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Ecocene Design Economies: Three Ecologies of Systems Transitions

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Despite accumulative social and technological innovation, the design industry continues to face significant obstacles when addressing issues of sustainability. Climate change and other systemic ecological problems demands shifts on an order of magnitude well beyond the trajectory of business-as-usual. I will argue that these complex problems require addressing the epistemological error in knowledge systems reproducing unsustainable designed worlds. Ecological literacy is a basis for nature-inspired design. Ecologically engaged knowledge must inform design strategies across the psychological, the social and the environmental domains. With the expansive three ecologies perspective, interventions at the intersection of design and economics can enable systems transitions. This theoretical work informs a framing of the current epoch in ways that create a foundation for the creation of regenerative, distributed and redirected design economies.

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Ecocene Design Economies: Three Ecologies of Systems Transitions

  1. 1. @ecocene // @ecolabs Ecocene Design Economies Three Ecologies of Systems Transition Dr. Joanna Boehnert Lecturer, Loughborough University @Ecocene
  2. 2. @ecocene // @ecolabs
  3. 3. Contents 1. Ecological Theory 2. Against Nature 3. Naming the Epoch 4. Ecocene Design Economies
  4. 4. 1. Ecological Theory
  5. 5. “most of us are governed by epistemologies we know to be wrong.” Gregory Bateson 1972, 493
  6. 6. @ecocene // @ecolabs
  7. 7. @ecocene // @ecolabs The three domains concept Gregory Bateson: Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) Felix Guattari: The Three Ecologies (1989)
  8. 8. @ecocene // @ecolabs mental ecology social ecology environmental
  9. 9. @ecocene // @ecolabs environment society self human subjectivity social relations the environment
  10. 10. @ecocene // @ecolabs “So, wherever we turn, there is the same nagging paradox: on the one hand the continuous development of new techno-scientific means to potentially resolve the dominant ecological issues and reinstate socially useful activities on the surface of the planet, and, on the other, the inability of organized social forces and constituted subjective formations to take hold of these resources in order to make them work.” (Guattari 2000, 22)
  11. 11. @ecocene // @ecolabs In response to this dilemma, Guattari calls an “ethico-political articulation” that will consider the dynamics between the three ecologies for “the production of human existence itself in new historical contexts...literally reconstructing the modalities of ‘group-being’… through ‘communicational’ interventions” for the modification and reinvention of the ways in which we live by “the motor of subjectivity”. (Guattari 2000, 24). “to ward off, by every means possible, the entropic rise of a dominant subjectivity”(Guattari 2000, 45).
  12. 12. 2. Against Nature
  13. 13. A. The End of Nature
  14. 14. B. The Entanglement
  15. 15. C. The Strawman
  16. 16. 3. Naming the Epoch
  17. 17. @ecocene // @ecolabs Anthropocene What is occurring? Capitalocene Why is this occurring? Ecocene What would we like to occur?
  18. 18. @ecocene // @ecolabs The Anthropocene must be “as short/thin as possible” Donna Haraway 2015, 60
  19. 19. @ecocene // @ecolabs “there is no advantage to us to bring the Anthropocene into the future… ..the mythos of the Anthropocene does not help us… ...we must re-imagine our world and enable the Ecocene.” Rachel Armstrong 2015
  20. 20. @ecocene // @ecolabs Includes the scientific analysis of the Anthropocene, the critical perspective of the Capitalocene, and an ecologically engaged generative perspective.
  21. 21. @ecocene // @ecolabs Includes the scientific analysis of the Anthropocene + the critical perspective of the Capitalocene An ontology, epistemology and ethic emerging from critical ecological thought
  22. 22. @ecocene // @ecolabs • including the scientific analysis of the Anthropocene + the critical perspective of the Capitalocene • an ontology, epistemology and ethic emerging from ecological thought, i.e. critical ecological literacy • intersectional feminist lin ing ecoism to other isms + types of oppressions.
  23. 23. @ecocene // @ecolabs • ell versed ith the scientific analysis of the Anthropocene + the critical perspective of the Capitalocene • an ontology, epistemology and ethic emerging from ecological thought, i.e. critical ecological literacy • intersectional feminist lin ing ecoism to other isms + types of oppressions • facilitated y e panded design practices transition design, systems oriented design, design activism, etc.
  24. 24. 4. Ecocene Design Economies
  25. 25. @ecocene // @ecolabs
  26. 26. @ecocene // @ecolabs The problem is not in the particular techniques of design, which have become very sophisticated, but in the haphazard structures – economic, political, social – in which design occurs, which slows the effort to take ecological design to the necessary scale. The rules of the system permit change only at the margins.... Orr 2018, 8
  27. 27. @ecocene // @ecolabs A Hierarchy of Systems A. ecological B. social C. economic A is the context for B and C. A existed before and will exist after both B and C. B and C must regulate activities according to A’s patterns & processes. C B A
  28. 28. @ecocene // @ecolabs market sustenance nature The unstable constellations of three domains Interpreted from Shiva 2005, 52 CURRENT ECONOMIC SITUATION SUSTAINABLE ALIGNMENT / HIERARCHY OF DOMAINS nature sustenance market The stable constellations of three domains
  29. 29. @ecocene // @ecolabs
  30. 30. @ecocene // @ecolabs
  31. 31. Economies of design refers to the “context and processes where design functions.” Design economies are where “design is the driving force of the way a context is organised.” Guy Julier 2017
  32. 32. @ecocene // @ecolabs A Continuum of Design Approaches (Irwin et al. 2015).
  33. 33. @ecocene // @ecolabs • ell versed ith the scientific analysis of the Anthropocene + the critical perspective of the Capitalocene • an ontology, epistemology and ethic emerging from ecological thought, i.e. critical ecological literacy • intersectional feminist lin ing ecoism to other isms + types of oppressions • facilitated y e panded design practices transition design, systems oriented design, design activism, etc. • dependent on a redirection of the political economy of design, ith regenerative, distri uted design economies
  34. 34. @ecocene // @ecolabs

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