I Am the Product
I stumbled upon a Clubhouse room with Christopher Daradics, Metasalon / Fluxus: Strategies for thinking, doing, & being
I had an experience of serendipity, as I had also stumbled across a book while wandering around a local thrift store. How Kindergarten Came to America: Friedrich Froebel’s Radical Vision of Early Childhood Education
Out of the Clubhouse conversation came a reference to this article. From Froebel to Fluxus: Cybernetic Serendipity and Learning through Play
In our Trimtab Book Club on Saturdays, I mentioned my fascination with the language of Froebel in his book, published in German in 1826, The Education of Man, with his reference to spheres, cubes, octahedrons, and tetrahedrons. I sensed similarities in the language of Bucky and Froebel and figured that Bucky must have been influenced by Froebel. The book club conversation surfaced a reference to an experience Bucky had with Kindergarten and a “sticks and peas” experiment, anecdotally confirming the observation.
I am finally getting around to reading the Fluxus article. In the article is a paragraph confirming the connections between Froebel, Dewey, Cage, Black Mountain College, and Buckminster Fuller’s invention of the Geodesic dome. “Here, it is not so much the meaning of the different elements of Froebel’s system which is significant. More important for this purpose is his understanding of the connection between forms of reasoning and the manual manipulation of materials, or between conceptual understanding and experiment/experience. Froebelian education is as influential as it is obscure. One recent book somewhat controversially attributes the development of geometric modernism to the experience of artists as under-sevens in Froebel kindergartens. Though I think some of this argument a little tenuous, it is not too hard to make a ‘six-degrees-of-separation’ kind of connection with Fluxus, because one of the teachers who shaped John Cage’s thinking was R. Buckminster Fuller, whose philosophy of the relationship of parts with the whole bears comparison with Froebel and who attributed his invention of the Geodesic dome to his experiences in a Froebel kindergarten working with one of the gifts and occupations (sticks and peas).”
As a big picture thinker, I was going back into history to find the roots of the violent and genocidal Canadian colonial-settler apartheid state by reading a biography of Louis Riel at the time of the transfer of title for Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company to the Dominion of Canada and the British Monarchy.
Aljazeera makes the connections between that period and the present: A mass grave, Justin Trudeau, and Gaza: Hypocrisy oozes from the Canadian prime minister’s statements on the Indigenous children mass grave. Essentially, nothing has changed in Canada beyond the 153 years of experience that the public relations machinery of the Crown corporation we know as the Dominion of Canada has gained in its attempts to bury centuries of slavery and genocide.
My response, as Chair of Web Communications for the BC Chapter of the Graphic Designers of Canada, has been to implicate the design industry as complicit in the genocide.
As expected, things are “all quiet on the Western Front” from governments and corporations, while there has been an outcry of shock and horror from citizens. “The phrase ‘all quiet on the Western Front’ has become a colloquial expression meaning stagnation, or lack of visible change, in any context.”
The connection that I am making between all of these items is the education of children, which has been a particular area of focus for me while I have been caught in limbo as bureaucratic administrative foot soldier for the colonial-apartheid state’s legal requirements for transfer of the estate of a deceased citizen.
What we are doing is vitally important, bringing art and science into a unity in diversity through collaborative play, experiment, and creating immersive, interactive experiences. “The tradition of learning through play (from Froebel through Dewey) could harness play for education, because it recognised both the element of learning which is always present in play, and saw education not as a training process, but as the nurturing of the child’s own capacities.” — Michelle Henning, From Froebel to Fluxus: Cybernetic Serendipity and Learning through Play
I have a question to put to this group. My project for the DSS was the community: “The project is the process.” My thinking as my work and identity is again in flux as my work as a designer and mentor has been interrupted by a death in our family. I am contemplating the end of my design career to reconsider what I am here to do. In UX design, we create physical artifacts as points of reference for curating and writing stories to engage in individual, operational, and organizational change, creating tools for innovation to disrupt existing models by creating new models of human interaction, mediated by tools, technologies, and machines. However, I wonder if the fascination with machines that simulate life is the source of the tendency of human industry to replace life with dead objects. If design is evolving from physical artifacts (dead objects) to living systems, how do I shift the focus of design from the proliferation of dead objects and the genocidal processes that support that effort to the well-being and flourishing of living systems? My thought was that I myself should become a living prototype. So, how do I become a better human being? That is my question to this group, a sort of design research interview where I design human experience by iterating on my personal habits and behaviours. “If You Are Not Paying for the Product, You Are the Product!”
If I am the product, then I should redesign myself, since the world has been designed to satisfy my habits and behaviours. The world would not be working this way if these products did not satisfy the way that humans respond to what exists. It is a self-reinforcing system. So, I begin with a contemplation of life and death, love and economics.
Design Professionals of Canada
Today, I attended the GDC AGM 2021. The updated brand design and new website domain were officially presented.
During the meeting, I noticed that the acronym could be reframed, given the currently political realities concerning design and complicity in the design, building, and maintenance of a system of racist oppression.
descan.ca: Deconstructing Economics and the System of Colonial Apartheid Nationalism in Canada.