Producerism —and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur

I love this word – PRODUCERISM!

“Producerism,” we can call this, by analogy with consumerism. What we’re now persuaded to consume, most conspicuously, are the means to create. And the democratization of taste ensures that no one has the right (or inclination) to tell us when our work is bad. A universal grade inflation now obtains: we’re all swapping A-minuses all the time, or, in the language of Facebook, “likes.”

As you read this you are probably an active journalist (making news on facebook), an archivist/ historian (making collections on Pinterest) and a photographer on the verge of having an online gallery show.

Art Spelt Design for me

I went back to have another read of this very fine article in the Atlantic: The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur

I read this article as a piece on design – for DESIGN is a dirty word in Design Academia now: We are all CREATIVE PRACTITIONERs doing CreativePractice!!

The self-consciousness with the term design – when it becomes a pejorative – is both the current condition and a reaction to the”The democratization of taste”: As the article posits:

  1. The democratization of taste, abetted by the Web, coincides with the democratization of creativity.

  2. The makers have the means to sell, but everybody has the means to make. And everybody’s using them.

  3. Everybody seems to fancy himself (herself) a writer, a musician, a visual artist.

I am not the Designer – so says the Design Academic pursuing their PhD. I am something more – an intellectual undertaking research that I will refer to as “Creative Practice”. Its more than mere Skill.

  • Thereby swiftly downgrading skill!!
  • “That is not creative Practice” – thats mere skill. Not design, mere carpentry.

As someone who has taught Car Design – a form of design that keeps its mouth shut and valorises/ lionises skill and beauty – I feel this violence sharply. By demeaning drawing – and lionising CAD – beautiful cars we do not get.

We certainly don’t get this stunner at the recent Tokyo Motor show!

And thats how design killed itself by the process of democratisation!

And Art?

When works of art become commodities and nothing else, when every endeavor becomes “creative” and everybody “a creative,” then art sinks back to craft and artists back to artisans—a word that, in its adjectival form, at least, is newly popular again. Artisanal pickles, artisanal poems: what’s the difference, after all? So “art” itself may disappear: art as Art, that old high thing. Which—unless, like me, you think we need a vessel for our inner life—is nothing much to mourn.

Source: The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur – The Atlantic

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Mazda’s Vision Coupe Is the Hottest Concept Car at the Tokyo Motor Show | Architectural Digest

The sleek design looks like something Mercedes, BMW, or Audi would unveil but didn’t …

mazda-concept-vision-coupe-01message-editor2f1508936990298-07_vision_coupe_ext_rqmazda-vision-coupe-concept-1

Source: Mazda’s Vision Coupe Is the Hottest Concept Car at the Tokyo Motor Show | Architectural Digest

How She Works: One Director of Design’s job is to look into the future

When it comes to design, Tisha Johnson’s number one goal is elegance. The Senior Director of Design’s job at Volvo Cars is to envision the future of driving and bring futuristic concepts into the present. Johnson and her team have spearheaded such unique concepts as a 360-degree swivelling child seat, passenger lounge, and an intuitive digital display system within their cars. “In truth, really great design is always about people coming together and collaborating,” says Johnson, who spends her days interacting with fellow designers, artists, and engineers at Volvo to make her dreams come to fruition. While the process typically varies from project to project, it generally takes about three years for an idea to come to life and be put in place at Volvo. In this episode of How She Works, Tisha Johnson explains how she brings elegance and comfort to design in the constantly changing automobile industry.

Source: How She Works: One Director of Design’s job is to look into the future

The Project of Meeting Emissions Targets to stave off Global Warming

Will ICE’s be obsolete for Automobiles at some stage in the future?

The answer to this is a possible yes. Though in the near future the electrification of the whole global vehicle fleet will be a major undertaking. Plus the disposal and recycling of the zero-value (worthless) IC Engines will have to be planned with State intervention for materials reclamation.

Th graph above shows one simulation where half of vehicle sales are Electric. Is it possible for this to be doubled and with another half coming from retrofitting?

Not good enough for impacting climate change and reducing global warming totally – but a big win that combined with a shift to renewables and reduction of fossil fuel power generation will show huge impacts. That said any increase in electric vehicle populations will be a welcome shift.

The goal being an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions – to potentially be achievable in high population density zones, cities, through a shift to electric cars charged by renewable energy.

ICEs will be banned from some specific Zones on the planet

Such as Urban Centres all over and in all parts of certain developed countries (Norway).

Old/existing IC Engine vehicles will be required to be retrofitted

To comply with new regulations.

Electric Subaru (http://www.electricsubaru.com)

IC Engines will persist

In other Zones (remote, rural or off the grid) – Especially in locations with energy (electricity) security (scarcity) issues such as off the grid locations, Pacific Island States, parts of Asia, South America and Africa.

When will European Countries be fully electric?

When regulations prohibit them. New vehicles have to be Electric: Norway by 2050, France by 2040.

By 2030 what percentage of cars will be electric?

Hard to answer. Even if all new car sales will be Electric – there are older cars (1.2 Billion today) – and the new electric cars will at best be the added fraction to reach 2 billion by 2030. So if new ICE automobiles are banned everywhere on the planet – then 800 million (0.8 billion) new cars will be electric.

Who will buy so many cars?

See Automobile consumption figures.

Global Vehicle Consumption

69 Million (2016) (2017-2030, 800-900 million new vehicles)

  1. Europe 17
  2. America 11.5 Million
  3. Asia 39.5 Million
  4. Africa 1 Million

If there is a BAN on IC Engines, how many vehicle will need to be retrofitted?

Vehicle population 1.2 Billion cars run on IC Engines today.

  1. America: 238 (US: 122)
  2. Europe: 333
  3. Africa: 30
  4. Asia: 344
    1. China: 135
    2. Japan: 60
    3. India: 22
    4. South Korea: 16

Electric Vehicle here refers to all forms of non IC Engine, even Hybrid:

  1. Plug-In Vehicle (PIV)
  2. Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV)
  3. Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV)

Resources

Source for figures: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, http://www.oica.net

Another source of Data:EV Volumes dot COM, http://www.ev-volumes.com

I am registered with this site. This is the data they provide to members:

  1. Monthly sales updates for every plug-in vehicle in over 40 markets
  2. Annual sales history by market & model back to 2008, monthly data since January 2013
  3. Plug in vehicle population on the road – status vs targets
  4. Charging infrastructure status in more than 25 important markets
  5. Plug-in vehicle taxation and incentives monitor in the top-20 PEV markets
  6. Present EV and PHEV model specifications with 70 vehicles
  7. Base prices before incentives in 4 leading markets/currencies (USD, CNY, GBP, D-Euro, JPY and NOK)
  8. Future EV and PHEV roll-out plan with timing of 200 vehicles
  9. Installed Battery capacity by chemistry, supplier, vehicle sold and geography

On Solving Homelessness

Yesterday (8 August) I spoke to a studio group looking at the population of the homeless to construct a project. Below is a list of links and references – aspects I touched upon in my talk.

Homefulness

I choose to list three ‘place-making’ initiatives. These are not programs (funding+Project+Goal-Delivery) – but are best viewed as long lasting sites for a special kind of people.

Oakland, California: A sweat equity, permanent co-housing, education, arts, micro-business and social change project for landless/houseless and formerly houseless families and individuals. (http://www.poormagazine.org/homefulness)

As an act of resistance to the hierarchal and unjust distribution of wealth and resources locally and globally, POOR Magazine is formerly calling the fundraising effort for HOMEFULNESS, an Equity Campaign, instead of a Capital Campaign, as through equity sharing, not tied to financial resources, we will be creating permanent and lasting solutions to houselessness for families in poverty who have been displaced, evicted, gentrified and destabilized out of their indigenous lands and communities.

Washington DC: I’m actually not sure that it is a word yet, but what a great idea! “Homefulness” instead of “homelessness.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanmichel-giraud/homefulness-not-homelessness_b_1537688.html)

Twenty-one years into it, Friendship Place is leading with solutions that are simple and applied, and are developed by listening to our program participants.

Victoria B>C rtf-at-greenfields-greenhouse(Canada): Street life can reduce an individual to a reality of perceived meaninglessness and purposelessness. Beyond attending to his/her immediate needs, there are little or no positive goals and aspirations. Woodwynn farm life unyieldingly commands meaning and purpose. Every contribution, every day, from every individual matters to the operations of the farm community. And it quickly becomes obvious to the individual that they matter and are valued.  New participants are given the mantra, “How can I help?” Farm chores must be done. Laundry and dishes must be done. (https://www.woodwynnfarms.org/our-woodwynn-program/)

The Homeless Solved their Problem

I proposed the notion that by ‘occupying’ the cities of Australia the Homeless has shown us a ground up solution – the tent city!

He agreed at the February 7 meeting to consider a drop-in centre, safe spaces, and lockers for the homeless. A new by-law, which will extend the definition of “camping” and ban people from leaving items unattended in public places, was approved 5-4 and supported by all Team Doyle members. (http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/protesters-abuse-neighbours-litter-street-outside-lord-mayors-house/news-story/eda13b1cc115180cd16d3f00426d0651)

On Tuesday afternoon, at least 40 tents, a thriving kitchen and library remained in place on the iconic pedestrianised street just a stone’s throw from the NSW Parliament. (http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/sydney-tent-city-leader-says-forcibly-breaking-up-camp-could-lead-to-homeless-people-to-be-attacked-raped/news-story/d7626ccd61dad9a45a4912946f498da0)

Human Waste

The Homeless are “Human Waste”. I amped this up yesterday by speaking of the “rich” who viscerally dislike the dirty, smelly and mis-shapen (ugly) in human kind. I cited Clive Hamilton (His book Affluenza) to raise the issue of there being one right, correct and ‘natural’ way to be in Australia: which to work, make money and become wealthy. Those that are not seen to ‘contribute to society’ and the phrase ‘dole bludgers’ has been part of public discourse (https://newmatilda.com/2016/11/20/how-malcolm-turnbull-keeps-the-dole-bludger-boogeyman-alive/).

It is important to heed this provocation – for the assumptions of ‘the right way’ equally define ‘transgressions’ such as not working, not paying taxes and doing their fair share. The nuances of this construct are carefully teased out by Bauman. “I first read Zygmunt Bauman at university”. (https://theguiridispatches.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/reading-list-wasted-lives-by-zygmunt-bauman/)

The production of ‘human waste’ – or more precisely, wasted lives, the ‘superfluous’ populations of migrants, refugees and other outcasts – is an inevitable outcome of modernization. It is an unavoidable side-effect of economic progress and the quest for order which is characteristic of modernity. (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46818.Wasted_Lives)

Book: Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts by Zygmunt Bauman

NOTE: For the Three of you who also did Nomadic Affordances – how is this studio different from that one? ( http://prezi.com/ap13iypar5v_/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share)

Portugal Policy on Drugs

After-care and social re-integration of drug users in Portugal is organised through three major programmes targeting different regions in Portugal (Programa Vida Emprego, Programa Quadro Reinserir and the PIDDAC incentives for re-integration). All three programmes finance different initiatives and projects supporting drug users through training opportunities, employment support, and/or housing. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Portugal)

 

Outdoor Piece by Tehching Hsieh

In 1981, Taiwanese endurance artist Tehching Hsieh ventured out into the streets of New York City and proceeded to live outdoors for a full year, ending the piece (aptly titled Outdoor Piece) in 1982. In this yearlong derive of sorts, Hsieh essentially takes on the identity of a homeless individual—although “houseless” would be a more apt description of his type of purposeful displacement—calling into question tensions between public and private spaces and their impact on our everyday lives, as well as the way in which public spaces are navigated on a daily basis. (https://dca.ue.ucsc.edu/dca/winners/2016/796).

Way Forward?

Its possible the underlying paternalism of help – such as charity focussed upon less privileged is a valid tithe for the well meaning. Doing something for the homeless is also a a way to realize meaning for many. Its possibly a very useful impulse that keeps charities doing soup kitchens. However its possible something is changing – the very nature and form of homelessness is transforming before our eyes. I offer up Hsieh as a provocation to still the mind of the sanctimonious designer – your “lets clean if up” and “solve this once and for all” efforts are not needed.

Its better to imagine homelessness as a necessary condition of modern society. We need it. We need to care for it. It is a public performance of our humanity. It is a test put there to force us to confront our humanity.

The homeless are victims of violence. Often inflicting pain on the unfortunate is a sport. This needs attention!

What would constitute a disruption – such as a new way of thinking about this issue?

Would handing over the solution seeking to the population of homeless – such as the contemporary assertiveness of the homeless and their occupation of the cities of Australia – be pointing a way to the solution?

What would an app for the homeless look like? This of course needed to be said.

Part 2: On Solving Homelessness

While the last post was a deep dive into texts and the condition – this post is a look at Design Projects that have dealt with Homelessness. The understanding of of the condition is necessarily opportunistic – to realize a project. So the meaning accords with ‘the absence of home’ – and the person in this narrative is an idealized individual – you will find that there is not much depth in the construction of persona. Therefore for the current engagement and focus upon the ‘youth’ these projects are not very helpful. The LEARNING for design students here is in the clarity with which you can see that ‘normal design’ projects differ from social impact design projects.

For example the normal in design is focussed upon consumption and thus upon treating the people impacted by the design as this heterogeneous melange that can still be targeted with specific solutions. And this works in tech or materially embodied constructions – i.e. anyone can stand underneath a shelter and be protected from the rain.

More importantly it will be unusual to expect a design project that focusses upon providing a digital health record for this category of people.

I am therefore posting some projects – as the problem that design has in its inability to ‘disrupt’ mainstream ways of thinking.

How Might We Design Out Homelessness?

Raffaele identified two major factors affecting homelessness–not enough accommodation and not enough capital to support services to the multi-disadvantaged. He believes systems design is the best way to address these issues and looked to nature through biomimicry to come up with potential solutions.

http://designonline.org.au/how-might-we-design-out-homelessness/

Defensive architecture: designing the homeless out of cities

On any one night in London, there around 700 people sleeping in the city’s streets. Rough sleeping is a risky decision – and almost always the choice of the most desperate. Yet the response of the state – and our society – is surprisingly hostile.
Rough sleeping – and homelessness more generally – are on the rise. But austerity measures have made things worse, by cutting funds to vital support services. On top of this, rough sleepers have good reason to fear abusive behaviour from passers-by. Shockingly, this has even included physical attacks, resulting in documented deaths.

http://theconversation.com/defensive-architecture-designing-the-homeless-out-of-cities-52399

Design Resources for Homelessness

Design Resources for Homelessness is a knowledge resource that shares information about practical research, best practices and related content on the design of environments for persons that are homeless. It addresses emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing types, housing first projects, and also day centers, clinics, and service outreach facilities. It is a non-profit initiative funded by donations and grants. Its information is provided without charge.

http://designresourcesforhomelessness.org/

Making Space for the Homeless

On a recent afternoon, at Parsons School of Design, on Thirteenth Street, the artist and interior designer Kevin Walz greeted a handful of guests in a large, long studio space that had high, old-fashioned embossed-metal ceilings and work spaces crowded with scraps and tools and models. He wore a shirt sewn to look like two layered button-up shirts, each with a different stripe, and had a punkish smile and a knot of gray hair perched above the closely shaved sides of his broad head. He offered people bottled water as they entered—Evian and Fiji—from a green plastic bodega bag.

Perhaps it’s fanciful to be discussing beautiful design in the face of horror stories about the city’s neglected, dilapidated shelters. Or perhaps the project of reconceptualizing what it means to house the homeless goes hand in hand with the project of finding sustainable approaches to homelessness. (In an area where the best practices seem wholly inadequate to the problem at hand, and where departures from orthodoxy—such as a Utah experiment that simply gave homeless people houses—can be notably fruitful, the idea of radical reconceptualization is particularly attractive.) But the ability to conceive of and implement beautiful design with scarce resources is a great test of skill and talent, and it’s worth wondering whether top-tier designers would even be interested in these tight-budget contracts. (“My passion still goes to high-end residential spaces,” which allow for extensive customization, one student said.) But from the working designer’s point of view, designing for a low-income demographic might offer another kind of freedom. Walz said that he’s observed a growing discontent among interior designers with some of the changes that economic trends have wrought on their profession. “Everybody has sort of had it with the sense of entitlement in certain parts of the population,” he said. “But nobody wants to talk about it—you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you.”

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/making-space-for-the-homeless

Homeless­ness Is Bad Design

Homelessness is what happens when people fall through the cracks of different systems, so if we’re to put an end to it, we need to create integrated teams—the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the mayor’s office, the nonprofits, the housing authority. It’s only when you get everyone together in the same room that you can construct a well-performing housing placement system that isn’t sending vulnerable people down all sorts of dead ends.

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-design/a/rosanne-haggerty/

Housing for the Homeless: 14 Smart & Sensitive Solutions

City officials spend a lot of time and energy worrying about how to keep homeless people off public furniture and out of certain common areas, when they should be considering how to better manage the issue of homelessness in general. One area of focus is homeless housing, whether simply meeting the immediate needs of people who live on the streets or providing a more long-term, forward-thinking transitional living spaces. These 14 designs for homeless housing provoke thought as to how we can meet the needs of disadvantaged people living in our own communities, and ensure that the situation is only temporary.

weburbanist.com/2012/03/19/housing-for-the-homeless-14-smart-sensitive-solutions/

A Story about Death – Steve Jobs

The following is a quote from Steve Jobs’ (CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios) commencement address, delivered at Stanford on June 12, 2005. Full text here.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

I am preparing my lecture – to deliver at the Grand Round at Austin Hospital on Monday 6th March. So as I collect my thoughts work on my presentation I am also revisiting text such as these. Texts written in the first person. Texts that help me channel the voice of the dying person. Texts that are not about asking for sympathy or for me to be sanctimonious about death. But texts that face up and say beautiful things like:

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life!