We really seem to indulge in dystopian thinking. And we love it. And I really wonder why that happens. I don’t know how you feel about this, but it really stresses me out. And it kind of bothers me that it’s still a lot of times easier to imagine the end of the world than how we could live on a sustainable planet.
I came with the intention of speaking about my experience at RISD and wishing President Somerson a good tenure here, but all I could write on my sketchbook page was “blank page.” I wrote “tabula rasa.” I wrote “a clean slate.” And I wrote those words several times, and I realized as I was writing them that that’s how I arrived at RISD.
We as designers have an ability to provide perspective, to bring focus, and to share the tools that we use on a daily basis to align a group of disparate voices for a cause that is greater than our own.
When I look at the signs today, I see a very strong trend back to what I call tribalism, back to nation-states, nationalism, religiosity, all those divisive forces that many intellectuals in the 1940s, ’50s, thought were going to disappear gradually. That did not happen.
We feel that this is a good point to sort of take stock, do sort of a quick précis, if you will, of where we’ve gotten so far. Because I think we’ve got some really interesting places we weren’t necessarily expecting to get. And we’re seeing some interesting poles between different large groups of thinkers that we weren’t necessarily expecting.