on environmental processes. Based on the short film “Building with Nature” we invite the audience to engage with the engineering principles behind Zandmotor, an artificial peninsular close to The Hague in the Netherlands. Here, researchers and engineers are experimenting with novel building methods that allow to create genuine coastal landscapes. The dynamic modelling approach they developed allows to approximate the behaviour of large quantities of sand over a period of 20 years and longer. Produced between 2020-22 by researcher and filmmaker Michaela Büsse, the work explores the recursive relationship between virtual environment and actual landscape and what it means to build (with) nature. It juxtaposes on-site footage from Zandmotor with impressions from the scientist’s lab and artistic renderings of scientific data gathered over 6 years.

Michaela will be in conversation with anthropologist Andrew Gilbert (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and human geographer Rossella Alba (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) about the role of technologies for environmental governance and film as a means of research. What kind of knowledge about environments do models create? And how can artistic media be deployed in making sense of these knowledge practices? The panel will be moderated by Stefan Schäfer, research group leader at the Institute for Sustainability Helmholtz Centre Potsdam where Michaela currently is a fellow.


This event will take place as part of the Berlin Science Week CAMPUS. Admission is free.

Information about the physical accessibility of the Museum für Naturkunde can be found here. The event is taking place in the Collaborative Field. See ‘experimental field’ for exact location on the map.More you can find here.