From Colonization Road to 1492 Land Back Lane

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Colonization Road — a documentary film by Michelle St. John

The New Bauhaus was announced on December 19, 2020. Guests gathered from around the world to celebrate the inauguration of a new school. The builders collective were already proving to be a formidable global force, but it was difficult to fight or oppose because it had no formal office or location, no leadership, no national corporation or local legal jurisdiction.

There was an open social network based out of a virtual meeting place, a group called The Design Administration. Their only commitment was to focus their time, energy, and resources to build a world that works for all.

As little design as possible. …

An immersive interactive experience that will feature work from the Design Science Studio, an educational incubator for art inspiring a regenerative future that works for 100% of life.

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Design Science Salon: Dissolve & Bloom

Presented by the Design Science Studio at the Buckminster Fuller Institute in partnership with habRitual.

Saturday, December 19th

RSVP: Design Science Salon: Dissolve & Bloom

Have you heard? Everything is changing and there is no turning back. As we dive deep, the idea of separation from Nature evaporates. Nothing is destroyed, just transformed. Allow yourself to dissolve and bloom, like the mycelial interconnected networks sporing out the process of permanent transformation. The metamorphosis has commenced, and as our friend Bucky said well, “there is nothing in the caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”

We invite you to journey with us on Saturday, December 19th into the minds and heARts of some of the Design Science Studio’s 144 inspiring international multidisciplinary creators, through an immersive interactive world that will inspire exploration and shift the way you relate to the potential of online events and art. …

A dance between spirit and form

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I was relating the dance of life between spirit and form to the jitterbug that we have been learning about from the book club reading through A Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller by Amy Edmondson. I have associated the three elementary forms of the Bauhaus, the blue circle, yellow triangle, and red square, to the design process: imagine, design, and build. Design sits in the gap between vision (imagination) and reality (architecture). In Buckminster Fuller’s understanding, the triangle is the metaphysical concept that we apply to our understanding of three-dimensional geometry and four-dimensional process, with the tetrahedron as the elementary form of Nature’s architectural framework. It was in the conversation between Rob and Kristen Bell that I heard them exploring the themes of his new book, Everything is Spiritual. Reminded of how Buckminster Fuller said, “I seem to be a verb,” I thought of the three-word title of Rob Bell’s book, focusing on the two-letter word in the middle, a conjugation of the verb, “to be.” Then Rob and Kristen were talking about how form needs spirit and spirit needs form. It is a kind of dance. The parables of Jesus were a dance between spirit and form. I was thinking that parables could be summarized by the phrase, “The physical is a metaphor for the metaphysical.” …

This isn’t really working for me

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Victory for the Water Protectors, Kent Monkman, 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 84" x 132"

Hello Brad,

We have never met. I know of you only as my representative as a Member of the Parliament of Canada for the electoral district of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon.

You have been voted by the majority in our electoral district. You claim to be working for me, but I have my doubts.

You don’t work for me, Brad. I voted for someone else. But that was a long shot in this particular riding. I expect you work for people who agree with you, as is the habit of those who share your conservative perspective.

(By the way, I could do with a lot less yelling in your speeches.) …

The Wet’suwet’en Nation and the Canadian Genocide

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Turtle Island. Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

Canada, as a nation, likes to represent itself as morally superior to the United States of America. However, the nation has been writing its own history by erasing the history of the people who have lived on Turtle Island for thousands of years previous to settler colonization. Those stories that we have told ourselves about who we are have been challenged by the First Nations who have survived the Canadian genocide. The cognitive dissonance created by government and corporate media in contrast to the voices of those marginalized by the social, economic, and political systems of the Crown and the settler population have led to a process of truth and reconciliation. …

A conversation with Rob Bell and Don Golden

A transcript of The RobCast Episode 261: Building a New House with Don Golden.

Rob Bell: Okay, so it’s like the early aughts. It’s like 2001 ish. And what was happening is lots of people were talking about the HIV AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. And I would read these articles about the numbers. It was almost like the data or the statistics were like, I couldn’t fathom this level of devastation, because that just wouldn’t happen in America, let’s be honest. So I was like, early 30s. I’m a pastor, trying to do good work but also like there’s this thing happening on the other side of the world. That’s massive. …

Understanding Human Values, Perceptions, and Behaviours

The conversation about design is evolving as the scope of design expands from physical artifacts to living systems. Increasingly, we are exploring ideas about organizational transformation and social change. In other words, we are expanding the scope of design from the physical to the metaphysical: to the social, the economic, and the political. These are issues of connection, capacity, and power.

Design as a Catalyst for Change

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

— R. Buckminster Fuller

The Design Challenge

The challenge, then, becomes more about how to understand the values, perceptions, and behaviours of the individuals who make up an organization or a society. Through brain research and cognitive science, we are coming to understand that we are not actually rational creatures. Rather we react and behave emotionally and invent rationalizations to justify our instinctive and impulsive actions. …

Mental Models for Values, Perceptions, and Behaviours

The conversation about design is evolving as the scope of design expands from physical artifacts to living systems. Increasingly, we are exploring ideas about organizational transformation and social change. In other words, we are expanding the scope of design from the physical to the metaphysical: to the social, the economic, and the political. These are issues of connection, capacity, and power.

Reinterpreting the Role of the Designer

Matthew Manos has been creating communities to explore design as a means of multiplying the impact of non-profit organizations through new models of innovation, collaboration, and generosity.

Service Design and Biophilia

Others are imagining the basis for a new aesthetic of design.

This last aspect, on closer examination, has surprisingly revolutionary consequences for what should be the content of design in general, and the mission of service design in particular. If what we have said is true, it is difficult for design not to enter the fragile and sometimes unfathomable territory of the “action-patterns” of human existence. However, for the reasons set out above, design is not omnipotent and “service design” even less so. It must instead be “responsible” — that is, responsive — towards everyone and everything, young and old, rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, those blessed or spurned by life: it must do this without embracing invention for invention’s sake in pursuit of self-sufficiency and innovation, but must rather marry the knowledge of “responding” to what is beautiful and ugly here and in the world. This type of design is in fact an “active philosophy” dedicated to making space for life. Why should not design — service design — be a love for life? And why should not life, in all its incredible variety, be the key giving us access to design? …

A woman asks God why He has been so hateful

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Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

I couldn’t sleep. Early in the morning of 19 November 2019, I engaged in a thought experiment, an empathy exercise to imagine what it might be like to read the Bible from a woman’s perspective. On 20 November 2019, I saw this message on Twitter.

You say that I must believe in the God of the Bible to avoid going to Hell for eternity, correct?

If this is the narrow door that I must enter, then I need answers to these questions.

If it is not okay to ask questions, why was it okay for Job?

If you don’t answer my questions, I suppose I can assume that it is easier for you if I go to Hell. Or we can do what your church always does when facing conflict or scandal: deny it and ignore it. …

Reimagining the Role of Design

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Bauhaus Building, Dessau, Germany. Photo by Stephen Bau.

From the Past to the Future

Changing Our Focus to Existential Problems

It is said that hindsight is 20/20.

We look back at the past as a guide for the present. Except that what we discover is that we have merely repeated the mistakes of the past, or completely misunderstood the idealism and creativity of earlier generations because of how they have been reinterpreted in the present. When we consider the Bauhaus, it seems the resurgence of interest in the most influential design school of the past century is primarily focused on the physical artifacts and the aesthetics of the philosophy of form and function.

Perhaps the story of the Bauhaus could be another episode of the Nice Try! podcast, a study in human aspirations for utopia. As Ezra Klein quipped, “Everything begins as free love and ends up as capitalism. …


Stephen Bau

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design.

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