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Audrey Bennett and Ron Eglash Deliver Joint AIGA Keynote

Tuesday, 11/09/2021

Stamps Pro­fes­sors Audrey Ben­nett and Ron Eglash deliv­ered a joint keynote pre­sen­ta­tion at the AIGA’s National Con­fer­ence ​“A Brief His­tory of Now” on Sep­tem­ber 20, 2021.

Titled ​“Future Her­itage: Evo­lu­tion­ary design tra­jec­to­ries to gen­er­a­tive jus­tice,” their pre­sen­ta­tion addressed the phrase ​“future her­itage” as a para­dox, empow­er­ing move­ments from Afro­Fu­tur­ism to Spec­u­la­tive Design. 

Lim­it­ing our vision to fixed sce­nar­ios is never wise; we can­not know what designs are best for the future. How­ever, we can cre­ate design tra­jec­to­ries, paths through the ​“space of pos­si­bil­i­ties” that work on prin­ci­ples that embed jus­tice and sus­tain­abil­ity into prac­tices and prod­ucts. Nature’s evo­lu­tion has many exam­ples of design tra­jec­to­ries: once birds devel­oped feath­ers and hol­low bones, every­thing from con­dors to hum­ming­birds became pos­si­ble. Our research has focused on devel­op­ing design tra­jec­to­ries inspired by Indige­nous cul­tures. The frac­tal struc­ture of Africa’s tra­di­tional archi­tec­ture, bio­com­plex­ity in Mexico’s agroe­col­ogy, restora­tive jus­tice in Native Amer­i­can tra­di­tions, and other exam­ples prove the pos­si­bil­ity of a gen­er­a­tive econ­omy, one in which value is not extracted but rather cir­cu­lated in unalien­ated forms. In this talk, we will describe our exper­i­ments in trans­lat­ing these gen­er­a­tive tra­di­tions into design prin­ci­ples that can be applied to con­tem­po­rary con­texts, ones that would pro­vide the kinds of futures we would like our her­itage to become.

A Brief His­tory of Now: 2021 AIGA Design Conference

Originally published on stamps.umich.edu