defuturing

defuturing

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Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 500

Number of words: 2514

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00:07
my name is tony fry i'm a writer designer cultural theorist and i'm going to be talking about a whole series of books over the next few weeks and i'm going to start with one on the topic of de-futuring the actual story began in 1997 in relation to this book when i was invited to give a series of lectures at the university of technology in sydney public lectures on 10 topics the 10 topics became
00:39
the basis of the the content of the book the overall perspective was really about design and technology kind of recognizing that technology isn't something that in itself evolved but something that was part of our evolution we have always been uh technological beings so the ambition of the lectures the ambition of the book
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was really to show just how important design actually is it's far more important than most design literature and most design and education actually addresses and i'm going to try to demonstrate that now over the next little while so we start really with technology uh as i've indicated technology has really been part of our evolution we've always been technological beings
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and as such technology has been part of the making of the world that we inhabit the world within the world and it's been part of our own development now this really goes back a very long way uh in terms of our contemporary understanding and centers on a concept called productivism now productivism isn't simply about making things productivism is a particular way of understanding the world
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and it really began all two and a half thousand years ago and it began really with an understanding that came out of philosophy or the birth of philosophy one of the ways that it was first registered was through direct observation of how the world functions pythagoras stood on the beach and watched the roll the waves roll in and noticed
02:44
the interval between the rope the waves being constant so he actually made a calculation uh likewise there were another group of people around about the same time called the atomists who came to the conceptual conclusion that everything was made up of tiny little particles which they called atoms so the idea of atoms was thousands of
03:16
years in head of the actual discovery of atoms now in both instances the notion of things being divided into tiny little elements and the notion of things being constituted out of measurable structures is the very basis of productivism and this kind of led to the way in which we started making so there's a direct relation to the conception of the manufacture and the com on the
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building of structures and the idea of structuralism and one very clear example of this was when in 1913 henry ford introduced the inline assembly method in terms of auto production where you had an inventory of boxes of parts and the element of a motor car went along a production line and the individual stood on the line
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put in their sequence the car together as it moved down the line now that has obviously been transformed and has now been done robotically but the same principle as this the same method that is was done by human beings is now being done by machines so there is a direct correlation between the idea of productivism
04:48
and the reality of productivism now one of the consequences of our acceleration of production in the making of the world within the world has led to a crisis and one of the ways in which that crisis is described is through the concept of the anthropocene so it's really coming to the conclusion that what we've done is to make a world within the world that is destructive of
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the world of our bio physical dependence but the idea is not without problems and the problem centers on the notion of anthropos the notion of that this being who is universal who has produced this condition by the way that they've made the world but that is actually not correct anthropos is in a sense a european a eurocentric projection of the human onto all
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of our forms of species being but we created in our difference other ways of understanding the world other ways of living in the world so many indigenous cultures within their cosmology had a very different understanding of what they were they didn't define themselves as we have done in the western perspective as human beings and neither do they have the same impact
06:25
upon the world so in one sense the anthropocene is a useful concept but it is a concept that needs to be really corrected now to take the kind of the stream of destruction which is implied in the um uh which is really you know centers on what what i call the dialectic of sustainment where when we make we also destroy
06:58
and what we really do is ignore the destruction and the most extreme form of that destruction is war war destroys environments war destroys destroys bodies war destroys families but above all water strives futures war is driven by technology and the technology of war drives so often the development
07:29
of technology now all of this exists in a much wider context the context of modernity and modernity has an incredibly long history and the actual beginning of that history is not completely clear but there is one particular date that is very useful it's a kind of a marker uh that's a very significant indicator of the momentum
08:00
of modernity and the date is 1492 where the so-called discovery of the already discovered americas was made by christopher columbus and what that did was to create the opening of the projection of a western model of the world upon the world at large delivered through the forces of colonialism and the concept of development so what
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development was doing was really imposing that western model on the world on everybody and coming back to the notion of the dialectic of sustainment and the relation between creation and destruction what it actually did was to destroy the world and the nature of being in the world of those colonized people and the consequences of colonialism continue
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and colonialism is a phenomena that can't go goes on being re-created and it manifests itself in many different crises and one of them really was the development of modern warfare and the kind of the moment that really kind of registered that more than any other uh historically was the first world war 1914
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18 where again in line destruction the inline manufacturer of death you know really illustrated through the machine gun which was in a sense the same machine as the inline assembly of henry ford taken into just one machine and turned into a machine of death so what happened as a result of the first world war is
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incredibly complex and incredibly different but i just want to draw out two particular things the first one was it created an enormous amount of accelerated production and that machine of production went on after the war and there wasn't the capacity to consume the volume that was being produced and by 1929 this had created an economic depression
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which became global so that's one thing and i'll come back to that in a moment the next thing was that it changed the relation of women to the economy and to culture because so many men went to war women went into factories and did the work that men previously did and they started to earn a wage they started to require independent
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disposable income after the war with the introduction of modern technologies into the workplace and particularly a little bit later in the 1930s when the depression in the end of the 30s had been overcome the number of women in in the labor market was growing very significantly and went on growing and that had a relation uh to the development
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of many modern products and certainly modern fashion so women became a significant force in the direction and the forms of consumerism so the depression uh really started to decline by the end of the 1930s in the usa and there was a particular kind of reason for this which is very significant in
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relation to design what happened was a number of a small number under 15 industrial designers although industrial design wasn't called that at that moment in a sense it was the birth of industrial design in a modern sense made a contribution to industrial development they went to struggling corporations in the us with a concept a design concept called streamlining
12:45
which was basically the styling of products to look elegant and modern so the actual performance of the product the engineering of the product the function of the project remain exactly the same but they looked different they looked modern they look futuristic so slowly this started to uh regenerate regenerate the economy and linked to the electrification of the country so
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uh what happened there was that people started to get employment as a result of building dams and other installations to allow electrification which meant that people had a disposable income at the same time higher purchase was introduced so people were then in a position to buy modern products they bought streamlined cars they bought streamline household products they traveled in streamlined trains so all this became
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a ubiquitous design phenomenon culminating in 1939 in the new york world fair where all this was put on display in one place in flushing meadows in new york and it was an amazingly successful and amazingly popular event millions of people visited it and it really was an attempt to unveil the form
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of the future for example it was the first place where people saw television all the car companies put their latest models there but more than this the form of the future in relation to roads and cities was also put on display that one of the most popular displays was called futurama which was a huge huge model of a modern city in the middle of an auditorium with
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people sitting around it and viewing it it was lit it had sound effects so it was like a drama of the future so really what was born out of this moment uh was the desire for a world of consumer products and slowly that process moved beyond the states after the second world war became globalized and that process
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continues until now and the same kind of philosophy also dominates so the answer to an economic crisis is to increase consumption and to increase consumption to increase production means increasing the domestic the dynamic of the anthropocene so that's really a kind of a situation that has taken us to the world that we're in now i just
16:06
want to kind of step back and to kind of point out that this had enormous cultural implications and i'm going to give you just two examples one is music in the first world war uh there was a regiment of black americans who were sent to france but because of racism in the military
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they weren't allowed to fight alongside white american troops and they were assigned to fight with the french now the french were actually very interested in these people because they brought something very exciting with them they brought music they brought jazz and they had a very significant band led by a famous former band leader whose name was james europe
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he took the band on tour in france and jazz became very popular so the band was a major force in introducing jazz into europe and jazz was another sign of paternity was in a sense a trigger in creating the popular culture of modernity and incidentally that black regiment went on uh when it went into into combat
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to become the most decorated of all u.s fighting forces in the war and they went back to new york and there was an enormous ticker tape parade to celebrate their success so in a sense there's a fair bit of irony in that story the second thing to mention is that in this moment the body changed the body became in a sense modernized became far more
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an object in a sense in relation to fashion so it wasn't simply that fascia was something that adorned the body the body itself became an object of fashion and one of the most significant icons of that uh was a dancer called josephine baker who yeah just after the second world after the first world war arrived in paris
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and was a sensation she did amazing things with her body and actually tracking down uh some images and some videos of josephine baker is really worth doing so drawing to a clues uh what we now have to kind of recognize uh that technology not only changed how we made the world and not only changed
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how we acted in the world and not only changed our bodies but increasingly changed our minds so what we have now uh is a far more intimate relation between body mind and technology and as such technology has taken on an independent life of itself and this has a number of consequences one consequence is that it is no
19:58
no longer able to be thought of simply as a tool under our control nobody can switch off the internet people can close down bits of it nobody can close down telecommunication so technology has become part of the structure of the world it has become indivisible from the natural the division between the natural
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and the artificial has effectively disappeared so that's one kind of dimension of technology the other is that is it is part of the solution to the situation that we're in but it is also part of the problem so in relation to the crisis of
21:03
unsustainability uh we have to be able to address two fundamental things we have to address ourselves because nothing is going to change unless we change and in order for we to change we have to be able to change our relation to technology and design is really a very significant factor in that process the importance of design that i
21:34
registered when i started has to dramatically be increased and central to that increasing uh is the transformation of design education modern design education essentially began again just after the first world war with the bauer house in germany and the vahutimus in russia and to a large extent that tradition
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still inflects design education and what is missing from design education is really the recognition of the significance of design in the world as a principle means by which the world has made see you next time thank you

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