I'm sick and have spent the day pondering how I got to be so. I would love to pin it on a single reason... but as in most cases it was a tangled web of untraceable steps that led me to my bedridden state. It reminded me of the night a friend and I sat around trying to understand metabolism. After a marathon of in depth scientific research (good solid googling), I stopped listening and Peter continued his search with no reasonable success. We asked another friend who, after pondering for a few brief moments, commented (must read with a British accent) "You see... metabolism, well, it's like the economy". And though I have absolutely no understanding of economics (outside of a few required classes where I spent most of the time doodling side views of cars on my "notes"- it was car quarter in sophomore ID), I do know that it is a promiscuous series of actions/reactions. Like a rubber-band ball of sorts, for those of you who think in simple, office supply metaphors... or trying to understand why a relationship didn't work out (for those that dabbled much too long in a relationshit or two). Fundamentals aside, it just didn't. Too many steps surmounted and formed the rubber-band ball or the relationship as it stands. You could dissect the reasons/actions/reactions (rubber-bands if you will) one by one, but that would be time consuming and completely unnecessary unless you care to fix it. Like the economic state in which we currently find ourselves. We've recognized that we need to fix it. Thus, we must start taking positive, well-managed, thorough steps, one at a time to build our new economic state. We can't overlook a single gosh, darn thing.
Upon GM's declaration of Chapter 11 and my coincidental purchase of the current issue of "AdBusters" entitled "A New Aesthetic", I find it timely to address the "post materialist/post consumerism aesthetic". It is undoubtedly the dawn of a new era which will bring a reaction on many fronts. Being such visible proponents of consumerism, I'm curious what our reaction will be and who all is to "blame" (aka who all holds the power/has a responsibility).
As designers, how do we react? Here is where I insert my opinion and great examples that have already pronounced themselves design icons of the new era... but, this is where you need to forgive me, I DON'T KNOW. I am merely a drop of sap from one of the rubber trees, not even a full rubber-band (aww, how poetic). But as designers, we will undoubtedly react. How will we use our power?
"Designers work beneath the surface, setting the mood of our
mental environment. They create the look and lure of magazines,
the tone of TV and the ebb and flow of the net. Herein lies their
power. They generated much of the envy and desire that fueled
consumer capitalism for the past 50 years and they manufactured
much of the cynicism that underlies our postmodern condition.
Now they will harness that great power to undo the past and
create the aesthetic of the post materialist age."
-Design Anarchy via "AdBusters"
To be constructive, I agree with Mark Goulthorpe (from an older issue of "Praxis" magazine) when he says, "If you want to attain a change in modes of receptivity, you won't do it by operating within an extant mode of creativity." All that comprises "creative problem solving"; our processes, habits, tools, relationships with clients/bosses/coworkers, needs a remix. We should learn from the past. Really learn. Not tinker, not adjust. When presented with a problem we've seen before, learn from the past -our successes, our failures- but aim to be 100% better, 100 times more successful.
Ok, I'm getting out of control. I'm not a writer nor do I remember much when it comes to grammar and punctuation, so I need to wrap this up. The fact that I say "I" a lot must be obnoxious. Additionally, I don't edit because it's a silly blog and I'm pretty sure my most frequent reader/#1 fan is my mother. Promise to get to the "point" (which really, there is none) in the next paragraphs.
How do we respond? Do we look at ourselves and pull a Starck? Do we blame consumers for being uneducated/not caring? Do we blame corporations for "lying" about products (their effects) or resurrect neo-Marxist thoughts, blaming overseas manufacturing for propagating domestic self-demise? Please say we can begin rectifying the situation one decision at a time. Please say we all care.
Perhaps Arne Naess had it right, unless we know how our actions will affect others, we should not act. Less literally, maybe we take our time and spend our money wisely so rash decisions don't send us back to where we started. It is not company for company, but the greater "self". It is not "10 years down the road" but a consideration of at least 7 generations. Everyone is responsible. Our "self" reaches much further than we know and potentially further than we ever really want to know. On a positive note, we're all in control of our own actions, so... there's that. As a friend recently reminded me, "check yourself before you wreck yourself".
And thus ends my midnight rambling.