robertogreco + constraints + autoprogettazione   1

crap futures — counter-constraints
"In recent posts, starting with ‘how the future happens’, we have been exploring the factors that keep us to established paths or limit the potential for preferable futures. But as we aim in this blog (and in life generally) to go beyond mere critique, the next batch of posts will outline the concept of counter-constraints.

Counter-constraints take the identified constraining factors and invert, work around, or ignore them entirely to propose fresh perspectives and possibilities. The resulting new ways of thinking about technological futures may be more inclusive, imaginative, socially-orientated, non-corporate, or they might simply facilitate a more meaningful relationship between science and society.

For example, open-source everything can be seen as a series of counter-constraints to restrictive infrastructure such as copyright laws, gated knowledge systems, and complex production lines. Back in the 1970s, Italian designer Enzo Mari sought to democratize furniture construction with autoprogettazione?, a DIY approach to ‘making easy-to-assemble furniture using rough boards and nails’. Mari wrote:

In my job as designer, or rather as an intellectual who contradicts the actual state of things, I try within the network of commissions and projects to ‘smuggle in’ moments of research and ways of creating the stimulus to free oneself from ideological conditioning, standard norms, behaviour and taste.
The book is full of beautiful stuff - we’ve already made two ping-pong tables and a couple of chairs from his instructions. Taking Mari’s lead, it is possible for anyone - without sophisticated tools or machinery - to sidestep the usual trip to Ikea.

Well, almost anyone - you still need basic building skills. The Enzo Mari example also relates to another constraint we’ve discussed, that of education. We’ve used his book to teach students the kinds of skills that are becoming rarer these days thanks to over-digitalisation, the consequential focus on 3D printing and laser-cutting, and the rapid shift toward sealed-box design.

Time for coffee and toast. In our next post we’ll look at how to ‘counter-constrain’ progress dogma.

note: apologies to the Mari purists. We used screws rather than nails for dismantleability."
constraints  counter-constraints  enzomari  2016  diy  furniture  autoprogettazione  inversion  futures  future  design  crapfutures  democratization  1970s  science  society  technology  knowledgesystems  perspective  possibilty 
february 2016 by robertogreco

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