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If you are going to make anything, make a real conversation

May 2, 2010

John Thackara was as provocative as ever in his recent talk given to the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Thackara believes that the world’s creative people need to face up to the realities of sustainability and not just pay lip service to the concept. He stated that the idea of “new” is fast going to become old, and that the brains of the creative world need to be focused on how we get the most out of what we already have.

“The transition towards sustainability is not about messages, it’s about activity. It’s not about proclamations, it’s about practices.

Many professional designers are in the representation business, so their default response in recent times has been to design a poster about sustainability. Or maybe a website filled with green things to buy.

But projecting more signals into an already cluttered environment is like throwing confetti into a snowstorm.

Advertising folk respond to what they call “the clutter problem” by adding to it.

Social media? They’re part of the clutter conundrum too. Online communications are a mode of publication, not of conversation. The number of bloggers is growing at 35%; the number of people using the internet is growing at 10%. Do the math!

Emitting messages, however clever and evocative they may be, is not the same as being with real people, in real places, who are changing their lived material reality.

That’s why I have a radical proposal: Consider speaking your words in a place rather than pressing “send”"

Ok, I seems like I just broke the “send” rule, but stay tuned for more thoughts on real conversations.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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