These are the summaries of discussions held at the Luminous Green Symposium 2007
At the Luminous Green Symposium in 2007, the participants were seated around 11 tables, each with their own 'principal invigorator' (PI). The PIs of 2007 were Kristina Andersen, Maggie Buxton, Margo De Koster, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Matthias Gmachl, Jennifer Leonard, Tapio Makela, Andrew Morrisson, Andrea Polli and Steven Pickles.
Below you can find the notes from the discussions, that were summarised by the PIs, during the concluding session of the Symposium.
In terms of re-examining Massive Change, it's not so much about design economies - that is, solid, stagnant categories that divide up our world for examination of the latest, greatest technological innovations - it's about design ecologies. Design ecologies are fluid, dynamic conditions that intersect and overlap and intertwine. Design ecologies are diverse whole systems with predominant themes, e.g. The “urban ecology”; the “energy ecology”; the “information ecology”. What we can take from this insight, going forward in the direction of a luminous green future, is that interconnectivity is a new way to approach problem-solving, or design. It's also true that interconnectivity is a way to sustain communities. We learned from the Barefoot College that its participants are cultivated to self-sustain by reaching out to others, sharing skills and strengthening local knowledge. Interconnectedness is a key piece of pro-active, conscious change. In our global commons, in which the only constant is change, it's human stories that will sustain us. – Jennifer Leonard
For sustainable design, development and community to be meaningfully enacted participants to it need to believe in a fundamental, situated dramaturgy. -Andrew Morrisson
What does ecology really mean? After much discussion it came down to a sense of interconnectedness and relationship. Focussing on change for changes sake is missing the point… - Maggie Buxton
Our group was tasked with discussing “Urban” from an ecological viewpoint, following are the main points raised -Steven Pickles
Power that comes from advertising is generated from profit-centric spin. If the medium is the message - and the message, no matter what it is, comes from the world of advertising - can advertising ever have a sustainable edge? Or are its messages always slightly contaminated, or green-washed? On the flip side, power that comes from a carefully curated mix of art and science is generated from human-centric curiosity. Can human curiosity be just as reckless as a corporation's profit motive? Does our existence in extreme environments, for our own benefit, diminish the positive effects of intellectual exploration? For both advertising and art/science projects, “if it's going to happen anyway”…we should do it with utmost integrity and honesty. We need to examine motives. In the case of advertising, the consumers are skeptical - it's a tough road to traverse. In the case of cross-disciplinary projects like Marco's, his polar test labs are intended to support our pursuit of a sustainable future. There is hope is such courageous, committed endeavors. Is there also hope that his findings get the same communication oomph that the ad world would give it if it's client were big business? Hmm… – Jennifer Leonard
One of the issues we need to keep a watchful eye on in the growing of care-ful communication is how advertisers, corporations and financial groups orient and mediate their own interests via ‘green washing’. - Andrew Morrisson
In essence it isnt necessarily about 'communication' but about 'meta-communication'. How do we engage in discussions about how we communicate with each other? How do we find ways to question the assumptions and beliefs behind our interactions and connections with each other. How do we move from a place of unconscious connection to conscious interconnection? Back and forth debate and advocacy are all about talking at…who is actually taking the time to inquire? Who is actually listening? Also, what really drives us as artists, scientists etc? What are our motivations to engage in this work…really? Is it really about connection and sustainability…or are we still in an old paradigm of making so called 'big business' and 'government' THE OTHER…while simultaneously preaching an ecology of inclusion? - Maggie Buxton
Topics raised by the group I was with: -Steven Pickles
Building on the sentiment that sustainability as a word has lost its pure meaning…it's a tricky modifier in the world of textile design. Organic does not necessarily mean sustainable, nor does simply naming an effort sustainable make it so. Sometimes this word ostracizes; sometimes it serves only to deepen its already committed audience. Sustainable design should be the way it simply is from here on out, i.e. No need to say “sustainable” design. And within this, aesthetics is not lost. Aesthetics is critical in conveying the value of sustainability. We also need to reconcile our desire to build, make, craft and put ever-more matter into the world. As we create, we contribute to the beauty and excitement of the world, but we also contribute to waste. How can we use textiles to raise issues about energy? Or community? Or heritage? How can we use materials to delight not only our senses but also sustain our ecosystem? Finally, can we find a compelling way to transform the sense of guilt that's woven through the notion of sustainable living? Can it be reframed as responsibility? Can it be more fun? - Jennifer Leonard
Spirit and matter both matter in our conceptualisations and practices of the interrelationships between design and technology. Concerning flexible, agile and adaptable matter, we might ask: how luminously green a word is sustainability? - Andrew Morrisson
Topics raised by the group I was with: -Steven Pickles
Energy is unfortunately quite a transparent thing that is hard to grasp so when we want to design for it, terminology matters. Energy is not only a concept that we are simply “wasting”, we need to think about the topography of energy. From embedded energy, we might also have mental and personal energy levels that vary, as well as a culturally embedded energy that we produce. There is the communal energy we share between people. We have personal energy that reacts to the things we use and do but there is also the concept of the greater energy levels (citywide for example) that we contribute to by our daily choices.
We need to think about ways to harness these different levels of energy and keep them in mind when we design. -Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
The group spoke about consumption patterns in the modern world even with the presence of fair-trade. Even in the smallest of Belgian cities, the yearly clothing collection was of 10 tons of clothes. We exchanged thoughts about media's role in pushing this perpetual consumption cycle especially in light of , Mike Longhurst' s presentation. Bigger companies need to make the bigger changes because their impact is much more important than the smaller incremental steps people might make on their daily lives. “Voting with your dollars” is also still the most powerful tool a consumer can use to swing brands in the right direction. -Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
From found notes…
The group fantasized about peace everywhere on Earth, but thought that maybe Vlad Klemnikoff idea of a 'war island' would be useful, a place where people who wanted to 'die like heroes' could go to experience war.
We talked a lot about the problem of the unwilling participants and victims of war and theorized a coalition of 'unwilling' - peace movements intentionally connected. We thought that borders were part of the problem and imagined a world with no concept of 'country' - … only of individuals. This moved into a discussion of individual responsibility - how to empower people to be more involved in decision making, and how to inlcude those fighting wars on the ground, the soldiers themselves, as a part of decision making.
Also on the issue of individual empowerment, we looked to innovative ways to solve the problem of war historically, for example the ancient idea of the 'duel'and how in ancient Rome, wives used sex as a weapon, witholding conjugal relations from their soldier-husbands until they refused to fight.
A family with a small child in our group asked us to look at how we teach children to resolve conflicts and strive for forgiveness. We looked to conflict resolution in post-apartheid South Africa as an example. We thought that technology could be used against war, in particular communications technology and cited examples of the Baghdad blogger, and the Palestine telephone across the wall. Successful boycotts (including apartheid) were cited.
Amy gave a vivid visual depiction of the problem of dividing resources by taking the fruit on the table (6 pieces) and asking how we might equitably divide it among the 8 of us at the table. Perhaps if each of us consumed less than a entire piece of fruit, there would be plenty for all. This evolved into a fruit salad - and then a food-fight! (just for fun of course)