Seattle Design Festival – A Poetics of Living: Biomimetic Blueprints [Online]

View this program
August 15–30

Teaser above edited by Rana San; music by Paul Siple.

Sliding scale admission: $0–25



Northwest Film Forum is SCREENING ONLINE! NWFF’s physical space is temporarily closed in light of public health concerns around COVID-19, but community, dialogue, and education through media arts WILL persist.

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** Co-presented with Design in Public **

Design in Public presents the 10th annual Seattle Design Festival, the largest design-related event in the Pacific Northwest. This year’s festival theme, About Time, sought to ponder, past, present, and future at a unique moment of transition for the city, the region and the world. Instead, it presently confronts the reality of a global public health crisis and its profound impact on our daily lives.

On the occasion of Seattle Design Festival, Northwest Film Forum presents A Poetics of Living: Biomimetic Blueprints, an interdisciplinary film program and interactive community vision board collectively contemplating the poetry of pace, process, and performance in how we relate to our built and natural environments. From a foundation of improvisation and biomimetic ideation, these films invite us to slow down and prioritize care in the doing, serving as vignettes of a more collaborative, connected, community-centered way of life to benefit generations to come.

The application of models and systems found in nature to human design is called biomimicry. Biomimetic ideation and adaptation have enriched the diversity of our designs for daily life, giving us novel approaches to architecture, art, programming, and urban planning.

Interactive Activity:

We invite you to seek out some of your favorite natural/biological phenomena, whether interpreted by human art or science or simply found in their raw, wonderful, natural form, and contribute them to an interactive Biomimetic Blueprint. The community board accepts a wide range of media, from web links, to drawings, writing, videos, and images, and we encourage you to submit in any and all media that speak to you!


Your own artistic and scientific response to your phenomenon of choice is very welcome here: if your biomimetic response to the migratory flight paths of birds, the polarity of planetary magnetospheres, or cellular biology takes the form of physical movement, sound collage, or installation art, all interpretations are welcome!

Film Program:

Ghosts of the Future

(Jeff Frost, US, 2019, 2 min)

Jeff Frost’s video study of a living mural painting breathes a vibrant essence of potential into an otherwise familiarly stark space, crafting a durational optical illusion.

For the Time Being

(Heidi Duckler, US, 2019, 10 min) 

Dancer, choreographer, and artistic director Heidi Duckler’s work captures dancers moving through the seasons in mirrored relationship with a public garden landscape, searching for the first bloom.

A Poetics of Living

(Caroline Alder and Damien Faure, France, 2018, 59 min)

The Open City (Ciudad Abierta) is a utopian community just north of Valparaiso, founded by Chilean architect Alberto Cruz and Argentinian poet Godofredo Iommi. Formed in 1971 using an epic poem as their collaborative manifesto, Ciudad Abierta continues to attract those seeking an alternative pace aligned with nature. Architect Caroline Alder narrates this contemplative film, guiding us through the coastal environment that inspired its eccentric architectural landscape and habitable spaces for commune and rest. Here, she says, “where time becomes poetic,” is the land of Amereida.


In an interview with Curbed, Alder states: “The anthropocene is today subjecting us to a heavy test in which we are suffering the climatic and social consequences that we ourselves have caused due to this rhythm in which human beings have done and continue to do without thinking, without measuring the consequences of what they do. In this context, this film is an invitation to take the time to reflect on how we conceive architecture, how we understand a territory, how we inhabit a continent, [and] how we inhabit the world.”

About Seattle Design Festival

About Seattle Design Festival

The Seattle Design Festival (SDF) demonstrates the relevance of design thinking, empowers communities to leverage design, and promotes a culture of collaboration. The Seattle Design Festival is the largest design event in the Pacific Northwest, produced by Design in Public and AIA Seattle in collaboration with hundreds of partners: designers, architects, community members, civic partners, business innovators, and a diverse public. This year the festival will take place virtually August 15–23.

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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