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Posts Tagged ‘Marc Alt’

Post-Compostmodern: Now What?

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We’d be lying to you, dear readers, if we didn’t admit that before this weekend’s Compostmodern conference, we were in a very bad place.

Maybe it’s just the typical occupational hazard that comes with being a blogger. But when you’re bombarded, every day, with designers touting the eco-sensibility of their newest utterly useless product you should buy for only $499.99, architects who want to be praised for using some non-toxic paint on their latest 500,000 square foot monstrosity, and creative people using up valuable resources to launch misdirected movements about using up valuable resources, it’s enough to make us want to reach our hands through internet until we can wrangle the mouse from their smug little hands and whack them over the head with it until they get it.

So when spoken word artist Dawn Maxey stood up and read her little poem on eco-hype yesterday (read the full text), we wanted to run up on stage and kiss her. Oh, how we feel you, sister.

Valerie Casey addressed that eco-fatigue we’ve all been feeling. But she coupled it with a very interesting point about movements in general–they spike, then dip, then slowly gain more solid acceptance over time. So don’t despair, we’re all just feeling that spike. The dip has yet to come.

Except now, this movement belongs clearly to designers. Activism didn’t work, said Adam Werbach. We are in need of better stories, said Alex Steffen. We need to stop making stuff, said everybody. And Casey made a great argument for why designers by nature are perfect to spearhead change. But when Casey showed the slide above, which was sent to her by, in her words, a “very prominent and well-known designer,” it really got us fired up. Because every single company we heard represented at this conference–Mark Galbraith and Nau, Jane Savage and Nike, General Electric and VSA Partners, yes, even Werbach and Wal-Mart–has realized the importance of not just being designer-centric, but being designer-dependent in order to make big changes. People: There. Is. No. One. Else.

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Serious Play and Seeds of Change in SoCal This Spring

Is there really anything more lovely than Southern California in the spring? The mudslides are just ending, yet you’re still safely outside the height of the wildfire season. What better time to attend two design conferences in our neck of the woods? Coincidentally, we received updates for both these upcoming events one after another in our inbox today, as if our travel itinerary was being sent from above.

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First up, Seeds of Change, the lucky 13th year of the Y Conference, held by AIGA San Diego. This year has a greenish tint to it, and a twist by adding a moderator, Susan Szenasy. Paul Hawken headlines, other highlights are Derek Fagerstrom and Julia Cosgrove from ReadyMade, Janet Kübler from the Biomimicry Guild, Speak Up’s Jason Tselensis and AIGA sustainability chair Marc Alt. We’ve attended for the last two years, and our verdict remains the same: it’s very affordable for a big-time conference, but still small enough that you’ll find yourself drinking Champagne by the Hotel Solamar’s pool with the same person you’re supposed to get up and see speak at 9am. March 27-29.

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Just about a month later (why not stay at the Hotel Solamar pool until then?), the Art Center’s biennial conference has fun with Serious Play. John “Hocks” Hockenberry moderates Elizabeth Diller, David Macaulay, John Maeda, Paula Scher and more, organized by Chee Pearlman. This was the typical speaker/moderator conference but this year they’re adding hands-on studios, three-hour creative workshops. Although we found ourselves gasping at the price–$1350 before March 11–we have to say that two years ago, we were also gasping at the long and illustrious list of luminaries we encountered in the superfancy refreshment tent between sessions. May 7-9.