Archives for posts with tag: artificial

In a very provocative final lecture by Cameron Tonkinwise in his course Rethinking Sustainable Design, Cameron summarized the course and then led us into a new discussion on sustainability as presented by Allan Stoekl in his book “Bataille’s Peak: Energy, Religion and Postsustainability” .

In many ways this was also Camerons answer to the question he posed earlier of “How do we want to live?” because if Sustainability is a question, and not a simple one then we know that every question has many potential answers. Likewise, one of the biggest problems with sustainability are the various ways in which it plays out to be a survivalist rhetoric. Sustainability is presented as an end point, a type of Cosmopolitan Utopia, where humans are pleasantly different together. But the biggest flaw with this line of thought is that it strips from humans all of their messiness, emotion, desire and eroticism. It is not the answer to Cosmopolitanism as a challenge that Kwame Appiah sought, because in this dialogue it was not a choice. It is a reactionary move on humans in response to the environment. Its a homeostasis that takes from us our ability to innovate and create and make decisions and to live with emotion and reduces us simply to animals that co-inhabit and survive.

In this Cosmopolitan sustainable future, it is a boring “Utopia”. I put Utopia in quotations because it is a false Utopia, a Utopia stripped of movement and motion.

If the question is “How do we want to live?” then the follow up question is do we want to live in stasis, do we want to end up in a perpetuated pattern of living in accordance with the environment, playing out the same story again and again?

Or do we want to imagine something different, we know that currently the imagination that has culminated in the neo-liberal capitalist state has left us “de-futured” in Clive Dilnots words; So how can we proceed?

Can we have our future imagine a future? What is sustainability in motion?

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Something that I have been thinking about a lot recently is that question above.

In my own experience, I am never as creative as when i’m hurt. I start to write poems, and write letters, and draw things. I blast music really loud and start dancing, making up rhythm and motion, creating a dance.

I wonder where this urge comes from, to make, to create?

Maybe it has a lot to do with going back to being human. – all that Heideggerian stuff — Man is as Man Dwells thus Man is as Man Makes.

And that when we feel hurt, we do the only thing we can which is create, bring things to life, love. We do that which is the most human thing we can do, we try to feel like we are a part of something, a part of humanity, a part of culture?

Maybe its like the argument Elaine Scarry makes on beauty and that it unselfs you and makes you want to protect?

We try to make beautiful things to step outside of ourselves, to then see that beauty.

Or her argument in “Body in Pain” where creation is the act of taking away someones pain?

Worldmaking?

Is creation a healing process?

Am I the only one who creates after heartbreak?

 

This is in essence, a counterpoint to my last point on the inherent ugliness of sustainability.

It should probably have been a comment, but I wanted a separate discussion on this point, forgive me.

I think it was around december 2010, when Elaine Scarry came to the New School to be the Keynote speaker for a design conference called “The critical gift in design.” She gave a talk, mostly on her book “On Beauty and Being Just” and a little bit on her book “The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World

It is about her comments on beauty that I dwell.

Scarry says that there are qualities of beauty that are important enough for us to see it as a goal.

The one that came to me was the aspect of beauty as being “unselfing”. When we encounter beautiful things, we step outside ourselves and perceive the world.

Indeed she says “beauty raises the bar for what counts as perception.”

It is a strong argument in that we normally can only see ourselves, and when we encounter beautiful things we step outside of ourselves and perceive the world.

Scarry went on to say “Beautiful things make us want to protect – to care for those things”

This is my counterpoint to the last post on the inherent ugliness of sustainability. If beauty allows us to perceive the world through a process of unselfing and then ignites within us the cause to protect those beautiful things. Is it not fair to say, that sustainability is not beautiful enough? We should make more and more beautiful things, to allow for people to perceive the world.

This is followed, by Scarrys third site of beauty which is creation. Beautiful things make us want to create.

So we go from encounter to unselfing to perception to creation. It is a really beautiful path.

There are 2 questions that I have here.

The first: So should we just make more beautiful things?”

The second: How can we capitalize on perception?

If we are in a race against time with the planet, can we capitalize on beauty?

Can we use beauty and its unselfing as a design goal?

Or will that subvert beauty and make it ugly?

Ok sorry, that was more than 2 questions.

On another blog of mine I wrote a long paper outlining an idea that in order to begin to ensure a future for ourselves, we have to abolish the notion of safety and comfort. Because, real design, real making, carries within it the idea of taking away someone elses pain; and this is something that design no longer seems to do.

Rethinking the Artificial http://bit.ly/ecFkta (it’s long and dense so I wouldn’t bother, but hey, why not)

I read an article in the NYT today : Newly Homeless in Japan Re-Establish Order Amid Chaos http://nyti.ms/i2GdkC

This article was moving in many ways. In it you will read how people are naturally creating order for themselves, and envisioning services in order to make their stay more meaningful. In order to cure each other of their pain in the aftermath of the disaster that has happened.

Are we really incapable of truly making when we are not in crisis? It seems like the fastest way to save the world is to accelerate its demise. To allow everyone to feel pain, so that everyone can begin to make in order to relieve.

Do we really need crisis and destruction to begin making?