Ways Of Knowing

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[Photograph: Hans Sylvester]

Interni and the Be Open Foundation are publishing a book, called Gallery Of The Senses, that explores the ways we experience the contemporary world through sight, hearing,smell, taste, and touch. It then asks: Are we missing a sixth sense? Here is my contribution. 

Humanity’s troubles did not begin with with the industrial age, nor even with agriculture. Our problems began when we embraced symbolic culture and placed language, art, and number above other ways of knowing the world. Read More »

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Speed? What Speed? Prisoners of Speed, by Ivan Illich (Part 3 of 3)

Ivan Illich

In 1996, Ivan Illich (above) agreed to speak at Doors of Perception in Amsterdam on the theme of  ‘speed’. The philosopher-educator surprised us by bringing along two fellow speakers: Sebastian Trapp, a field biologist, and Matthias Rieger, a musicologist. Their contributions are as  fresh today as when we heard them in Amsterdam – so we are running them again in three parts. This is part three, the concluding remarks of Ivan Illich. 

Ivan Illich: Prisoners of Speed

First let me thank the organisers of this conference for challenging us to prepare an intervention. My circle of friends in Bremen owe it to your programme that we have examined a neglected subject, the historicity of speed. Let me take you right to the core of the issue by expressing my thanks in old-fashioned English: Michiel, ‘God speed thee and thy close!’ Milton’s words would fit the occasion well. ‘To speed’ then meant ‘to prosper’ and not ‘to go fast’. Read More »

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Speed? What Speed? The Belly-Dance Drummer, by Matthias Rieger (Part 2, of 3)

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In 1996, when Ivan Illich agreed to speak at Doors of Perception in Amsterdam, our theme that year was ‘speed’. The philosopher surprised us by bringing along two fellow speakers: Sebastian Trapp, a field biologist, and Matthias Rieger, a musicologist. Their contributions are as  fresh today as twhen we heard them in Amsterdam – so we are running them again in three parts. This the second.

Matthias Rieger: Some remarks about speed from a belly-dance drummer’s point of view

When I prepared for this conference about speed, I was somewhat at a loss what to say in front of people who would have come from all over the world by car, train, or plane. This event, so I read in the programme, should give scientists, designers and philosophers a chance ‘to rub their brains’. After a while, I decided to ask my drum teacher Mohammed for help. Read More »

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Speed? What Speed? The Falcon, by Sebastian Trapp (Part 1 of 3)

falcon in flight

Reflecting on the ways that swallows move about the earth reminded me of the time, in 1996, when Ivan Illich agreed to speak at Doors of Perception in Amsterdam. Our theme that year was ‘speed’. The philosopher surprised us by bringing along two fellow speakers: Sebastian Trapp, a field biologist, and Matthias Rieger, a musicologist. As Illich described their approach at the time, “we went back into history to distance ourselves from modern certainties, to see whether we could find speed outside our speedy society”.  The three texts were revised after the conference – and each one is as  fresh today as the day we heard them in Amsterdam – so this seems like an opportune moment to run them again in three parts. 

Sebastian Trapp: Frederic the Second and the Speed of a Falcon

“In the early morning of February the 18th, 1248 the people of Parma in northern Italy attacked the enemy that had Read More »

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Flyways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an artefact, the swallows’ nest is not exactly the Taj Mahal. It’s a ramshackle structure, made of mud pellets and straw, that’s stuck crookedly to the wall. But it seems to suit them well – or rather, the surrounding habitat does.

swallow nests

I’m sad. The family of swallows that spent the summer in the eaves behind my office have headed south for the winter. Most of them will follow the west coast of Africa to avoid the Sahara; a few may travel further east down the Nile Valley. They’ll take it easy and stop every few miles at first to build up their fat reserves – but then they’ll speed up. In four months, as Christmas beckons here in the north, they’ll reach their destinations: Botswana, Namibia or South Africa. After just two months gorging on insects, they’ll begin the epic journey back. The strongest among them will make it back in just five weeks, traveling 200 miles a day.

And I thought my air travel was profligate. Read More »

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Connecting With The Other

A hand, a map, a story: In each of 30 photographs made by Céline Boyer, a cartographic fragment of someone’s country of origin is projected onto the subject’s own hand. Cities, seas, rivers, roads and borders are glimpsed.

13010114 PARENTHESES R°-9

“I arrived in Toulon at the age of 29 with my seven year old daughter”

“I was born in Burkina Faso but came to France when I was four following a coup d’etat” Read More »

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Between Sorrel And Supertanker

aa XSKL FP herbs presentation

In what ways can design help people interact with living systems in ways that help both of them thrive? And, what small practical steps might one take to test the effect of small actions on the system as a whole?

These two questions informed our Doors of Perception xskool last week; a partnership with Konstfack – and with the Read More »

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Of Change Labs and Living Systems: Doors of Perception Newsletter, July 2013

CONTENTS
On Getting Out Of The Tent
Xskool in Sweden: Design Within Living Systems
How To Use A Fringe-Dwelling Change Agent
Most-Read Stories
Recent Publications

Doors at 20: On getting out of the tent
Nearly twenty years ago, in November 1993, the year the web was invented, the first Doors of Perception conference took place in Amsterdam. Our starter question was: “wow, this Internet thing is amazing – but what is it for?” Two years later, at Doors 3, we proposed an answer: “Info, meet Eco” – and spent the next decade exploring how the internet, plus design, might contribute to sustainability. We concluded, after eight super-cool events in Amsterdam, that darkened conference halls trapped us in the ‘desert of the real’. We needed to get out more. So we left Amsterdam – moving first to India – and evolved a new kind of encounter. An xskool, as we call it, is a curated, context-specific, two-way learning exchange between a host project, or place, and expert but respectful visitors. By re-connecting people with places, and with each other, we believe, xskools can be an early catalyst for system transformation. To do this work well, new ways of knowing, and new ways of meeting, are needed. These are intriguing tasks for design. Read More »

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Xskool, Sweden, August

[Above: somewhere on the island of Grinda in the Stockholm Archipelago., where FuturePerfect takes place 14-18 August).

What are social-ecological systems? How do you design in them? What new skills do we need to do so? These three questions inform a Doors of Perception xskool that takes place in August as part of the FuturePerfect Festival in Sweden. Read More »

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