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John Thackara

Remembering Ivan Illich [February 2003]


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.

IVAN ILLICH
We mourn the recent death of Ivan Illich, but celebrate one of the most inspiring minds and lives of the twentieth century. Illich once wrote: "I believe that a desirable future depends on our deliberately choosing a life of action over a life of consumption; in the power of association, and the importance of local groups and networks in opening up and supporting learning; in a lifestyle which will enable us to be spontaneous, independent, yet related to each other; rather than a lifestyle which only allows us to produce and consume." That was in 1970, thirty years before No Logo. Illich's talk at Doors 4, in 1996, was one of the best we heard. If you have not read Illich's writings, we commend them to you. Most of them are online.
http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich.html
http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-illic.htm
http://museum.doorsofperception.com/doors/revamped_frameset.php?doorid=4

LOOKING FOR FOUNDATIONS
Doors of Perception will be ten years old in November this year. This struck us as a good moment to launch a development campaign to fund a second decade of work. Personal contacts work best when approaching foundations, so we are looking for introductions to likely funders. If you can help us, please email:
kristi@doorsofperception.com

FLOW WEB UPDATES: TV SAMPLES ONLINE SOON
The popular video samples (by Marcel van der Drift) that kicked off each session at the Flow conference, will be streamingly online on the flow-website soon (we hope by the end of this week). The flow website has been updated, and the rest of the transcriptions will follow.
http://flow.doorsofperception.com

LIVING INFORMATION AT DEAF
This year's DEAF (the Dutch Electronic Art Festival) explores the theme of Data Knitting - the ways in which information is gathered, ordered and made accessible through databases and archives. Installations from the likes of Sher Doruff, Lev Manovich, George Legrady and Lynn Hershman investigate our interaction with the complex and increasingly self-sorting dataverse, while a parallel symposium, Information is Alive, focusing on the archive as living entity, is moderated by Manuel de Landa. A copyright seminar, workshops, multimedia bus tour and other goodies. Rotterdam, February 25 - March 9.
http://deaf.v2.nl/deaf/03/homepage/homepage.html

MUSIC FOR THE EYE
Sonic Lights is a festival of experimental film from abstract light renditions to digitally manipulated video collages, featuring work by Stephen Beck, Skip Sweeney, Stan Brakhage and others, accompanied by electronic music from the likes of Steim. There's also a symposium for the theoretically minded. At the Balie and Paradiso, Amsterdam, February 13 - 23.
http://www.balie.nl

NEXT INTERNET, PLEASE
Oxford University's Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy and the Oxford Internet Institute unite to host the one-day conference, Politics of Code - Shaping the Future of the Next Internet. Held in Oxford, February, it features speakers like Larry Lessig and Esther Dyson.
http://pcmlp.socleg.ox.ac.uk/code/

DESIGN AND MOBILITY
Rotterdam will host the first International Architecture Biennial from May 7 - July 7, 2003. This large-scale event examines the issue of modern-day mobility and its consequences for architecture and urban development. Architects, civil engineers, urban planners, traffic experts, landscape architects, students, filmmakers and photographers from around the world will spend two months presenting plans and exchanging ideas. The biennale's curator is Francine Houben, partner in the Mecanoo architecture firm and professor at Delft University of Technology.
http://www.1ab-rotterdam.nl/

READY FOR TAKE OFF?
Rotterdam may be on the move, but we were amazed to read that fewer than eight per cent of Europeans have been in an aircraft.
http://www.eurocontrol.int/statfor/forecasts/index.html#forecast_reports

PETER GREENAWAY IN BERLIN
Film-maker Peter Greenaway launches the website of his new, multi-movie, multi-DVD and online-game project, The Tulse Luper Project, at transmediale.03 in Berlin on 5 February, 16.00 hrs. The biggest media art festival in Germany has thus beaten its big sister, the Berlinale Film Festival, to this treat in the converging field of film, art and online media.
http://www.transmediale.de

RISKY IN THE ROCKIES
"What's the biggest risk you've ever taken? Did it change your life? In a time that is fraught with danger, it may seem careless or even arrogant to take risks. Yet we crave exploration and adventure; it is what expands our universe." Feel brave? Then go to this year's International Design Conference in Aspen, August 20-23.
http://www.idca.org/2003/register.html

NARCISSISTIC IN TEXAS
Terrible news reaches us from Austin, Texas: "creatives" are no longer just a bunch of narcissists making ads and websites, they have become a "new social class." Or so argues Richard Florida, keynote speaker at this year's South by Southwest conference. March 7 - 11, Austin, Texas.
http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/

RE-BORN IN MONTEREY
North American conferences seem to be getting weirder and more apocalyptic by the week. What's going on? The theme of this year's TED conference, for example, is "Rebirth." February 26 - March 1, Monterey, California.
http://www.ted.com/theconference/2003

EMOTIONAL IN FLORIDA
A culture is surely in deep, if not terminal, crisis when engineers start talking about the design of emotions. Now Don Norman is at it. "In the past year I've been catching up on the scientific work in emotion", he write. "The result is a new theory of emotion, with implications for the development of autonomous machines and robots as well as to design." Professor Norman is a great man but this is… sad.
http://www.chi2003.org/plenary.html

METHODICAL IN CHICAGO
Reassuringly, some feet remain earthbound in the US of A. Chicago's Institute of Design has announced the launch of a one-year, methods-based professional degree for mid-career designers, called the Master of Design Methods (MDM).
http://www.id.iit.edu/grad/mdm.html

GARBAGE IN OLD EUROPE
An exhibition called "Everything Garbage", at the Bellrive Museum in Zurich, is accompanied by a conference called "Desire for cleanness, or lust for dirt?" February 6 through May 11. http://www.german-design-council.de

SCIENCE OF APPLIANCE
"To maximise the value of (information) appliances, products from many vendors will need to work together harmoniously in new and unexpected ways, requiring cross-industry collaboration to discover and realize that value." Nice to see that unbounded optimism still exists in the world. The first international conference on appliance design involves such interaction design luminaries as Bill Sharpe, Bill Moggridge from Ideo, Bill Gaver at the Royal College of Art, Lars Erik Holmquist from Viktoria Institute, Sweden, and Tom Rodden at Nottingham University.
http://www.appliancedesign.org/1ad/

VAGUE IN VIENNA
A design school on "touristic information de luxe" takes place in Austria this summer. "The focus is on investigating, evaluating and re-designing conventional and digital information for visitors to a city like Vienna who move around on foot or by using public means of transport or taxi. Special attention is paid to content enriching a city experience with regard to its history, presence and future." Findings will be presented at the international Vision Plus seminar at Lech/Arlberg, September 18-20. http://www.iiid.net/

FOUND IN SPACE
A seminar on "Orientation in Space", run by the German Design Council, and including Eric Spiekermann as keynote speaker, takes place at the Public Design tradeshow in Dusseldorf on February 13.
info@german-design-council.de

INFORMATION SOCIETY WEBSITE
The European Commission has launched a research networking website for its Information Society programme.
http://www.cordis.lu/ist/rn/home.html

NOT THE NEW VORMGEVINGSINSTITUUT
A new organisation, the Premsela Foundation, has been set up in Holland to "strengthen the social, economic and cultural role of Dutch design." We are asked to call the new entity "Premsela" - and not to say that it's the new Vormgevingsinstituut (the former home of Doors which closed, amid much fuss, in 2000). Premsela's director, Dingeman Kuilman, remains the Doors of Perception Foundation's chairman until March.
http://www.premsela.org/

SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT DESIGN
This seminar on sustainable innovation looks at ways to create sustainable products, services, and product-service-systems. 27-28 October 2003, Stockholm, Sweden.
http://www.cfsd.org.uk/events/tspd8

DESIGNING DESIGNERS IN MILAN
The fourth edition of Designing Designers, for industrial design course leaders, is at at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, April 9 - 14, is organized by Milan Polytechnic's Faculty of Design.
Apply to: designing.designers@polimi.it

GROPING IN GHENT
Do you think on, or with, your feet? New developments in a variety of disciplines - ranging from philosophy, to medicine, to cognitive science - argue for "a revaluation of the body as actively involved in processes of world making rather than a passive decoding machine." So elucidates the announcement for a conference called Multiliteracies: The Contact Zone which takes place in Ghent, Belgium, 22-27 September 2003. Email: kranenbu@xs4all.nl
http://memling.rug.ac.be/aila

SILENCE OF THE MUSIC
A large picture of the great composer's nose accompanies the homepage of this homage to the relationship between John Cage and Emanuel Dimas de Melo Pimenta, "architect, photographer, writer and music maker, from 1985 up to his disappearance ..." Esoteric images accompany an ... event ..., which "explodes his musical creativity to the highest level of the human sensitivity ... a message of peace and social rebirth for all human beings on the Earth." Whatever it is, it's in Rovereto, Trentinio.
http://www.asa-art.com/cage2003.html

POWERPOINT HEAVEN AND POWERPOINT HELL
"Ian Parker in The New Yorker magazine states that according to Microsoft estimates, more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations are made each day. If we assume some relatively conservative meeting parameters of four people per presentation, a half-hour presentation on average and the wasted time due to a poor presentation is one-quarter of the presentation time, we arrive at a waste of 15 million person hours per day. At an average salary of $35,000 per year for those attending the meeting, the cost of that wasted time is a staggering $252 million and change each day."
http://www.clicktoaddtitle.com/
http://www.communicateusingtechnology.com/articles/wasting_250M_bad_ppt.htm





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