projekt-heterologia


Tantangan Bagi Pengembangan Ekonomi Kreatif di Indonesia
September 29, 2007, 4:33 am
Filed under: Articles

iydey2007

“Nobody knows what will happen in the future.
We have to propose something anyway…”
– Diskusi peserta IYDEY 2007

I

Ajang International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2007 (IYDEY 2007) baru saja berakhir beberapa waktu yang lalu. Melalui inisiatif dari British Council, sejak tanggal 10 s/d 21 September 2007 kompetisi ini mempertemukan 10 finalis dari 10 negara yang terdiri dari Argentina, China, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Polandia, Slovenia, Thailand, dan Venezuela. Berbeda dengan kompetisi desain yang selama ini kita kenal, IYDEY 2007 melibatkan peserta yang memiliki latar belakang pengetahuan dan profesi yang beragam sehinga kita diajak untuk membayangkan dunia desain sebagai sebuah disiplin pengetahuan yang memiliki pengertian yang luas dan sangat cair.

Hal ini misalkan tercermin dari beberapa peserta semisal Manuel Rapoport (Argentina), Ruttikorn Vuttikorn (Thailand) dan Martin Bricelj (Slovenia). Manuel Rapaport adalah seorang desainer mebel yang juga bekerja sebagai aktifis pemberdayaan masyarakat dan pemeliharaan lingkungan yang berkelanjutan di Patagonia, sebuah daerah terpencil di Argentina bagian selatan. Lewat studionya, ia kerap melibatkan komunitas masyarakat setempat untuk terlibat dalam pengembangan desain yang ramah lingkungan. Ruttikorn Vuttikorn adalah seorang desainer boneka yang juga kerap aktif terlibat dalam berbagai kegiatan yang mengupayakan pengembangan desain boneka untuk anak-anak berkebutuhan khusus. Sementara Martin Bricelj adalah seniman new media yang kerap berkarya di ruang publik dengan memanfaatkan pengetahuan di bidang desain dan teknologi baru untuk mengekspresikan berbagai pandangan tentang berbagai persoalan yang ada di masyarakat.

Selama kurang lebih 10 hari, kompetisi ini mengajak para peserta terlibat dalam serangkaian kegiatan kunjungan, wawancara, dan diskusi dengan berbagai pihak dan organisasi yang terkait dengan bidang desain dan industri kreatif di London dan Glasgow. Sejak hari pertama, para peserta diajak untuk mengunjungi berbagai biro desain, studio arsitektur, toko, butik, agensi publik, lembaga riset, universitas, museum, galeri maupun berbagai institusi dan komunitas lokal yang memiliki kaitan yang khusus dengan perkembangan desain maupun industri kreatif di Inggris. Melalui program ini, para peserta diajak untuk melihat secara langsung pranata dunia desain dan industri kreatif Inggris yang begitu komplit. Mulai dari institusi formal, lembaga pendidikan, agen, studio, toko sampai pada keberadaan berbagai komunitas dan institusi yang kerap melakukan kegiatan penelitian dan pengembangan untuk menghimpun berbagai pengetahuan dan informasi yang terkait dengan perkembangan desain maupun industri kreatif secara umum.

iydey2007

Diakhir program, sebagian peserta berkesempatan untuk menampilkan karya terbaik dari negara masing-masing dalam pameran 100% Design yang diselenggarakan di Earls Court London mulai tanggal 18 s/d 21 September 2007. Acara tahunan ini merupakan ajang istimewa yang mempertemukan para pelaku industri desain produk dan interior dengan berbagai pihak yang secara langsung berkepentingan dengan industri ini. Selain menampilkan karya desain dan penemuan terbaru di bidang material dan teknologi, kegiatan ini juga menyelenggarakan berbagai konferensi, presentasi dan diskusi yang melibatkan para pelaku industri kreatif dari berbagai negara. Sayang dalam kesempatan ini Indonesia urung menampilkan karya craft kontemporer dari Ahadiat Joedawinata karena mendapat masalah dalam proses pengiriman karya ke Inggris.

Sementara itu, Sigal Cohen (Venezuela) tampil sebagai pemenang untuk kompetisi IYDEY 2007. Sigal adalah seorang desainer multimedia yang kerap bekerja dengan menggunakan media digital. Untuk kompetisi ini, ia secara khusus melakukan penelitian mengenai perkembangan budaya visual dan desain grafis di Venezuela. Selain itu, ia juga merancang sebuah platform online yang akan dikembangkan menjadi database visual dan sumber inspirasi artistik bagi para desainer di Venezuela. Yang menarik, platform ini juga dapat digunakan secara interaktif, sehingga setiap orang dapat berkontribusi dan terlibat secara aktif dalam setiap proses penyusunan content. Untuk proyek ini, Sigal mengadaptasi perkembangan web 2.0 dan aplikasi social networking yang memang sedang marak berkembang di jagat internet selama beberapa tahun terakhir ini.

picnic07

II

Sehari setelah pelaksanaan kegiatan IYDEY 2007 selesai, saya kemudian menjadi peserta dalam sebuah konferensi yang bertajuk PICNIC’07/Cross Media Week yang diselenggarakan pada tanggal 25 s/d 29 September 2007 di kota Amsterdam. Penyelenggara kegiatan ini adalah Cross Media Week Foundation yang terdiri dari sekelompok orang yang berasal dari beragam disiplin pengetahuan dan institusi yang saling berbeda. Organisasi ini didirikan oleh Bas Verhart (CEO Media Republic) dan Marlen Stikker (Direktur Waag Society), dengan anggota yang terdiri dari para peneliti, konsultan dan pelaku bisnis yang terkait dengan perkembangan teknologi dan industri kreatif di negeri Belanda. Diselenggarakan untuk yang ke dua kali, PICNIC’07 merupakan sebuah acara tahunan yang secara khusus mencermati perkembangan teknologi dan industri media terkini di wilayah Eropa, Amerika Utara dan Asia.

Dalam program ini, dilaksanakan serangkaian konferensi yang menghadirkan para pembicara yang terdiri dari seniman, desainer, arsitek, peneliti, programer, hacker, sampai pada para pelaku bisnis yang terkait dengan perkembangan di bidang teknologi dan industri media. Beberapa pembicara yang hadir antara lain adalah Prof . Dr. Emile Aarts (Philips Research Laboratories), David Silverman (Sutradara The Simpsons), Stefan Sagmaeister (Desainer pendiri Sagmeister Inc.), Sir Richard Branson (Pemilik Virgin Records), dsb. Di depan ratusan peserta, selama beberapa hari para pembicara ini memaparkan berbagai aspek yang terkait dengan pengembangan kreatifitas, mulai dari sisi proses sampai pada berbagai informasi dan pengetahuan yang berhubungan dengan perkembangan di bidang kreatifitas, teknologi dan bisnis.

picnic07

Diantara sekian banyak pembicara juga hadir Woody Gershenfield, seorang aktor yang dikenal sebagai pemeran Larry Flynt dalam film The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996). Selain bekerja sebagai seorang aktor, Woody Gershenfield juga seorang aktifis yang banyak terlibat dalam kegiatan sosial dan lingkungan hidup yang memperjuangkan kelestarian hutan dan mencegah penebangan kayu liar. Kehadirannya dalam acara ini terkait dengan salah satu agenda PICNIC’07, yaitu program kampanye pelestarian lingkungan hidup dan antisipasi perubahan iklim global. Untuk itu, khusus dalam PICNIC’07 diselenggarakan Picnic Green Challenge yang mengajak berbagai pihak untuk berkompetisi menciptakan teknologi yang berguna bagi perbaikan kondisi lingkungan hidup yang saat ini tengah mengalami kerusakan yang parah. Dalam kompetisi ini Igor Kluin tampil sebagai sebagai pemenang setelah bersaing dengan 439 peserta dan berhak mendapatkan hadiah sebesar 500.000 euro. Igor merancang QBox yang berfungsi sebagai instrumen penunjang jaringan energi alternatif yang dapat memonitor dan mengoptimalkan penggunaan energi rumahan secara otomatis.

Selain konferensi, acara ini juga menampilkan serangkaian presentasi, diskusi, pameran, pemutaran film, konser musik dan berbagai kegiatan yang memungkinkan para pelaku yang berasal dari beragam latar belakang disiplin pengetahuan dan profesi untuk saling berkenalan dan membangun jaringan kerjasama, baik dalam konteks lokal maupun internasional. Untuk kegiatan ini – atas dukungan Hivos (Sebuah organisasi non-profit yang berasal dari Belanda) – kesertaan saya dalam program PICNIC’07 juga terkait dengan upaya untuk membangun jejaring kerjasama selatan-selatan yang rencananya akan melibatkan beberapa medialab yang berada di wilayah India, Indonesia dan Brazil. Melalui inisiatif yang dimotori oleh Sarai Media Intiative (India), gagasan ini juga mendapatkan sambutan positif dari Waag Society (Belanda) dan Metareciclagem (Brazil). Upaya untuk membangun jaringan kerjasama selatan-selatan ini terutama ditujukan untuk menjembatani kesenjangan informasi dan pengetahuan yang masih menjadi endemi diantara komunitas masyarakat sipil di negara-negara yang terletak di bagian selatan dunia. Diharapkan melalui jaringan kerjasama selatan-selatan, Indonesia dapat menjadi salah satu motor penggerak yang menjembatani berbagai bentuk kesenjangan yang terjadi diantara negara maju dan negara berkembang.

picnic07

Salah satu program yang banyak menarik perhatian publik dalam kegiatan ini adalah demontrasi mengenai perkembangan teknologi radio frequency identification device (RFID) yang dipresentasikan oleh kelompok Mediamatic (Belanda). Salah satu karya ciptaan mereka adalah Trace Table yang mampu menghimpun berbagai informasi personal yang dimiliki oleh setiap orang melalui piranti RFID yang mereka punya. Selama beberapa tahun terakhir, aplikasi perkembangan teknologi RFID telah memicu banyak kontroversi yang terkait dengan isu dibidang keamanan dan privasi. Sekeping sirkuit logam tembaga yang dapat memancarkan dan menerima sinyal berisi data dan informasi ini memang mulai banyak digunakan untuk berbagai keperluan. Di beberapa negara, teknologi ini mulai dimanfaatkan sebagai kartu cerdas yang dapat memuat data dan informasi yang spesifik – mulai dari passport sampai pada pemindai pola sirkulasi produk industri – sehingga dicurigai dapat membobol informasi yang bersifat sangat pribadi.Program lain yang tidak kalah menarik adalah presentasi dari FabLab (www.fablab.nl) yang menampilkan workshop mengenai cara merakit printer 3 dimensi secara mandiri.

III

Berkaca dari kedua kegiatan di atas, secara jelas kita dapat melihat bagaimana penguasaan di bidang informasi, pengetahuan dan kreatifitas saat ini tengah menjadi titik sentral dalam perkembangan budaya secara global. Hal ini setidaknya juga ikut mengarahkan perkembangan di bidang teknologi dan bisnis yang memanfaatkan kreatifitas manusia sebagai ujung tombaknya. Sejak pertengahan tahun 1990-an, perkembangan di bidang informasi, pengetahuan dan kreatifitas juga ikut memicu lahirnya wacana mengenai industri kreatif yang saat ini telah menjadi fenomena global. Selain di negara maju, perkembangan industri kreatif setidaknya juga tumbuh secara pesat di beberapa negara berkembang semisal Cina, India, Brazil, Argentina, Meksiko dan bahkan Burkina Faso yang terletak di daratan Afrika. Di beberapa negara ini konon sektor ekonomi kreatif memberikan sumbangan GNP sebesar 3% (OAS Culture Series, 2003).

Di Inggris dan Belanda, sektor ekonomi kreatif tercatat memberikan kontribusi bagi penciptaan lapangan kerja baru sampai sebesar 30% (Richard Florida & Irene Tinagli, 2004). Tidak mengherankan kalau pemerintah di masing-masing negara menggenjot perkembangan sektor ekonomi kreatif dengan mendorong berbagai inisiatif masyarakat sipil untuk meningkatkan kemampuan di bidang kreatifitas dengan menciptakan berbagai kebijakan publik yang mengambil fokus pada peningkatan kualitas sumber daya manusia dan perkembangan teknologi. Selain itu, di banyak negara maju pemerintah setempat kerap menjalin hubungan kerjasama dengan berbagai elemen masyarakat sipil agar dapat mendorong penguasaan di bidang informasi dan pengetahuan secara luas. Untuk itu diciptakanlah berbagai kebijakan dan insentif yang dapat memicu pertumbuhan di bidang sektor kreatif dengan melibatkan pemerintah, lembaga keuangan, institusi pendidikan formal, dan berbagai kelompok independen yang menjadi tulang punggung bagi perkembangan ekonomi kreatif.

Di Indonesia, perkembangan sektor ekonomi kreatif juga disinyalir tengah berkembang pesat di beberapa kota besar selama kurun waktu 10 tahun terakhir. Melalui inisiatif komunitas anak muda di beberapa kota semisal Jakarta, Bandung dan Yogyakarta, berbagai benih yang memicu pertumbuhan ekonomi kreatif di tingkat lokal telah mampu melahirkan karya film, animasi, fesyen, musik, software, game komputer, dsb. Beberapa diantara pelaku ekonomi kreatif ini malah telah mendapatkan kesempatan untuk menampilkan karyanya di ajang internasional dan diterima dengan tangan terbuka. Yang mengagetkan, keberadaan talenta baru ini muncul tanpa infrastruktur yang memadai dan bahkan minim akan fasilitas. Berbeda dengan perkembangan sektor ekonomi kreatif negara maju yang didukung penuh oleh pemerintahnya, perkembangan sektor kreatif di Indonesia kebanyakan dipicu oleh terbukannya akses informasi dan pengetahuan yang didapat melalui internet. Selain itu kemunculan berbagai komunitas kreatif ini juga berkembang berkat intuisi untuk bertahan hidup di tengah masa-masa sulit. Oleh karena itu, tidaklah mengherankan apabila ditengah segala keterbatasan beberapa komunitas ini mampu melahirkan karya yang berkualitas, walau beberapa diantaranya disinyalir tercipta melalui penggunaan software bajakan.

Pemerintah sendiri akhir-akhir ini terlihat getol menyuarakan pentingnya mengembangkan sektor ekonomi kreatif sebagai salah satu upaya untuk keluar dari krisis ekonomi yang berkepanjangan. Dalam Pekan Produk Budaya Indonesia, Presiden SBY menyatakan kalau ekonomi kreatif merupakan modal utama pembangunan ekonomi di gelombang empat peradaban (11/07/07). Hal ini tentu saja dapat kita artikan sebagai angin segar, walaupun wujud kongkrit bagi pengembangan sektor kreatif di dalam negeri masih merupakan tanda tanya besar. Setidaknya sampai saat ini sudah ada banyak pameran, seminar, workshop, usulan dan artikel di media massa yang membicarakan perkembangan ekonomi kreatif secara panjang lebar. Namun sayangnya upaya ini belum menunjukan kalau perkembangan ekonomi kreatif mendapatkan dukungan yang berarti dari berbagai pihak. Kalaupun ada, hampir semua mengambil fokus pada pembangunan infrastruktur (fisik) dan minim sekali perhatian pada peningkatan sumberdaya manusia melalui peningkatan akses terhadap informasi dan pengetahuan. Oleh karena itu, keinginan Presiden SBY untuk menjadikan ekonomi kreatif sebagai sektor unggulan yang dapat memberikan kontribusi penting bagi ekonomi nasional di masa depan bisa dikatakan masih merupakan mimpi yang entah kapan bisa menjadi kenyataan.

Kyai Gede Utama, 12 Oktober 2007

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Is technology turning privacy into an endangered species?
March 17, 2007, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Archive, Articles, News

(from this link)
Posted by Kerry B Collison

Friday, October 20. 2006

During the last few months, we have seen controversial cases involving the unauthorized dissemination of photos from celebrities’ private handphones. But this is only the beginning of the privacy-loss phenomenon, and our generation is doomed to see more.The handphone camera is one of the most visible examples, but there are plenty of other new gadgets and tools that will contribute to the loss even more. They include the ubiquitous video monitoring in airports and shopping malls, satellite imaging and the proliferation of electronic cash such as credit cards and debit cards.

One of the most striking developments is the use of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. An RFID tag may function as a barcode, and is connected to a network where information about the tag holder is stored. This chip tag has been used to track lost animals and has been implanted in humans to replace magnetic cards.

Mohamad Mova Al ‘Afghani, Bremen, Germany

But that’s not all. Consider the development of sensors, which are getting smaller and can detect everything from heartbeat to glucose level and blood type. There are also those handy gadgets that help you find your way up a mountain or down the freeway. If you use the Global Positioning System (GPS), your latitude and longitude could be available to others on the main server. If you use a GSM handphone, your location is trackable through the nearest Base Transceiver System (BTS) antenna.

These chips, cameras, sensors and magnetic cards all contain information about you, including anything from billing statements, to glucose levels and blood types, to data on your purchases, or your current location.

In addition to using all these devices, people nowadays also share their private lives through the internet, blogs, video streaming and podcasts. The information in blogs varies from the kinds of gifts people receive from their loved ones to how old their kids are, which schools they attend and their pictures. And let’s not forget the words we query in search engines.

All of this cyber-sharing yields trackable information that is stored in mainframes. It can be used to figure out your political affiliations, religious background and consumption preferences. It must be underlined that unlike conventional surveillance mechanisms, these activities that threaten privacy are all things the potential victims do voluntarily.

How well-prepared are societies to safeguard this information? The strictness of privacy protection differs from one jurisdiction to another. Internationally, privacy is protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; however, this Article may not be as strongly binding as a positive law. In the United States, privacy is stringently protected through the Fourth Amendment and several Supreme Court rulings. In other societies it may be only loosely protected.

There are some other laws related to privacy, such as those that protect medical records and trade secrets and those that obligate disclosure. Medical records are a patient’s right, and it’s a crime to publish them without proper authorization. Trade secret laws protect, for example, the secret ingredients of a commercial beverage.

Disclosure laws are normally imposed on public companies and other companies that have public stakeholders, or on food and cosmetic producers to ensure they are complying with consumer laws. These laws essentially deal with the management of information.

In the future, it is likely that privacy protection will be severely eroded and things which are considered privacy violations today will no longer be categorized as crimes. There had been several court cases which hold that privacy protection is irrelevant.

We can use legal history to predict the future trends of privacy regulation. During the Roman age, there was a maxim which held, “Cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (Whosoever has the soil, also owns to the heavens above and to the center beneath). The value of land ownership was absolute, and no one had the right to trespass it, above or below, without the consent of its owner.

However, this maxim was abandoned when it became inconsistent with technological development; specifically, during the first years of aviation history. Planes now have the right to fly in the skies, irrespective of any property below them. That is also the case with the “to the center beneath”.

The erosion of privacy will carry several consequences. The first problem, surveillance, raises the classic issue that “power tends to corrupt”. If we are all being watched, then who supervises the supervisors? What will they do with our data?

Another problem is identity theft. This is often carried out on the Internet, since digital identity is vulnerable to fraud.

A growing “privacy gap” is the third problem. In the future, privacy is going to be expensive. You can protect an RFID tag, for example, by using passwords to make access difficult. You can do something similar with satellite imagery. If you do not want your roof or swimming pool to be photographed, you need to shield them, but it will cost you money. This means privacy will eventually belong only to the wealthy.

The fourth problem is the rise of sentience (things with autonomous sensory capability) and its contribution to personalization. Today, web pages, news services, desktop and handphone features can be personalized in order to better meet our needs.

Sentience development opens the door to highly targeted marketing. If I use sentient mechanisms to find about somebody’s reading habits, his spending patterns, his political affiliations, what toys his kids want, where he usually has dinner, which roads he uses and what his health problems are, I can advertise a particular book on the billboards he passes, send campaign volunteers to the restaurant where he’s eating, or woo him for a business deal by bringing his kids’ dream toys to the meeting.

Personalization tends to prevent people from being exposed to different realities and allows them to become preoccupied with their own world. Personalization could direct us into “the matrix”, as it confuses people between true reality and artificial realities.

It is high time we consider the mandatory unbundling of information. There will be a high risk of moral hazards when personal data from banking, health and politics is administered by a single institution or company. As for the corruptive power of surveillance, some have proposed making every aspect of governance transparent and accountable so that people can supervise the supervisor. These steps and more must be weighed in order to keep privacy from becoming as outdated a concept as that old Roman maxim on property.

The writer (movanet@yahoo.com) is a lawyer and lecturer, and is currently studying in Germany.

Related RFID journal entries visit this link.



The Pace of New Media
March 16, 2007, 2:58 am
Filed under: Articles

(from http://web1979.wordpress.com/2007/03/10/the-pace-of-new-media/)

I’ve been thinking about “new media” (blogs, RSS, online video, etc.) quite a bit lately, and trying to conceive of how this relates to the evolution of society at large. How does one influence the other? More specifically, I’ve been thinking on how our modern information distribution mechanisms are now so instant and pervasive (I’m thinking of the immediacy of RSS and/or the availability at our fingertips via mobile phone/laptop).

I for one, find it difficult (as my frustrated girlfriend will attest to) to maintain very grounded in “real life” when I immerse myself in the clutches of online media consumption — there is just too much to read, and learn, always. The Twitter (an app I refuse to approach for I feel it crosses a line of over-invasiveness) craze is just the latest manifestation in our continued drive towards always-on, always-connected read/write voyeurism that began with the launch of the web itself some time ago. As the fruits of our own labour (i.e. Humankind begat Twitter) demonstrate, there is no limit to how far we will try to push ourselves in terms of inter- (and I might say in this case, over-) connectedness.

I guess this has been referred to in the past as “information overload” or “access management” but what I’m getting at here is how this affects us socially, rather than simply the troubles we experience at the individual level. It’s important to keep in mind that thought in this area is not new. Marshall McLuhan was swimming around in these topics back in the 60s, quite undeniably decades ahead of his time. He immediately perceived the dangers and possibilities of the “electrification” of media, and wrote at length on the subject for most of his life. As I read his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, I’m constantly asking myself – what would this man think of the technologies we’ve created today? Would he be awe-struck at the brilliance and simplicity of RSS, or would he be frightened by its power? But I digress — I will have more to say about Marshall once I’ve finished reading his book, and had more time to digest the many kernels of thought.

Returning to the topic at hand, social adaptation to the pace of new media, Margaret Meade, in a Time Magazine piece from September 1954 (yes, 1954) said:

“There are too many complaints about society having to move too fast to keep up with the machine. There is great advantage to moving fast if you move completely, if social, educational and recreational changes keep pace. You must change the whole pattern at once and the whole group together — and the people themselves must decide to move.” (I’ve taken the quote from McLuhan’s book, incidentally)

Amazing that these thoughts are from over 50 years hence! Applying Margaret’s thought to the current media landscape makes me wonder if all our social institutions are moving at the same pace as the Web? It seems impossible to expect so, given the sheer size and bureaucratic weight of something like the education system. And thus, if the rest of society cannot keep up with the web (and its associated new media) my question is: what dangers are we exposing ourselves to? Will we raise a generation that is ill-equipped to reconcile past and present forms of knowledge and learning? What will this mean? Can we learn to recreate (as in, have fun) online in ways that we all accept and respect? We will find it all fulfilling?

If Meade is right, we must either accelerate the adaptation of our social institutions to “Internet time” or slow the rate of change of the Net itself to let society catch up, lest we have to deal with some heavy fallout from the myriad questions raised by the gap unreconciled.



For The Record
February 19, 2007, 5:07 pm
Filed under: Articles

by Monica Narula/Raqs Media Collective
(from http://blog.raqsmediacollective.net)

A Place Like This, A Time Like Now
Sometimes it feels like things are beginning to get really interesting. We imagine that Calcutta in the 1940s and ‘60s (or in the 1880s) and Bombay in the 1920s and ‘50s or Delhi in the 1850s and (briefly) in the 1970s, might have been really rewarding times and places to live in. We have a sense that Delhi, today, in the first decade of our young century, is again showings signs of quickening to the possibilities of a new life.

This new life does not come upon us without its share of pain, because it exists simultaneously with the cruel transformation of the city that evicts hundreds of thousands of people, and destroys their carefully built frameworks of existence. It is not without its share of paranoia, as the shadow of the deep state, through a variety of surveillance networks, leaches into every street corner. It is not without its vulgarity as new money explodes and talks tough and dirty. Perhaps it is at times precisely such as this one – when large structural conflicts play themselves out on the urban landscape – that the forging of critical and reflective cultural practices seems all the more urgent and compelling. Perhaps that is why we sense them so keenly when they begin to intimate themselves to us.

And so, even as our city re-invents itself through escalating conflicts over extant and looming habitation and property, new migrants re-define the face and voice of the street, women take an increasingly visible place on the precincts and old urbane certainties crumble; a new sensibility takes hold. Delhi has outgrown the destiny of being a small town with a violent past and burdened with Imperial grandeur. It is now just a city, just another very big city. A city that has set out on a journey to find the world.

Circuits and Cities
Interesting connections are being formed, between Delhi and Bangalore, between Delhi and Lahore, Delhi and Kathmandu, Delhi and Berlin, New York, Beirut, Bandung. There is also a relationship with mofussil towns, and regional centres in north India which is not only extractive. Traffic between Delhi and Benaras, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Ballia, Patna, Jabalpur and Jaipur has a different cultural significance now. People bring new thoughts and voices from these places, and return to them with the connections that they make in a place like Delhi. Within our city, entire worlds, like those of the resettlement colonies of Dakshinpuri or of the threatened riverside settlements like Nangla Machi or of inner city squatter zones, are finding a voice. The sense of Delhi being a place that contains entire worlds is more vivid today than it has ever been.

Writers, artists, practitioners, performers and audiences travel between spaces more than before, and the magnet of Mumbai, which necessarily took away the best of Delhi, seems to have weakened, replaced, in parts, by a genuine conversation. We can no longer think of our milieu only in terms of the physical boundary of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, of the Republic of India, or even of the South Asian region, but crucially, in terms of how different sub cultures and scenes in Delhi function as nodes in an expanding network that intersects at key points with other networks which may have originated in other cities. Here, the distance (or proximity) between Delhi and Bangalore or Mumbai, or for that matter Beirut or Bandung, becomes a function not of geography but of the affinities and interests that transcend frontiers of one kind or another.

What’s going on? Where?
In the domain of the imagination, images, sounds and thought, there is a quiet ferment that marks our city. Its signs are muted, nascent, fragile. There is nothing overt or spectacular about these symptoms and we must not rush headlong to any conclusions or prognoses. Everything is uncertain. But the symptoms of a specific sensibility are insistent on revealing themselves. They demand from us a renewal of the terms of engagement which have hitherto ruled the domain of cultural praxis and artistic work. New publics beckon us to join them at play. So many things wait to be done.

This is as good a time as any to initiate a conversation that indexes some of these developments around us, points to things further away that might be of interest, and pauses to take stock of what might lies head.

First, to take a look at what is around us:
Spaces like Khoj in Delhi which provide an excellent context of hospitality for new and emerging work, cross-border initiatives in modest and unconventional public spaces by artists and practitioners in India and Pakistan like Aar-Paar, (http://www.members.tripod.com/aarpaar2/02.htm), and the recent initiatives taken by documentary filmmakers to challenge censorship in exhibition (http://www.delhifilmarchive.org/) are signs that there exists a strong desire to re-write the terms within which cultural practice occurs in our milieu.

Younger practitioners are trying out new forms – lawyers (such as in the Alternative Law Forum http://www.altlawforum.org/lawmedia) are making comic books and html works against intellectual property and censorship, and the comic book or graphic novel is emerging as an interesting complex new form (see the work of Sarnath Bannerji, Vishwajoyti Ghosh and Parismita Singh, among others), as its practitioners explore difficult zones in personal experience and history. Architects and urban theorists, such as Solomon Benjamin, are experimenting with performance based presentation formats. A new generation of photographers is making edgy and personal work, without obligatory colourful turbans and the tyranny of the ‘well made photograph’. There is a new energy in the documentary, and the short and experimental film making scenes, made possible in part by more accessible technologies of production. Zines appear and disappear with an interesting frequency and broadsheets inaugurate the advent of a serial image-text essay form, and a new kind of critical fiction as well as non-fiction writing is making its presence felt in English, Hindi, Bangla, Tamil and Malayalam on Blogs. It appears that things are stirring.

Meanwhile, elsewhere…
At times like this, it also becomes useful to try and see what may be going on in other places and in other milieux. In our travels over the last six years, we have had the good fortune of observing many initiatives and practices all over the world that we think might serve as interesting provocations, so as to begin a conversation about what might be possible. We are placing this list on record also to register our kinship and solidarity with the people who have actualized these practices.

We are mentioning here only those spaces and initiatives that we consider to be modest. We need to focus on situations and processes that can be initiated and sustained with limited resources. What we have noticed in each of these instances is that a tight budget, or a lack of expansive resources, has not by any means implied a handcuffed imagination. Exciting things can also be done in small spaces, with little money, with no captive audiences, and by people who have full time jobs and next to nothing in terms of social security.

We have also restricted this list to instances where we have actually encountered the concerned practitioners personally. The list of practices and initiatives that we have found interesting, exciting and challenging which we have read about in addition to these, or seen in a show or on the internet, (although we may not have met the people involved with them) is far longer, and would require separate writing! This list is not exhaustive, and we intend to update and expand it from time to time so as to maintain a public database of the conceptual, intellectual and practice based context that we are nourished by.

There is no specific design or hierarchy implicit in the order in which they appear in the list below:

Queen’s Nail Annexe, San Francisco http://www.queensnailsannex.com/
A very small not-for-profit exhibition space (two rooms) which also doubles as a recording label in the Mission district in San Francisco, sustained by the innovative work of two dynamic persons. They work as community pedagogues, artists, facilitators and curators. The Queen’s Nail Annex offers space to young and old practitioners and curators who are able to offer a rigorous argument in their work. When we visited the Annex (which borrows its name from its neighbour – a Nail Beauty Parlour) we saw the opening of an exhibition devoted to videos and music produced by and in collaboration with the veteran experimental architecture and urbanism practice Archigram.

AndCompany, Frankfurt http://www.andco.de/
A group of performers, theatre artists, musicians and theorists, based mainly in Frankfurt. We collaborated with them on a ‘reading performance’ in connection with ‘The Wherehouse’, a process and work that reflects on the relationship between cities and people termed as illegal migrants. What attracted us to Andcompany&Co’s work was its practical adventurousness, which took in a strong interest in the legacy of Brecht’s work, along with theatre, music, acrobatics and theory with a sense of enjoyment in working together as an ensemble. Their commitment to music, fun and philosophy, within the constraints of a modest working style and a commitment to working with all available materials was interesting to engage with.

Mongrel, London http://www.mongrelx.org/
A collective of software programmers, artists, technicians, writers located in and around London. Mongrel considers its practice to be a kind of art hacking, and is founded on meticulous, almost obsessive research often initiated by Mongrel Graham Harwood in collaboration with itinerant theorist Matt Fuller. What continues to attract us to Mongrel’s diverse productivity is its eclecticism and serious irreverence. They are just as happy doing cut and paste xerox comic books and newsprint broadsheets as they are writing complex bits of code for a piece of software or hacking games and applications.

Park Fiction, Hamburg http://www.parkfiction.org/
An ensemble of people and practices located in close proximity to the depressed Saint Pauli district in Hamburg. A very successful instance of how cultural action within a community/neighbourhood context can stall the designs of urban redevelopment that might have resulted in eviction and demolition.

Atelier BowWow, Tokyo http://www.bow-wow.jp/
http://www.icon-magazine.co.uk/issues/022/bowwow.htm
An innovative architecture practice located in Tokyo, initiated by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Mayomi Kaijima, with whom we collaborated on the making of Temporary Autonomous Sarai (TAS) in Minneapolis in 2002. Atelier BowWow’s investigations in what they call ‘da-me’ or ‘not good’ and ‘pet’ architecture, with their accent on researching informal and improvised architectural interventions in dense urban spaces is something we have a great deal of sympathy for. BowWow’s take on built form in urban space privileges that which may seem marginal at first, but is actually vital to the life of a neighbourhood or a street. It gestures to a density of contact, a plurality of usage and function, to the animatedness of interstitial spaces, and to a democracy of the sidewalk, the verge and the back alley that we find resonant with the urban forms of our city. It would be interesting to see what could occur if architectural practices in South Asia began taking an active interest in the informal city as an expressive of an architectural language.

Torolab, Tijuana http://torolab.co.nr/
Another architectural practice, like Atelier BowWow with a strong presence in contemporary art venues. Torolab is based in Tijuana at Mexico’s northern frontier with the USA, and much of its work is by way of an imaginative and focused reflection and research on the special conditions of the border zone, the peculiar relationship between the twin cities of Tijuana in Mexico and San Diego in the USA and the forms of improvised and ’emergency’ architecture, using discarded automobile bodies, car tyres, crates and cardboard boxes that are a hallmark of subaltern urbanism in Tijuana.

Arab Image Foundation, Beirut http://www.fai.org.lb/
An archival initiative undertaken by a group of photographers, critics and theorists spread across the Arabic speaking world, and in the Arab diaspora, to archive and document popular photographic and image making practices, especially with a view towards the destabilization of the ‘Arab Image. They have spoken in Delhi, at an invitation from Khoj.

The Atlas Group Archive, Beirut/New York http://www.theatlasgroup.org/
A somewhat disembodied entity centred around the personage of Walid Raad that invokes an archival register to explore the contemporary history of Lebanon through mixed media installations, single channel screenings, visuals and literary essays and lectures/performances. What we find interesting in the work of the Atlas Group is the close attention to history, a sense of archival irony and a highly sophisticated visual language. What the Atlas Group Archive does is to use a historical imagination to weld a set of philosophical statements about the politics of seeing. The invocation of an image by the archive becomes an occasion for thinking about truth claims and uncertainty. Images, even the memories of images, become things to think with, not just objects to look at or recall. It may be interesting to see what happens were we to transpose aspects of this register of thinking with images and memories to the fractured history of our city.

Common Room & The Bandung Center for New Media Arts, Bandung http://www.commonroom.info/
A dynamic cluster of self-organized spaces in Bandung, Indonesia, with a special interest in expressing the enormous vitality of urban youth culture in Bandung, with its distinct political and critical edge and commitment to having a very good time, with music, murals, experimental video, street fashion, new media, publishing and comics. The Common Room and the Bandung Center are object lessons in the ability to organize a dynamic public space and presence that is non-commercial, that has little or no funding, and that survives because of a close relationship to a young public that nurtures it with time and with improvised resources.

Long March Foundation, Beijing http://www.longmarchspace.com/english/homepage.htm
A highly intense ensemble of artistic, cultural and archival practices, developed over many years and within the matrix of a densely collaborative framework, particularly interested in areas such as migration within China, that emerges from the space of the Cultural Transmission Center in Beijing. We found this practice, which we encountered for the first time at the Taipei Biennale 2005, to occupy a different, more nuanced but far more quietly subversive register of expression compared to the by now formulaic visual sensation of contemporary art from China.

kein.org: collaborative media production, Internet/Munich http://kein.org/
kein.org is a peer to peer network of cultural practices that encompasses software, theory, performance, events and conferences – kein.org has in its history been the site for very precise and focused online and offline interventions (‘Kein Mensch ist Illegal’ and ‘Deportation Class’) against the detention and deportation of illegal immigrants in Germany and Europe.

Metareciclagem, Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo http://www.metareciclagem.org/wiki/index.php/MetaReciclagemEn
Metareciglagem is a loose ensemble of people and practices that embody a critical free and open source practice with software, machines, people and spaces in Brazil. Equally distant from the NGO scene and the imperatives of self-consciously political language, metareciclagem is basically interested in initiating a set of creative processes that reclaim autonomies for human presence and subjectivity in all processes involving technological mediation, especially, but not only in those that use computers (accessible, assembled hardware) and software.

Chaos Computer Club, Berlin http://www.ccc.de/?language=en
A pioneering group of hackers and who were and continue to be active in the Berlin scene, intervening critically and through cultural and artistic work in areas to do with intellectual property, electronic surveillance and technological creativity.

Radioqualia, London, Bacelona, Auckland http://www.radioqualia.net
An online art collaboration by New Zealanders Adam Hyde and Honor Harger, it was founded in 1998 in Australia and is currently based in Europe. Using various streaming media softwares, r a d i o q u a l i a experiments with the concept of artistic broadcasting, using the internet and traditional media forms, such as radio and television, as primary tools, and aims to explore broadcasting technology within the context of philosophical speculation.

Bureau d’etudes, Paris/Strasbourg http://bureaudetudes.free.fr/
A practice consisting of researchers and cartographers who map flows of power and control in politics, economy, society and culture and render their work through elaborate diagrams, often exhibited within contemporary art venues and events.

Visible Collective, New York http://www.disappearedinamerica.org/about/collective/
A collective of artists, documentarists, legal practitioners, designers, programmers, cartographers and activists – creators of the ‘Disappeared in America’ project that documents the detention and disappearance of people in the United States of America following September 11, 2001.

Temporary Services http://www.temporaryservices.org/
Temporary Services is a group of three persons: Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fischer. Their work draws on their varied backgrounds and interests to produce creative exhibitions, events, projects and publications. Within their work they create socially dynamic situations and spaces for dialogue. They are distinguished by their fondness of self published pamphlets, and public projects that are temporary, ephemeral, or that operate outside of conventional or officially sanctioned categories of public expression. We were especially struck by Temporary Services collaboration with a prisoner serving a sentence of life imprisonment that resulted in a project called ‘Prisoners Inventions’ consisting of a collection of ingenuous inventions made by a prisoner, a book and the replica of a prison cell.

Red 76, mainly Portaland, Oregon http://www.red76.com/
Red76 is the title used by a group of people working on collaborative projects in Portland, Oregon. The guiding constructs holding Red76 projects together are the facilitation of thought in public space and the examination of how to define what and where that space can be. The wish to charge space, to create an atmosphere where the public may become hyper aware of their surroundings and their day-to-day activities – such as making a lecture series in Laundromat shops – is an important construct for them.

Critical Art Ensemble, dispersed locations online http://www.critical-art.net/
A collective of artists, theorists and scientists known for their critical research and creative work located at the intersections of technology, biology, cybernetics, feminism and a trenchant critique of the military-industrial-information technology complex. CAE produces events, performances based on laboratory experiments, books and web-based renditions of research themes and ideas.

Middle Corea http://middlecorea.net/
Middle Corea describes itself as a virtual networked territory actually located in the Internet, and ideally located within the ecosystem of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. It realises itself through a variety of artistic and documentation activities undertaken by a group of artists, practitioners, photographers, theorists and curators loosely located in and around Seoul.

Mute and Metamute, London www.metamute.org
A print journal and website devoted to a wide ranging critical discussion of the politics and culture of new technologies of communication.

Improbable Voices http://www.improbablevoices.net
Improbable Voices is an archive of reflections in the form of interviews from inside a women’s prison, and a proposal for a monument to the prison-industrial system. The Improbable Voices project emerges out of a collaboration between a California based artist, Sharon Daniels, a group of ten women inmates who are incarcerated at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, CA – the largest female correctional facility in the United States and Justice Now, a human rights organization that works with women in prison to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons.
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From the above list it will be evident that the kind of practices that we are talking about range from comics to high theory, with software, web-based work, radio, documentary filmmaking, and self-published broadsheets in between. Crucially, each of these might involve either a level of sociality in the production of cultural processes or a willingness to engage with a discursive register (and sometimes both). This unties art and cultural work from decorative or propagandist demands and enables it to claim a space for forms that are generative of questions, thought, reflection and communitas.

Many of these formal approaches might seem somewhat alien to the current milieu of art exhibition practices in places such as Delhi, but we are certain that there is a change in the offing. New spaces will emerge and are emerging where new forms and new people will be at play. This is nascent now, but we think that this will take on a momentum of its own in a matter of years.

What is also evident is that as in other areas of human creativity (science, music, filmmaking) the rise of collectives, ensembles and networks will accelerate a vibrant cultural milieu.

We hope that this listing provides everyone in our milieu with reasons for reflection, and we look forward to carrying forward a conversation.

We look forward to more interesting times in our city!

August 1, 2006



The Next Layer or: The Emergence of Open Source Culture
February 17, 2007, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Articles, News

Draft text for Pixelache publication by Armin Medosch, London/Vienna 2006 – 2007

First we had media art. In the early days of electronic and digital culture media art was an important way of considering relationships between society and technology, suggesting new practices and cultural techniques. It served as an outlet for the critique of the dark side of computer culture’s roots in the military-industrial complex; and it suggested numerous utopian and beautiful ways of engagement with technology, new types of interactivity, sensuous interfaces, participative media practices, for instance. However, the more critical, egalitarian and participative branches of media art tended to be overshadowed by the advocacy of a high-tech and high-art version of it.

This high-media art conceptually merged postmodern media theories with the techno-imaginary from computer sciences and new wave cybernetics. Uncritical towards capitalisms embrace of technology as provider of economic growth and a weirdly paradoxical notion of progress, high-media art was successful in institutionalizing itself and finding the support of the elites but drew a lot of criticism from other quarters of society. It stuck to the notion of the artist as a solitary genius who creates works of art which exist in an economy of scarcity and for which intellectual ownership rights are declared.

In the course of the 1990ies media art was superseded by what I call The Next Layer or, for help of better words, Open Source Culture. I am not claiming that the hackers who are the key protagonists of Open Source Culture are the new media artists. Such a claim would be rubbish as their work, their ways of working and how it is referenced is distinct from media art. I simply say that media art has become much less relevant through the emergence of The Next Layer. In the Next Layer many more protagonists come together than in the more narrowly defined field of media art. It is much less elitist and it is not based on exclusivity but on inclusion and collaboration. Instead of relying on ownership of ideas and control of intellectual property Open Source Culture is testing the limits if a new egalitarian and collaborative culture.

In the following paragraphs I would like to map out some of the key components of Open Source Culture. It has been made possible by the rise of Free, Libre and Open Source Software. Yet Open Source Culture is about much more than just writing software. Like any real culture it is based on shared values and a community of people.

Open Source Culture is about creating new things, be they software, artefacts or social platforms. It therefore embraces the values inherent to any craft and it cherishes the understanding and mastery of the materials and the production processes involved. Going beyond craftmanship and being ‘open source’, it advocates free access to the means of production (instead of just “ownership” of them). Creativity is not just about work but about playfulness, experimentation and the joy of sharing. In Open Source Culture everybody has the chance to create immaterial and material things, express themselves, learn, teach, hear and be heard.

Open Source Culture is not a tired version of enforced collectivism and old fashioned speculations about the ‘death of authorship’. It is not a culture where the individual vanishes but where the individual remains visible and is credited as a contributor to a production process which can encompass one, a few or literally thousands of contributors.

Fundamental to Open Source Culture’s value system is the belief that knowledge should be in the public domain. What is generally known by humans should be available to all humans so that society as a whole can prosper. For most parts and whereever possible, this culture is based on a gift economy. Each one gets richer by donating their work to a growing pool of publicly available things. This is not a misguided form of altruism but more like a beneficial selfishness. Engaged in a sort of friendly competition everyone is pushing the whole thing forward a bit by trying to do something that is better, faster, more beuatiful or imaginative. Open Source Culture is a culture of conversation and as such based on multiple dialogues on different layers of language, code and artefacts. But the key point is that the organisation of labour is based on the self-motivated activity of many individuals and not on managerial hierarchies and ‘shareholder value’.

Open Source Culture got a big push forward with the emergence of Linux and the Internet but we shouldn’t forget that it has much deeper roots. History didn’t start with Richard Stallmans problems with a printer driver. The historic roots could be seen as going back to the free and independent minded revolutionary artists and artisans in 19th century. More recently, it is based on post-World-War-II grassroots anti-imperialist liberation movements, on bottom-up self-organised culture of the new political movements of the 1960ies and 1970ies such as the African American civil rights movements, feminisim, lesbian, gay, queer and transgender movements, on the first and second wave of hacker culture, punk and the DIY culture, squatter movements, and the left-wing of critical art and media art practices.

In terms of the political economy, Open Source Culture could mark an important point of departure, by liberating the development of new technologies from being dictated by capital. The decision of what should be developed for which social goals is taken by the developers themselves. Technological development is not driven by greed but by deep intrinsic motivations to create things and to be recognized for ones contribution. Despite that, Open Source Culture is not an anti-capitalist ideology per se but has the potential to change capitalism from within and is already doing so.

Open Source Culture needs to be constantly aware of capitalisms propensity to adapt, adopt, co-opt and subjugate progressive movements and ideas to its own goals. The ‘digital revolution’ was already stolen once by the right-wing libertarians from Wired and their republican allies such as Newt Gingrich and the posse of American cyber-gurus from George Gilder to Nicholas Negroponte. More recently adept Open Source Capitalists have used terms such as Web 2.0 and social software to disguise the fact that what those terms are said to describe has emerged from open source culture and the net culture of the 1990ies and the early 2000s. Once more the creativity of the digital masses is Exploited by alliances between new and old tycoons. The Next Layer emerges at a time when capitalism is stronger than ever before and it emerges at the very heart of it. This is the beauty of it. It cannot be described in a language of mainstream and underground. Open Source Culture is the new mainstream which is what capitalist media are doing their best to hide, scared by the spectre of communism as well as commonism. We don’t need to ressort to the language of the Cold War and its dichotomies, however.

The Next Layer contains not only a promise but also a threat. It emerges at a time when the means of suppression and control have been increased by rightwing leaders who try to scare us into believing we were engaged in an endless ‘war on terror’. With their tactics they have managed to speed up the creation of a technological infrastructure for a society of control. The general thrust of technological development is coming from inside a paranoiac mindset. 25 years of neo-liberalism in the American lead empire have degraded civil liberties and human values. The education system has been turned into a sausage factory where engineers are turned out who construct their own digital panopticons. Scary new nano- and bio-technologies are created in secret laboratories by Big Science. And the bourgeioise intelligentsia meanwhile has stood still and does not recognize the world any more but still controls theatres, publishing and universities. In this situation it is better if Open Source Culture is not recognized as a political movement. The Next Layer will find ways of growing and expanding stealthily by filling the niches, nooks and crannies of a structurally militant and imperialist repressive regime from which, given time, it will emerge like a clear spring at the bottom of a murky glacier.

* The Next Layer is a book project by Armin Medosch about Open Source Culture. It has been supported by Franz Xaver and the Medienkunstlabor Graz in 2006. Passages of this text are informed by an extensive study into free software hackers and open source activists. Materials will be released in due time at http://theoriebild.ung.at/



India’s new design policy
February 16, 2007, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Articles, News

by John Thackara (from http://www.doorsofperception.com/)

When I first visited India 20 years ago, the country had fewer design teachers for a population of more than a billion people than had Wales – whose population is three million. The supply of teachers seemed to be stuck because India had just one national public design school: the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad.

NID had (and has) extremely smart faculty and students. But their number – 400 or so per cohort – is tiny in comparison with the 60,000 elite students who attend the country’s Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) – and who have played such a major role in the global IT boom.

It’s good news, then India’s new National Design Policy, which was published on Friday, decrees that four more National Institutes of Design, on the pattern of NID, will be set up in different regions of the country.

The new policy also encourages the establishment of departments of design in all IITs, the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and in prestigious private sector colleges. The objective is to spread quality design education to all regions of India.

So far, so good. But I was shocked and dismayed to find no mention of climate change, sustainable development, or resource efficiency, in the press release describing the Cabinet’s “vision for a National Design Policy.”

The emphasis of the vision is on “making India a major hub for exports and outsourcing of designs.” This does not sound like the basis for a post-waste, post-consumerist, sustainable economy.

Frankly, if it ignores sustainability, India’s new design policy will make the global situation worse. A lot worse. 80% of the environmental impact of products, services and infrastructures is determined at the design stage, and India is a global industrial power.

Along with other friends of Indian design, I have been arguing for some years for a “leapfrog strategy” in which India jumps directly from a resource-guzzling productivist model to a more advanced, sustainable – and competitive – services-based model.

Doors has been arguing this case in India for six years. The focus of our first formal event in India, at NID in February 2000, was on the transition to a services economy. We expanded this discussion in Doors East in 2003, and at Doors 8 on Infra in 2005. The theme of Doors 9 on Juice, in two weeks’ time, returns once again to the leapfrog idea, this time on the context of food and energy.

India’s new design policy suggests that we have not argued well enough.

The leapfrog hypothesis is doing much better in China. Ezio Manzini, a pioneer of the idea, was on the front page of the Peoples Daily a few weeks ago on just this topic. Senior Chinese policy makers told us, then, that they are looking to develop a fundamental “transformation of our economic growth model”. They said they expected design to play a crucial role in this tranformation.

On a third reading of last week’s announcement from the Indian Cabinet, I discovered a nugget of hope near the bottom of the last page. Item xvi.11 of an Action Plan to implement the Policy says a proposed new India Design Council should “Take effective steps towards ‘cradle to grave environment-friendly approach’ for designs produced in India so that they have global acceptance as ‘sustainable designs’”.

This reads more like an afterthought than a ringing endorsement for design’s biggest opportunity in 200 years. But it’s better than nothing.

Will India’s design education fall further behind? I doubt it. India’s designers are fast on the uptake. Give them the tools – in the form of the promised new institutions – and I’m confident they’ll adapt them to the task of One Planet Economy design.