Alastair McIntosh reminds us here that the World’s oldest book, the Epic of Gilgamesh, portrayed tension between the wild and the civilised. The Buddha taught the interconnection of all things. Plato depicted the world as being “a living god”.
(Keynote talk in China) A just transition will happen when we see nature differently, relate to nature differently, and understand the purpose of development differently. So, can AI foster new ways of knowing and being in the world? Can it be medium of attention; a medium of connection; a medium of relationship with the living world?
Can indigenous knowledges help us inhabit our own places in a more adaptive and responsive ways? Can connection with these kinds of lived experience help us redefine development, and progress, in our own situations? The text here is my introduction to "Tonantsintlalli - a Multidimensional Mother Earth" in Australia
Ninety nine percent of life, it turns out, is invisible - so how do we design for that? My guest in this conversation is microbiome researcher Dr. Suzanne Ishaq, founder of the Microbes and Social Equity working group
(My foreward to DEDI) Indigenous peoples have a closer relationship with the ecologies of their land than those who practice ‘production agriculture’. But their intimate, fine-grained knowledge can always be enhanced. For example, biodata collected from plants could be ‘heard’ by the farmer as music.
“Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks” writes Gloria E. Anzaldúa. For her, life-centered design could as well be thought of as weaving, as walking. “We humans need to be nepantleras - bridge builders and reweavers of relationality” (My chapter in the new Bauhaus book).
(For an exhibition called Sensory Orders curated by Erik Adigard at Laznia Centre, in Gdansk). "As a writer, my work involves a search for small islands of coherence – that I can later describe – in which social and ecological relationships thrive together. My aim as a curator is similar: I strive to enable embodied encounters in which we feel ourselves to be part of nature, rather than separate from it.
(in Spanish only, interview for BBC News Mundo,): Coronavirus | “Una de las locuras que se ha apoderado de Norteamérica y Europa es el pánico que les entra cuando las cosas van mal”: entrevista con el filósofo John Thackara William Marquez BBC News Mundo
Drawing on my work organising Doors of Perceptions and xskools in 20 countries, the following three research topics are the focus of my contribution at Tongji University in Shanghai (D&I): Care. Value. Place | Urban-Rural Reconnection | Knowledge ecologies and scale
A cultural disconnection between the man-made world and the biosphere lies behind the grave challenges we face today. We either don’t think about rivers, soils, and biodiversity at all – or we treat them as resources whose only purpose is to feed the economy. This ‘metabolic rift’ – between the [continue …]
When the first botanical gardens were established 3,000 years ago, in Mesopotamia, they combined scientific enquiry with public education. Today's botanical gardens, ecomuseums, and National Parks are looking for new ways to engage citizens as active participants, not just as paying visitors. These new relationships need to be designed, enabled and supported.
I’ve been re-reading "the internet and everyone" by john chris jones. I’ve been astonished once again by the sensibility of an artist-writer-designer whose philosophy – indeed his whole life - first inspired me when I was a young magazine editor more than 30 years ago. Like another muse of mine, Ivan Illich, John Chris Jones was decades ahead of his time.
The design priority now is to foster better and richer connections between people, places and living systems - to reawaken a joyful sense of being at home in the natural world. This is where art and storytelling come in. (Interview with Sarah Dorkenwald for her book Visionen Gestalten).
Five years ago I obtained an extraordinary 736 page book called Lean Logic: A Dictionary For The Future and How To Survive It. Written over a thirty year period by the English ecologist David Fleming, the book had been published in a limited edition after the author’s untimely death. Now, [continue …]
“The world is in dire need of a narrative adjustment; that’s why we write” (Hamid Dabashi)
Since How To Thrive In the Next Economy was published in the autumn, my 29 conversations about the book have prompted all kinds of feedback. One question has cropped up repeatedly: In a world filled with [continue …]
Today, Plymouth University very generously awarded me an honorary doctorate. Here is my short statement to this year’s graduating class in Design, Architecture and Environment.
I nearly failed to get here yesterday, and I want to tell you why.
The road from my house to the city passes through a spectacular gorge. Several weeks [continue …]
Although we've allowed the metabolic interaction between man and the earth to wither, educators are working on a cure.
[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 [continue …]
Good news from Germany: A ‘global transformation of values has already begun’. It’s proving tough to leverage changing attitudes into sustainable behaviour – but a transition to a more sustainable society ‘would be welcomed by a significant part of world society’.
When he was sixteen years old, Floor van Keulen made a wall painting in the stairwell of his mother’s beauty salon. For the next 43 years, the artist has worked with the knowledge that most of his site- and time-specific specific works are destined to disappear. Why?
Global design education in a nasty bind. There are hints of the dot com boom a decade ago. New products [courses] have been launched at a frantic rate in recent years. New buildings are springing up. Global aggregators have even started buying design schools; an obscure American multinational, Laureate Universities, [continue …]
A decision by the Indian government set up four new National Institutes of Design [NIDs] in the country has sparked a lively debate about the kinds of design they should teach.
An influential group of design thought-leaders has launched a campaign called VisionFirst that calls for a “rigorous co-creation process [continue …]
If it is true that the world’s information base is doubling in size every 11 hours then a lot of eco-design information, that could be valuable for professionals, presumably goes un-noticed, and thus unused.
In the past month alone, for example, I’ve come across two paper-based design tools that would [continue …]
Each year 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness and on any given night, over 700,000 people are without a roof. In Houston alone, some 15,000 homeless people live in abandoned buildings, on cardboard makeshift beds, under freeways, and in shelters throughout the city.
In Western [continue …]
Before Twittter, a serious connoisseur might study the Mona Lisa for 20 years before reaching a conclusion. Today, the average museum visitor looks at a work of art for 42 seconds.
Now 45 seconds is a long time compared to the 11 seconds that most shares are owned by high [continue …]
I’m reading reading a moving and important book by Sharon Astyk called “Depletion and Abundance: Life On The New Home Front”.
Uniquely among recent books on life after the Peaks – energy, protein, biodiversity etc – [continue …]
(Summer re-run: first published September 2009)
A marketing whiz I know in New York asked me to do her a favour: answer some questions about the future of tv.
At least, that’s what I thought she asked. But when, a couple of days later, a FedEx package arrived, it contained [continue …]
I learn from Kris de Decker’s excellent Low Tech Magazine that an International Traditional Knowledge World Bank (ITKI)has been launched.
It’s an ambitious effort to preserve, restore and promote the re-use of traditional skills and inventions from [continue …]