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This free monthly newsletter starts conversations on issues to do with design for resilience — and thereby reveals opportunities for action. It also brings you news of Doors of Perception events and encounters. Back issues are now archived on Design Observer. To subscribe to future newletters by John Thackara click here.
FOOD SYSTEMS: THE DESIGN AGENDA
Up to 25 percent of the ecological impact of an advanced city can be attributed to its food systems. This striking number was just one of the insights to enliven Doors of Perception 9 on "Juice" which took place in Delhi last month. Profiles, workshop reports, and conference presentations, will be posted soon. Pending that, here is a work-in-progress reflection on what we learned.
DOTT GOES TO PARLIAMENT
Is design an answer to climate change? UK Environment minister David Miliband, and Design Council Chief Executive David Kester, were among speakers at a seminar in London's Parliament to brief parliamentarians on the design-related approaches to sustainability being piloted by Dott 07 (Designs of the Time). My bit is here:
COMPLEX UTENSILS (MILAN/TURIN, 18 APRIL)
An international competition called Torino Geodesign will be launched in Milan on 18 April during the Salone di Mobile. Italo Lupi (editor of Abitare) hosts Sergio Chiamparino (Mayor of Turin); Stefano Boeri (curator, Torino Geodesign); Fernando and Humberto Campana (Brazilian designers); Guta Moura Guedes (ExperimentaDesign, Lisboa); and John Thackara (Doors of Perception). April 18, 18h-20h, Sala Buzzati, Corriere della Sera, via Balzan, 3 ang. via S. Marco, Milano.
RE-THINKING THE INTELLIGENT HOUSE (28 APRIL, PASADENA)
"Dwell on Design: The Intelligent House" is at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. The conference complements "Open House: Architecture and Technology for Intelligent Living" organized by the Vitra Design Museum with Art Center. The latter, an exhibition and research initiative, envisions the house of the future as a place for new spatial experiences, new systems of sustainability, and new sensory enhancements.
DOORS AT THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER (01 MAY, L.A.)
I'm staying on for two days in LA after the Dwell conference. If anyone in or around LA would like meet up for a drink on Monday 1 May, drop me a line:
DIGITAL DINNER AT BELSAY HALL (03 MAY. NORTHUMBERLAND, UK)
So you think you know what an English country house feels like? Well think again. English Heritage and Dott 07 (with Juha Huuskonen) have invited experimental film directors, artists and designers to transform Belsay Hall in Northumberland with a series of cutting edge art and new media installations.The specially commissioned exhibition will feature fashion, sculpture, music, design, poetry and video filling Belsay's vast empty rooms, spare castle and Grade 1 listed gardens. On Thursday 03 May Dott's Explorers Club is organising a visit and dinner at the site for a maximum of 50 people. You need to book (and pay 16 euros) by Friday 20 April. It's first-come first served at this one-off event. [‘Picture House, Film, Art and Design at Belsay’ is curated by Judith King and presented by English Heritage as part of its contemporary art programme in the North East, which is funded by Northern Rock Foundation and Arts Council England, North East. The Picture House exhibition is also funded by Design Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Northumberland Strategic Partnership and ONE North East. Picture House forms part of the North East England World Class Festival and Events programme and three commissions have been curated by Dott 07 (Designs of the time 2007)]. For BOOKINGS, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
MAPPING THE NECKLACE (06 MAY, DURHAM)
Can you roam a park which doesn't, as such, exist? How do you map something ephemeral like a memory, or a noise? In the City of Durham, the Necklace Park has opened for business – virtually. On May 5-7, you are invited to join spies, geeks, performers and other lone rangers to track, create, and compose your own park along a12 mile stretch of the River Wear with its 1,000 years of river-linked experience.
ECO DESIGN SCHOOLS CHALLENGE (MAY - JUNE)
Dott 07 asked Year 8 students in 84 schools around the North East of England to explore how design could reduce the ecological footprint of their school. We are still looking for enthusiastic and talented designers, from all disciplines, to volunteer their time to work with one of these schools for a day or more. Please fill in the form and we will be in touch soon.
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DESIGN CAMP (12-21 JULY)
What design steps would it take to camp in an urban wasteland? Could one re-design the landscape seen from a passing train? What new uses might we design for a disused cement quarry? How might wind farms become tourist attractions? In July, Dott 07 hosts an international design camp, led by Steve Messem of Fred, to develop sustainable tourism ideas for (and with) six North East locations. Results of the Design Camp will feature at the Dott07 Festival in October 2007. If you would like to be considered for a place, please email a short statement of interest to:
DOTT 07 FESTIVAL (15-28 OCTOBER)
Who designs your life? The culmination of Dott07’s year in North East England will be a festival in which Dott participants will share experiences with others – like you? – doing similar work on key themes: mobility and access; food and cities; the journey through dementia; sustainable tourism; and so on. Note the dates: 14-28 October, NewcastleGateshead, UK.
SNOUT - PARTICIPATORY SENSING
In next week's Snout ‘participatory sensing carnival’ in London, artists, producers, performers and computer programmers demonstrate how to create wearable technologies, from scavenged media, in order to map the invisible gases that affect our everyday environment. The project also explores how communities can use this visual evidence to participate in or initiate local action.? The performance will show in action two prototype Snout sensor ‘wearables’ based on traditional carnival costumes. Venue: Cargo, 83 Rivington St, Kingsland Viaduct, London, EC2A 3AY Tuesday 10 April.
Maja Kuzmanovic of FoAM invites your participation in the Luminous Green Symposium about ecologically inspired and sustainable worlds. Speakers incude Srinivasan Soundara Rajan (Barefoot College), Jennifer Leonard, (IDEO), Mike Longhurst (McCann-EMEA/EACA), Marko Peljhan (Interpolar), Carole Collet (Central Saint Martins), Joey Berzowska (Xs Labs, Concordia University), Philippe Samyn (Samyn and Partners). Monday 30 of April 2007, Groenhoven Estate in Malderen, Belgium.
GLOBAL CURATORS CONVERGE
Fourteen heavyweight design and architecture curators will gather in Minneapolis to discuss new directions at major international museums. Speakers include Paola Antonelli (MoMA), Ole Bouman (Netherlands Architecture Institute), Jean-Louis Cohen (NYU), Brooke Hodge (MOCA), Joseph Rosa (Art Institute of Chicago), Deyan Sudjic (Design Museum), Olivier Touraine (UCLA and Columbia), Henry Urbach (San Francisco MOMA). These big beasts are moderated by Janet Abrams, Steven F. Ostrow, and Tom Fisher. Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April 28, 2007 Minneapolis.
EXPORT OF EMISSIONS
‘Even if we were able to] shut down all of Britain's emissions tomorrow, growth in China will make up the difference within two years. So we've got to be realistic about how much obligation we've got to put on ourselves". That was British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on returning from a Caribbean holiday, just after Christmas. But Britain's modest sounding two percent adds up to 552 million tonnes and is more than the 112 smallest emitting countries put together. And although CO2 emissions emanating directly from the UK domestic economy may sound modest, the process of globalisation means that CO2 is emitted around the world on the UK’s behalf. One estimate suggests e actual size of Britain's global footprint as a nation, when emissions associated with the worldwide consumption of FTSE 100 company products are added up, amounts to 12 to 15 per cent of the global total. And that 15 percent does not include the emissions made since the dawn of the carbon-industrial age, which Britain helped invent, that perists in the atmosphere to this day.
DRUIDS AS DESIGNERS
Which box does one belong in during these curious times? Jan Jaap (Spreij) sent me links to two really quite excellent articles - on peak oil and the future of industrial society - written by....the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. Great writer. Great beard. But Grand Archdruids look so young these days.
BEING THERE, BUT NOT, WITH NEVEJAN
Doors' lifelong friend and collaborator Caroline Nevejan has completed the dissertation for her PhD on "presence and the design of trust". Her timing could hardly be better. As George Monbiot so inconveniently demonstrates in "Heat", each passenger on a return flight from London to New York produces roughly 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide. "There is no technofix to the disastrous impact of air travel on the environment...the only answer is to ground most of the aeroplanes flying today" concludes cheerful George. So Nevejan's topic, the design of presence in technologically mediated environments, moves centre stage.