• Are we fulfilling our duty in this world?...

    Environment, Environmental Design


    my favorite book is "Massive Change" by Bruce Mau and the "Institute without boundaries" (Phaidon Press, 2004). Every time i pick this book to read a little i can't help not thinking about two very important messages, in my personal opinion, that this book delivers. it's a big book, sometimes because of the sea of information, it is hard to notice the major and critical messages. for me the those two messages are:

    1. in the introduction of the book (p.15) - citation of Arnold J. Toynbee (English historian, 1889-1975) who said - "the twentieth century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective." - Toynbee addressed the public before the 1980's "technical revolution", followed by the 1990's "information revolution", which helped us forget the goals and objectives mentioned by Toynbee, and converted our society to a mass-consuming herd that dedicate its life to the artifice and the material instead towards the human being and the surroundings in which we are living in, planet earth... Well if in the 20th century we missed it, i guess we have all the signs we need around us to alert us that the 21st century has to deal with those issue of humanity and the planet. No more delays!

    2.On the back cover of the book - "Massive Change is not about the world of design; it's about the design of the world." - We see the "designed object" as the goal, design itself became an objective, instead of what it really is - a TOOL to bring a situation from point A to point B (if it a solution to a physical problem, a way to deal with emotional stress, and etc.). So once we look at the world and its issues and use this skill of design to reshape it, understand its processes and make our existence within it more efficient to us and to our environment, than design gets its real meaning.

    Well, this is the way i see it...

  • I just bought this book on tuesday, its a big book, from the few bits of information that i got out of it, its very helpful in looking at this world in a new light. Just the opening images of various world/human catastrophes makes me think, whoa, what have we done.

  • Very nicely summarized, Oz. You, Sam and everyone else should be intrigued to learn that Jennifer Leonard was a central member to the Massive Change exhibition and the book. Jennifer keeps a design blog right here on Design21 and very graciously responded to our seniors' projects last spring (on the Parsons A Good Life 5 blogs). She also met with our seniors at the show last May to discuss their projects further. Perhaps she would consider doing this again with us this year?

  • oz, I don't know much about bruce mau, what has he done, and what is it about his philosophy/design ethos that attracts you? How does this source help to frame your idea? steven

  • Oz, Sam, Robert, Steven - Hey there! It's me, Jennifer, author of MC (with Mau). I'd be happy to make myself available to any of you to continue the dialogue the book was intended to kick-start.

    Drop a line sometime! Sincerely, J.

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