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Tomorrow Today: Design, Fiction and Social Responsibility | DisegnoDaily
"Here they seemed to allude to criticisms of critical design – or the acronym SCD (speculative critical design) by which it has also become widely known – in the sixteen years since the term first appeared in Dunne’s 1999 book Hertzian Tales. If at its best, critical design is held to spark public debate about the ramifications of science, technology and policy, the field has also been lambasted for its limited reach and efficacy. John Thackara, for instance, recently mounted an attack on what he termed its “infantile science fictions” and Susan Yelavich, Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design charged it for ‘only preaching to the choir’.

At the symposium, keynote speaker, design curator Paola Antonelli – who has spent much of the past decade promoting Critical Design to a wider audience through exhibitions at MoMA in New York – diagnosed the moment in her presentation. In the evolution of movements she outlined “a tendency where pioneers are doubted; after a period of drunkenness, the boat capsizes and follows with fatigue.” Antonelli used the online exhibition she co-curated on Design and Violence as evidence of critical design’s enduring potential. The website uses both mass-produced and conceptual design artefacts to provoke discussion on issues such as the death penalty and euthanasia. Antonelli then went to on to call for the scrutiny of standards in Critical Design."



"The afternoon ended fittingly with a performance by urbanist, designer and futurist Liam Young. His vision of the future came in the form of a story told against a backdrop of dystopian, computer-rendered urban landscapes.

Such stylistic probing and cross-pollination of genres were evidence of critical design’s constant scrutiny of ever-evolving codes. These are necessary to straddle the present and the future, reality and fantasy, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the feasible and the strange, the negotiation of which, according to Dunne and Raby, is essential to critical design’s power and success. As the pair conclude their 10-year tenure at the Royal College of Art at the end of this academic year, it was clear from Tomorrow Today that the future of both critical design and otherwise rests on a knife edge."
anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  2015  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  designfiction  design  criticaldesign  future  paulgrahamraven  daisyginsberg  liamyoung  onkarkular  johnthackara  susanyelavich  paolaantonelli  catharinerossi  portiaungley  alexandradaisyginsberg  via:anne 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Matt Jones: Jumping to the End -- Practical Design Fiction on Vimeo
[Matt says (http://magicalnihilism.com/2015/03/06/my-ixd15-conference-talk-jumping-to-the-end/ ):

"This talk summarizes a lot of the approaches that we used in the studio at BERG, and some of those that have carried on in my work with the gang at Google Creative Lab in NYC.

Unfortunately, I can’t show a lot of that work in public, so many of the examples are from BERG days…

Many thanks to Catherine Nygaard and Ben Fullerton for inviting me (and especially to Catherine for putting up with me clowning around behind here while she was introducing me…)"]

[At ~35:00:
“[(Copy)Writers] are the fastest designers in the world. They are amazing… They are just amazing at that kind of boiling down of incredibly abstract concepts into tiny packages of cognition, language. Working with writers has been my favorite thing of the last two years.”
mattjones  berg  berglondon  google  googlecreativelab  interactiondesign  scifi  sciencefiction  designfiction  futurism  speculativefiction  julianbleecker  howwework  1970s  comics  marvel  marvelcomics  2001aspaceodyssey  fiction  speculation  technology  history  umbertoeco  design  wernerherzog  dansaffer  storytelling  stories  microinteractions  signaturemoments  worldbuilding  stanleykubrick  details  grain  grammars  computervision  ai  artificialintelligence  ui  personofinterest  culture  popculture  surveillance  networks  productdesign  canon  communication  johnthackara  macroscopes  howethink  thinking  context  patternsensing  systemsthinking  systems  mattrolandson  objects  buckminsterfuller  normanfoster  brianarthur  advertising  experiencedesign  ux  copywriting  writing  film  filmmaking  prototyping  posters  video  howwewrite  cognition  language  ara  openstudioproject  transdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  sketching  time  change  seams  seamlessness 
march 2015 by robertogreco
New book on 'Design Ethnography' — pasta and vinegar
"Here's the book blurb:
"What do designers mean when they say they’re going to do “ethnography” and “field research”? What are the relationships between observing people and designing products or services? Is there such a thing as a “designerly” way of knowing people? This book is a report from a research project conducted at HEAD – Genève that addressed the role of people-knowing in interaction/media design. It describes the wide breadth of approaches used by designers to frame their work, get inspiration or speculate about plausible futures. This book presents practitioners’ tactics and illustrates them with several cases. Unlike many resources on user-centered design, it takes a broader approach to design by considering cases in which design is not only a problem-solving activity, but a tool to speculate about the near future, reformulate problems or propose a critical discourse on society. In doing so, this book helps designers, students and consultants to challenge their own perceptions and update their approaches."

The book is a collective effort, with texts from John Thackara, Julian Bleecker, Sara Ljungblad, Gilles Baudet, Anab Jain and Jon Ardern, James Auger, Virginia Cruz and Nicolas Gaudron, Liam Young, Fabian Hemmert, Steve Portigal, Gordan Savičić and Selena Savić, Anne-Catherine Sutermeister and Jean-Pierre Greff. 

It can be purchased online here at we-make.it [http://we-make.it/shop/ and http://wemakeitberlin.tictail.com/product/design-ethnography ]"
design  ethnography  designethnography  nicolasnova  johnthackara  julianbleecker  saraljungblad  gillesbaudet  anabjain  jonardern  superflux  jamesauger  virginiacruz  nicolasgaudron  liamyoung  fabianhemmert  steveportigal  books  gordansavičić  selensavić  anne-catherinesutermeister  jean-pierregreff  futurism  speculativedesign  disign  nearfuture  fieldresearch  research  observation 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Questioning the “critical” in Speculative & Critical Design — Designing the Future — Medium
"In the past few days I’ve been following this excellent and profoundly enlightening discussion [http://designandviolence.moma.org/republic-of-salivation-michael-burton-and-michiko-nitta/ ] on MoMA’s Design and Violence page. The conversation, initiated by John Thackara’s comments on Burton Nitta’s project “Republic of Salivation” [http://www.burtonnitta.co.uk/repubicofsalivation.html ], was further developed in the comment section. The issue at stake was the presumed naivety of the project while dealing with a subject that might be dystopian to some, but in some other parts of the world it has been the reality for decades. During the — still ongoing — debate, one of the most pressing issues to emerge was the political accountability of Speculative and Critical Design (from now on, referred to as SCD) or its lack thereof.

When questioned on the validity of a discipline that consistently dismisses and willingly ignores struggles other than those that concern the intellectual white middle classes — precisely the environment where SCD comes from — designer James Auger [http://www.auger-loizeau.com/ ] responded:
What is this obsession with class systems? The UK may have its financial problems but most of us stopped obsessing about these divides in the distant past.

As a brazilian designer based in Germany struggling to understand her position in the blindly privileged environment of SCD, Auger’s reaction sounds all too familiar. Being able to ignore things like class, gender and race is the clearest demonstration of privilege: you don’t notice it (or rather, sometimes knowingly choose not to) precisely because it doesn’t affect you. As a discipline theorised within the safe confines of developed, northern european countries and practiced largely within an overwhelmingly white, male, middle class academic environment, SCD has successfully managed to ignore, or at best only vaguely acknowledge, issues of class, race and gender (with few [http://superflux.in/ ] exceptions [http://sputniko.com/ ]). Instead, the vast majority of the body of work currently available in the field has concentrated its efforts on envisioning near futures that deal with issues that seem much more tangible to their own privileged crowd. Projects that clearly reflect the fear of losing first-world privileges — gastronomical, civil or cultural — in a bleak, dystopic future abound, while practitioners seem to be blissfully unaware (or unwilling to acknowledge, in some cases) of other realities.

The visual discourse of SCD also seems interestingly devoid of people of color, who rarely (if ever) make an appearance in the clean, perfectly squared, aseptic world imagined by these designers-researchers. Couples depicted in these near-future scenarios seem to be consistently heterosexual; there is no poverty, there are no noticeable power structures that divide the wealthy and the poor, or the colonialist and the colonised; gender seems to be an immutable, black-and-white truth, clearly defined between men and women, with virtually no space for trans* and queer identities (let alone queer and trans* voices speaking for themselves). From its visual discourse to its formulations of near-future scenarios, SCD seems to be curiously apathetic and apolitical for a discipline that strives to be a critical response to mainstream perceptions of what design is, and what it should do.

So answering Auger’s pressing question — “What is this obsession with class systems?” —, well: we are obsessed with class systems because we can’t help it. Because, in contrast to most of the practitioners in the field of SCD, we do not have the privilege of not thinking about issues of race, class and gender. Because your dystopia is happening to us right now. It’s happening when we get harassed because of our gender, our class or our ethnicity. It’s happening when a brazilian citizen is killed by british police with no explanation, apology or reason other than being a foreigner [http://www.theguardian.com/uk/menezes ]. It’s happening because where I come from, the reality suggested by The Republic of Salivation isn’t so far-fetched [http://thebrazilbusiness.com/article/cost-of-living-in-brazil-ndash-cesta-basica ]. And because if we don’t call out your privilege — though you dismiss it as “misguided suggestions of privilege” — this is what will keep on happening: SCD will never evolve past a discipline stuck in its own little universe of weather forecasts and smart fridges, incapable of seeing how shallow its own speculations are, and how much more relevant and inclusive they could be.

Right now, SCD’s preoccupations are directed towards nothing more than an alleged “lack of poetic dimensions” in our relationship with electronic objects. The “social narratives” and “criticism” so advertised by the great majority of its practitioners seem to only apply to the aesthetic concerns of the intellectual northern european middle classes. Those dystopian “critical futures” forget (or oversee it for a lack of empathy toward the subject matter) that the very electronic objects that they are talking about not only are — and will continue to be — accessible to a minimum percentage of the world’s population, but also that those who won’t have access to it will likely be exploited to make that reality happen, one way or another. It is extremely frustrating to observe how SCD practitioners depict a dystopian universe where technology comes to paint a world in which their own privileges of their own reality are at stake, while at the same time failing to properly acknowledge that design is a strong contributor to the complete denial of basic human rights to minorities, right here, right now. Those sleek, shiny gadgets and sentient objects and robots SCD designers are keen to portray come only to the aid of white, middle class, cisgendered heterosexual citizens. But no SCD dystopian scenario takes into account that this pervasive “technological menace” will most probably be manufactured in China, Indonesia or Bangladesh (as suggested by Ahmed Ansari [https://twitter.com/aansari86 ] in the comments section in the original post). And I cannot help but reinforce that SCD is a practice whose origins and current developments, so far, happen within colonialist countries.

Despite all of its shortcomings, I do believe that SCD has something necessary and valid to offer to society. I do believe that design is a powerful language, one that it is perfectly positioned to provide relevant social and cultural critique, and that envisioning near future scenarios might just help us reflect on the paths we want to take as a society. In order to truly achieve these goals, however, SCD needs to be held accountable for its political and social positions; it urgently needs to escape its narrow northern european middle class confines; it needs to talk about social change; it needs more diversity, both in its visual representations and in the practitioners in the field. A first step, perhaps, would be to acknowledge that these issues are at stake instead of just dismissing them as useless concerns. Speculative Design can only earn its “Critical” name once it leaves its own comfort zone and start looking beyond privilege, for real.

After all, as brilliantly described by Ahmed in the thread:
The political, economic, social and cultural implications of technologies are never local but always global and systemic — they ripple out and affect people you may never know or see in your lifetime. It’s great to believe in the promise of technological progress when you belong to a class and a society that will directly get to reap its benefits in the end.
via:anne  2014  luizaprado  pedrooliveira  criticaldesign  speculativefiction  speculativedesign  designfiction  priviilege  designimperialism  criticism  design  art  johnthackara  burtonnitta  class  gender  race  speculation  ahmedansari  jamesauger  michaelburton  michikonitta  humanitariandesign 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Flyways: Change Observer: Design Observer
"When the swallows twitter excitedly overhead, I envy how lightly they manage to live. I compare their tiny needs for external energy to the prodigious amounts needed to keep us humanoids fed and watered. I contrast the way the swallows throw their nests together — from found materials — with the billions of tons of resources, often gathered from faraway lands, that we pour into our own structures. And which we basically sit in, waiting to be provisioned.

For ninety nine percent of human existence we lived far more like the swifts than we do today. We had very few possessions. Materials for shelter, clothing, and tools were all at hand. Because we needed little, we wanted little. We got by without a state, a market, or advanced technology. We thrived in the absence of strategic visions, design thinking, concepts, plans, budgets, or controls. We worked, for the most part, cooperatively. We didn’t borrow from the future. We shared."
johnthackara  birds  swallows  nature  mobility  nomads  nomadism  lightness  simplicity  anarchism  self-organization  designthinking  strategicplanning  control  government  organizations  migrations  migration  cooperation  humans  slow  small 
september 2013 by robertogreco
New geographies of learning
"Let me recap on my story so far. In part one, I argued that delivering content down a pipe is not teaching. New models of learning are needed that connect people to people – not people to machines. In part two, I showed you examples of ‘net effects’ that involve sharing, live contact, opinion giving and rating, and play. I suggested that this kind of application – and many more on the way – should be plumbed into the learning process. Now, whether we want to change or not, technology will come. Entrepreneurs will continue to innovate. Student values will carry on evolving, and their media behaviours will continue to perplex us. But we have choice: to be be passengers, as they drive a transformation of the ways we teach and the ways we learn. Or we can join them in the drivers seat – and wrest the wheel from interlopers who don’t know how to drive."
interactions  orooro  online  internet  web  howwelearn  epinions  ratings  gamebasedlearning  games  play  filesharing  sharing  conversation  small  teaching  learning  edutech  onlineeducation  education  2000  johnthackara 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Thoughts on Informality — Changeist
"Excerpts from the Informal Economy Symposium have been posted in video form by the Claro team, with more to come, including a quick snip of yours truly. Great thoughts from a great event.

I'm working now on a summary of the event's big themes for Current Intelligence, which should be available later this month. Watch this space."

[video here: https://vimeo.com/52561862 also here: http://www.theinformaleconomy.com/excerpts-from-the-informal-economy-symposium/ ]
abbymargolis  keithhart  johnthackara  adaptability  richradka  adamwhite  ignaciomas  benjaminlyon  informality  formailty  copycats  copycatting  scottmainwaring  fringe  aldodejong  adhoc  timothyjamesbrown  stevedaniels  uncertainty  instability  complexity  scottsmith  2012  diy  work  pirate  innovation  design  money  development  informaleconomy  informal 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Spatial Agency
"…a project that presents a new way of looking at how buildings & space can be produced. Moving away from architecture's traditional focus on the look and making of buildings, Spatial Agency proposes a much more expansive field of opportunities in which architects and non-architects can operate. It suggests other ways of doing architecture.

In the spirit of Cedric Price the project started with the belief that a building is not necessarily the best solution to a spatial problem. The project attempts to uncover a second history of architecture, one that moves sharply away from the figure of the architect as individual hero, & replaces it with a much more collaborative approach in which agents act with, & on behalf of, others.

In all the examples on this website, there is a transformative intent to make the status quo better, but the means are very varied, from activism to pedagogy, publications to networking, making stuff to making policy - all done in the name of empowering others…"
centerforurbanpedagogy  mockbee  santiagocirugeda  coophimmelblau  freeuniversity  hackitectura  teamzoo  yalebuildingproject  wuzhiqiao  wholeearthcatalog  colinward  urbanfarming  supertanker  self-organization  selforganization  raumlabor  victorpapanek  eziomazini  jaimelerner  iwb  cohousing  mikedavis  doorsofperception  johnthackara  teddycruz  buckminsterfuller  centerforlanduseinterpretation  atelierbow-wow  elemental  antfarm  ruralstudio  amo  collaborativeproduction  collaboration  networking  policy  holisticapproach  systemsthinking  systemsdesign  activism  spacialagency  jeremytill  tatjanaschneider  nishantawan  matterofconcern  brunolatour  transformativeintent  openstudioproject  lcproject  empowerment  via:cityofsound  cedricprice  resource  designthinking  database  urbanism  space  uk  design  research  architecture 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Mr Icarus: Meet Mr Gatherer
"All credit to the brave persons from Silent UK for sharing with us their spectacular photos from the top of…the Shard…I’d been struggling with a challenge: how to explain, to a bunch of bright architects and city managers, that retrofitting solar panels and green roofs will not be an adequate response to the energy challenges that are upon us.

The Shard caper happened just as I discovered the work of a geologist called Earl Cook who, in 1971, devised a simple scale of social development measured in terms of kilocalories “captured from the environment”. Hunter-Gatherers, Cook estimated,  got by on about  5,000 kcal per day. A modern Londoner, by comparison, needs about 300,000 kilocalories a day once all the systems and gadgets of modern life (that’s them blazing away in the background) are factored in.

That’s why industrial civilization, which is 60 times more energy-intensive per person than what came before, will not be saved by planting creepers at the base of The Shard."
civilization  environment  cities  peakoil  energy-efficiency  energy  earlcook  hunter-gatherer  sustainability  london  theshard  2012  perspective  johnthackara 
april 2012 by robertogreco
38 Alternatives to University and Design School in the Americas & Canada
"To do things differently, it helps to connect with new people and contexts. Universities and design schools seldom make that easy. Our xskool and City Eco Lab encounters aspire to meet this need – but there are many other experimental schools, courses and events out there. This handout contains the most interesting ones we’ve found so far.  It includes [with their permission] the findings of a scoping study for Schumacher College in England.  No quality judgment is implied by inclusion in (or omission from) this list. If we have made any mistakes here,or you would like to suggest an addition to this list, please email: john (at) doorsofperception dot com"
costarica  hollyhockleadershipinstitute  insterdisciplinarycentreforenvironment  interdisciplinary  sustainableinterpriseacademy  ubc  dalhousieuniversity  permacultureinstitute  permaculture  antiochuniversity  centerforcreativechange  archeworks  holynamesuniversity  coloradocollege  columbia  earthinstitute  ecosainstitute  prescottcollege  thesustainabilityinstitute  thenatureinstitute  tetonscienceschool  siriuscommunity  systems  systemsthinking  organizationsystemsrenewal  presidioschoolofmanagement  oberlincollege  naropauniversity  bainbridgegarduateinstitute  bainbridgeisland  ecoversity  iwb  dominicancollege  bioregions  design  ucberkeley  ecoliteracy  green  environment  sustainability  cityecolab  xskool  johnthackara  2012  education  alternative  altgdp  openstudioproject  lcproject 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Beyond Good Intentions – The Movie (now renamed AIDependence]
"Humanitarian crises caused by civil wars or natural disasters, such as in Haiti, often trigger a wave of support from us, the public. But our support raises two difficult questions: first, do our generous donations actually have the desired effect – or any positive effect? and second, what kind of evidence is available to ensure that any debate about aid is well-informed, and that the people most affected are given a prominent voice?

The politics of aid were brought back into sharp focus with the recent publication in The Atlantic of The White Savior Industrial Complex by Teju Cole . In a trenchant piece, Cole wrote: “If we are going to interfere in the lives of others, a little due diligence is a minimum requirement.”

But how?

To answer that question, the film maker Alice Smeets has pitched the idea of a documentary called Beyond Good Intentions…"

[See also: http://www.emphas.is/web/guest/discoverprojects?projectID=600

http://www.alicesmeets.com/film-aidependence/
https://vimeo.com/67296710
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/aidependence

"No other country in the world has more NGOs per capita than Haiti, yet the country still remains an impoverished and fragile state. Why is foreign aid not being more effective?

Beschreibung
The award-winning photographer Alice Smeets and the Belgian cinematographer Frederic Biegmann have been living on the Caribbean island, where they've not only supported, but also initiated development projects. This allowed them to get a deeper insight into the dynamics of the aid system.

In „AIDependence“, the filmmakers explore why development aid in Haiti is not working in a sustainable way. Smeets and Biegmann interview Haitian as well as international experts, show appalling examples of failed projects and accompany young inhabitants of Haiti's poorest slum, Cité Soleil, who have decided to take their fate into their own hands; they refuse imposed projects, but develop their own ideas to strengthen the community - even if the ideas may seem crazy, like the construction of a small Eiffel Tower right in the middle of Cité Soleil.

"AIDependence" shows clearly: Haiti's devastating earthquake of 2010 is in no way the cause the problem; it has only aggravated the situation. Thus, the documentary raises urgent questions and encourages the audience to form their own opinion.

a NEOPHILEAS-Production"]
development  haiti  beyondgoodintentions  journalism  film  documentaries  emphas.is  alicesmeets  ngo  humanitarianism  humanitariandesign  humanitarian  whitesaviorindustrialcomplex  tejucole  2012  johnthackara  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  whitesaviors  capitalism  power  control 
april 2012 by robertogreco
It’s Not Just The Bags
"There are many ways in which interactions with designers can benefit artisans. Designers can improve the quality of objects being made, and sometimes reduce the use of raw materials. They can be effective communicators to consumers back home, and explain intangible qualities of an object such as its historical context. …

Borges further counsels that “the potential dangers of a badly carried out intervention are many, and their effects can be damaging. The older a tradition is, and the more “away from civilization” the community it belongs to, the greater the dangers and the greater the necessary care”.

The basis for these north-south interactions, for Borges, must be respect – “respect for the work rhythm of the artisan, respect for the signs that have resisted over the years, respect for the whole system of symbols that culminates in an object”."
time  slow  glvo  handmade  objects  adeliaborges  books  2012  johnthackara  design  brasil  artisan  craft  brazil 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Driving safely in the dark – BNO
"We are not in a recession", says John Thackara. "This is permanent. The industrial growth society is on its way out. The good news is that a new kind of economy is now emerging, and it's full of potential for design." For the jubileum of BNO, the professional association for Dutch designers, the self-styled 'optimistic doomer' will describe what he calls the restorative economy. 

"For life's real necessities, lighter alternatives are emerging," Thackara says. "This new economy is proof that we are creative enough to imagine sustainable and engaging futures - and take design steps to realize them".

In his lecture, John Thackara focused on inspiring stories from the new economy: peer-to-peer health care and i-medicine; product upcycling; ride-sharing platforms; alternative trade networks, transition towns, and digital local currencies. His talk concludes with provocative suggestions for BNO's next fifteen years - including a "BNO University".
2011  localcurrencies  digitallocalcurrencies  transitiontowns  alternativetradenetworks  ridesharing  upcycling  healthcare  peertopeer  economics  resilience  future  johnthackara 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: Iceland: eaten alive, or growing to live?
"It feels, to this outsider, as if Iceland is intent on self-immolation because she cannot imagine a persuasive alternative. Big energy projects denote decisive action and a dynamic future. Boutique farms, a jumper business, or a few backpackers in a campsite, sound too small, too puny, as the basis for a secure future.

This is where the visitor can perhaps be useful: as a mirror in which a country's residents see more meaningful possibilities reflected back than they had realized were there. In that spirit, it strikes this visitor that Iceland could also be the beetle that escapes - for two reasons…"
johnthackara  2011  iceland  aluminum  environment  sustainability  energy  future 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Wellbeing « Aalto Media Factory
"The Department of Design’s introduction course for the new MA students focuses this year on the theme of wellbeing, the complex challenges and opportunities that design faces today and tomorrow. Design is now more thought as a strategic and public activity, where in the projects we recognise the needs of the other client, the humankind.

The course will address new knowledge on human behaviour, systems thinking, material lifestyles, happiness and the future. This intensive workshop is also the introduction to the 365 Wellbeing-programme, which is part of the Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 offerings.

Videos of course lectures:

Wed 24th August 13:15 Keynote: Design for things that matter – John Thackara [video embedded]"
johnthackara  well-being  design  aaltouniversity  whatmatters  sustainability  2011 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: xskool: breathing the same air
"…We converged, instead, on the idea that "X" means: this place, this moment, these people. Breathing the same air. Only here, only now.

Our group also embraced the idea of no curriculum, no standardised process, no teachers, and no certificates…

1 An explanation: Xskool enables people to create unique events in which change-minded people participate, interact, and reflect.

2 Xskool is not for people who see themselves as leaders, role models, experts or 'change agents'. Xskoolers might well be leaders, role models etc - but that is not for them to decide…

5 At each xskool encounter, a host venue or location will present a task or a question for the visiting group to work on. At West Lexham our task was to build this path:

6 Each xskool group will also work on a question or questions of its own. This question will not be posed in advance; rather, it will emerge from a mindfully-orqanised process [such as Open Space or World Café] when the group first assembles at the location…"
xskool  education  learning  johnthackara  2011  curriculum  uncurriculum  curriculumisdead  change  community  events  unschooling  deschooling  unconferences  openstudioproject  openstudio  open  process  doing  making  collaboration  collaborative  lcproject 
august 2011 by robertogreco
DesignCrossing: X-School... Reflections on the path
"Last month John Thackara ran his first 'X-School'…to continue a conversation about what a 'school' for a new design paradigm should look like. Myself and a group of design minds got together in the countryside to thrash it out over a weekend of chat and activity.

Whenever we talked about what we thought 'X-School' could be, somewhere in my head I heard 'Fight Club', as in 'the first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club', except of course, we were there to talk about X-school, and... nobody got hurt.  We played some games, we built a flint path, we slept under the stars and swam in the river, we drank real ale and ate pizza and we talked about X-school.  It wasn't like a 'conference', or 'workshop', or even as John put it 'a country house weekend', it was something new.'

…there is enormous value in doing, there is enormous value in not defining your purpose, but most of all there is enormous value in sharing that experience with others."
xskool  johnthackara  unfinished  purpose  community  meaning  doing  improvisation  2011  experience  conversation  sharing  designeducation  education  lcproject  learning  fightclub  conferences  unconferences  workshops  unworkshops  openstudio  openstudioproject  openschools 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: In Praise of the Feral: Update on Xskool
"Convention centres are expensive, filled with hard surfaces, and - unless you're in the convention business - somewhere else than the subjects discussed in them. Being separated from the thing itself, they tend to foster groupthink - and abstract groupthink at that.

A feral encounter, in contrast, is one that has changed from being domesticated, to untamed. It brings people into contact with the lived reality of a situation. It is guided by its context - not by an agenda, and not by a curriculum.

In preparing for the challenges ahead we need more of the latter kinds of encounter.

This is the main conclusion so far from the xskool story…

The xskool opportunity is real, and pressing. Every design school in the world could use its support. All that's missing is a framework and resources to make it happen as a distributed service."
johnthackara  education  xskool  feral  untamed  unschooling  deschooling  learning  context  2011  design  designeducation  lcproject  discussion  conversation  facilitators  events  community 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: How to make systems thinking sexy
"We will not transition successfully to a restorative economy until systems thinking becomes as natural, for millions of people, as riding a bike…a big ask. How do we get from here, to there?

…Buckminster Fuller Challenge is 1 of more important projects to address this task—& serving on jury was by far hardest work I did last year.

Our task was easily enough stated: select "a bold, visionary, but tangible initiative that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems". To that headline—challenge on its own—was appended a daunting set of criteria for the assessment of each entry: Did it apply a whole systems approach to all facets of the design & development process? Is the project ecologically responsible? Is it feasible—not just in an ideal world, but using current technology & existing resources.? Can the project's claims be verified by rigorous empirical testing? &, is the project replicable? Can it scale & be adapted to a broad range of conditions?"
design  architecture  policy  systems  systemsthinking  buckminsterfuller  johnthackara  ecology  ecosystems  transitiontowns  transitionculture  energy  future  planning  operationhope  brownrevolution  blueventures  alasdairharris  politics  guntherpauli  economics  growth 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Land and Place [Xskool]
"Life Places: Xskool will nurture understanding of city-region as a sponge of interacting ecologies: bioregions, foodsheds, watersheds, energy, mobility, food, people. Participants will learn about opportunities to combine restoration of wetlands, prairies, forests, & marshes w/ roads, bridges, houses, utilities & such new urban features as vegetation corridors, biomes, aquatic systems, bluebelts.

Living systems/Permaculture: One definition of permaculture is learning from nature how to meet daily life needs while reducing work & energy required. Xskool does not mean the abandonment of science or technology, & it will not forment a retreat from city back to nature. Cities will be the context for much of work done by tomorrow’s designers.

Food & Fibre: Global food systems are unsustainable in terms of enviro-impact, health, & social quality. Up to 25% of eco-impact of an ‘advanced’ city can be attributed to food systems. Similar constraints apply to flows of textiles…"
xskool  johnthackara  ecosystems  bioregions  foodsheds  watresheds  mobility  food  people  urban  urbanism  cities  education  learning  unschooling  economics  deschooling  permaculture  systems  systemsthinking  energy  efficiency  environment  sustainability  textiles  global  design  future  classideas 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Presence and Perception [Xskool]
"Perceiving and re-connecting: Xskool will engage with artists in seeking ways to help us perceive the unseen, or the invisible: Ways to re-imagine the built world as a complex of interacting ecologies: energy, water, mobility, food. Ways to enrich our understanding of space, time, materiality, and process. Ways to steer our focus to open versus closed systems.

Presence and distance: It would be easier to travel less, and telecommunicate more, if the sensation of ‘being there’ were more engaging than it is now. Xskool will involve artists, theatre directors, fashion designers, psychologists, game designers – even philosophers – in effort to improve the design of remote communication.

Hosting and Coordinating: A whole-systems, transdisciplinary approach involves the need to connect and coordinate stakeholders with differing perspectives. How do we design conversations to be participative rather than directive? How to identify and organize hubs; the role of time-based events…"
xskool  ecosystems  systems  systemsthinking  ecology  networkedecologies  presence  perception  closedsystems  opensystems  open  complexity  complexsystems  energy  water  mobility  food  art  design  communication  johnthackara  process  materiality  transdisciplinary 
june 2011 by robertogreco
X-skool: Not so much a finishing school — more a starting over again school.
"Most design and architecture schools, and design firms, contain one or two people who are ready to make a fundamental transition to a new kind of design – one that creates social value without destroying natural and human assets.

Xskool is for them. For you.

Xskool is the germ of an idea: a professional development programme for mid-career designers, architects and design professors. The idea is to equip you with the ideas, skills and connections you need to help your organization change course and engage with the restorative economy that is now emerging.

Participants in Xskool will ideally be sponsored; the idea is to transform design organizations and communities, not just the individual. Xskool is not another sustainable design course."
xskool  johnthackara  design  education  schools  business  sustainability  unschooling  deschooling  lcproject  tcsnmy  socialvalue  society  altgdp  economics  restorativeeconomy  transformation  gamechanging  2011  place  land  perception  presence  diversity  method  solidarity  value 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: The economics of attention
"core argument (is) everyone is straining for distinction in late capitalist global economy jammed w/ commodities & info…culture & creativity are what affords producer possibility of distinction.

…explains universal prevalence of shock tactics in art & advertising…offers insights into changing role of creative artist & artist's sensibility in contemporary society".

…Are attenion-seeking artists really new phenomenon, economic or otherwise?…135 years since artist Emile Zola assured world, "I am here to live out loud"…

Ellis goes on to attribute phenomenal increase in # of people describing themselves as artists, in past half-century, to "changing balance of power btwn technical & creative…

Surely traditional job market economics are simpler explanation…recently, Dutch survey found only 2% of those w/ degree in art or design consider themselves to be unemployed.

The government should introduce compulsory art education for all - & thereby abolish unemployment at a stroke."
2006  art  design  education  economics  unemplyment  attention  johnthackara  adrianellis  richardlanham  unemployment 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception 7 on Flow: The design challenge of pervasive computing
Transcriptions from the event: 14, 15, 16 November 2002 in Amsterdam

"Trillions of embedded systems are being unleashed into the world. What are the implications of a world filled with all these sensors and actuators? Some of the world’s most insightful designers, thinkers and entrepreneurs will address these questions, with you, at Doors of Perception 7 in Amsterdam on 14, 15, 16 November 2002. The theme is Flow: the design challenge of pervasive computing."
2002  markoahtisaari  massimobanzi  joshuadavis  nataliejeremijenko  eziomazini  brucesterling  johnthackara  philiptabor  pervasivecomputing  ubicomp  pervasive  flow  urbancomputing  urban  sensors  sctuators  design 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Humanitarian Design vs. Design Imperialism: Debate Summary: Change Observer: Design Observer
"Bruce Nussbaum started a firestorm with the question "Is humanitarian design the new imperialism?" — and the conversation has spread through the blogosphere. Here, a digest of essays and related posts on this subject."
brucenussbaum  cameronsinclair  emilypilloton  susanszenasy  jonkolko  avinashrajagopal  robertfabricant  alexsteffen  patrickjames  nitibhan  infini  mariapopova  johnthackara  valeriecasey  davidstairs  timothyogden  shahanasiddiqui  humanitariandesign  design  imperialism  designimperialism  projecth  projecthdesign 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: Fish systems and design
"The design lesson here is that there can be no one global “sustainable fish system”. The design task, instead, is to look for practical ways to help a multitude of different models – like MEPA in the South, or Pisces in the North – succeed, multiply, connect and adapt - in different ways in different contexts."
systemsthinking  systems  sustainability  food  fish  design  designthinking  johnthackara  iphone  applications  environment  extinction  energy  differentiation  2009  ios 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: Traditional knowledge: the dilemmas of sharing
"traditional and tacit knowledge does not lend itself to being codified, organized by knowledge managers, and put into an encyclopedia. It is is socially-owned and used. Like flowers that wilt when cut and put in a vase, indigenous knowledge tends to degrade quickly when removed from its context...
johnthackara  curation  knowledge  libraries  skills  context  knowledgeecologies  taxonomy  categorization  expertise  sharing 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Tools of Engagement: The New Practice of User-Centered Design, by Robert Fabricant - Core77
"We have been operating under the assumption that the primary challenge is to convince businesses to focus on fulfilling user needs with higher quality products, with more meaningful experiences? But what if the 'users' themselves are the problem? ... Our design decisions are just one influence among many, not categorically different, and often not the most effective in motivating the user to achieve their desired aims. ... If we want to impact these ecosystems on a large scale we must increasingly design for social systems, not individual needs. ... Designers can exert tremendous influence by what we choose to (and choose not to) make tangible. ... John Thackara explains, we are "moving away from the idea that we have to make all of these decisions in advance, as designers or engineers. We need to enroll the creativity of our fellow citizens who used to be call consumers.""
robertfabricant  design  culture  behavior  experience  designthinking  usability  ethics  userexperience  ux  frogdesign  engagement  research  user-centered  innovation  diy  johnthackara  community  core77 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Scope (Schulze & Webb) [Slide 43 is his "100 hours challenge"]
"Design, culture, scale, space, superpowers. Key concepts: design and contributing to culture; ourselves as individuals and the big picture; taking action." From slide 43: "put aside 100 hours over this summer...Now for the next two days, go to talks and start conversations with people you don’t know, and choose what to spend your 100 hours on. I guarantee that everyone in this room can produce something or has some special skill, and maybe they’re not even aware of it. Ask them what theirs is, find out, because you’ll get ideas about what to learn yourself, and decide what to spend your 100 hours on. Do that for me. Because when you contribute, when you participate in culture, when you’re no longer solving problems, but inventing culture itself, that is when life starts getting interesting."

[video here: http://video.reboot.dk/video/486775/matt-webb-scope ]
mattwebb  design  culture  glvo  cv  schulzeandwebb  superpowers  imagination  creativity  tcsnmy  make  do  diy  definitions  books  wholeearthcatalog  stewartbrand  brunomunari  macro  bigpicture  generalists  risk  macroscope  ideas  thinking  designthinking  jackschulze  change  gamechanging  invention  futurism  reinvention  perspective  johnthackara  iterative  victorpapanek  informallearning  learning  zefrank  cognitivesurplus  plp  berg  berglondon 
june 2009 by robertogreco
The Complex History of Sustainability: A Timeline of Trends Authors, Projects, and Fiction by Amir Djalali and Piet Vollaard
"Looking back, we see that Western society has always been obsessed by its relationship with the environment, with what is meant to be outside ourselves, or, as some call it, nature.

Many ideas preceded the notion of Sustainability and even today there are various trends and original ideas following old ideological traditions. Some of these directly oppose Sustainability.

This timeline is a subjective attempt to historically map the different ideas around the problem of the relationship between humans and their environment."
via:javierarbona  sustainability  visualization  timelines  history  maps  mapping  theojansen  johnthackara  renzopiano  williammcdonough  ivanillich 
february 2009 by robertogreco
John Thackara gives us all new reasons to live | Beyond the Beyond from Wired.com
"Part of me hopes the crash is real because a meltdown would deflate an economy which will otherwise eat the biosphere alive. But a crash would also cause enormous hardship, including to one's own nearest and dearest. Besides, rooting for collapse puts you on the same side as the loony-tune end-days crowd - and that's not a club I want to join. It's all very complicated. A healthier response, I'm sure, is to get out of the house and look for positive things to do."
future  futurism  peakoil  technology  johnthackara  optimism  crisis  economics  sustainability  brucesterling 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Design Observer - John Thackara: We Are All Emerging Economies Now
"It is my growing conviction that, as designers, we can usually do more good in our own backyards than in foreign parts...most exciting opportunity for innovation lies in combining the knowledge systems, tools, and social and territorial assets of South a

[followup: http://www.core77.com/blog/business/cameron_sinclair_vs_john_thackara_10497.asp ]
johnthackara  design  activism  local  sustainability  development  poverty  innovation  practices 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Core77 - Changing the Change - a call to action
"three day conference...Manzini's core argument is very simple: we must urgently change the rapid changes currently occurring in our world into a direction of sustainability. And design can help us do that:"
sustainability  green  design  worldchanging  gamechanging  iwb  johnthackara  geethanarayanan  billmoggridge  activism  future  openstudioproject  lcproject 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Adobe - Design Center : The fake-space race: Design and the future of travel
"Current attempts at verisimilitude seem to underestimate our imaginative capacity, while tripping our deceit sensors. It's a matter of timing. The world needs artful telepresence more urgently than ever before. Can we please get on with it?"
johnthackara  sustainability  travel  telecommunication  communication  telepresence  presence  virtual  haptics  sensing  remote  video  videoconferencing  videophones  telecoms  perception  cyberspace  distance 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: Space, time and childhood
"I'm increasingly convinced: one of the most important design actions we can take for a sustainable future, if we're to have one, is to free free up lots of space and time for the follower generation to just get on with it."
johnthackara  children  childhood  space  sustainability  play  freedom  generations  parenting  cities  urban  time 
april 2008 by robertogreco
IFTF's Future Now: The Future of Presence, Continued
"My own view of subject is pessimistic...if history is lesson, more telepresence we get, more mobility we're going to need...telecommunications is good at maintaining long-distance relationships that generate demand for long-distance travel"
presence  travel  f2f  mobility  sustainability  johnthackara  telecommunications  telepresence 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Doors of Perception weblog: Traveling without moving in Uncanny Valley
"Philosophers...perplexed by relationship between body & experience for 2,000 years...I will ask whether we might design virtual encounters more effectively if we were look more to iconography, ritual, & poetic imagination - & less to brute bandwidth"
body  design  travel  human  meetings  conferences  sustainability  johnthackara  via:preoccupations  flights  bodies 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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