Mankind is not only a creative race but also a destructive one. It threatens to destroy even itself! That an accusatory finger is pointed at designers and that designers themselves are given to frequent pleas of “mea culpa” is easy to understand.
In every sphere in which mankind has created a giant mountain of useless nonsense, and an even greater heap of rubbish for the landfill, designers have played crucial roles. So who would object to the critical analysis Marcus Fairs has made of the field, which aims at starting a range of debates during Dutch Design Week 2017?
The imaginative title Good Design for a Bad World speaks volumes, while the first questions set the tone: “Can design tackle the really big problems facing the world? Or is design helping to cause these problems?”
More and more theorists use the term Anthropocene to spread a similar message of doom. The term denotes the geological era we have reached, which is characterised by the disastrous impact that mankind has on the planet. It seems abundantly evident which human activities have landed us in the current mess, such as far-reaching industrialisation and the inability to clean up all the waste created; globalisation and a rampant capitalist system with its unquestioning belief in the free market; unbridled consumption that has transformed “people” into “consumers”; and the unstoppable race for technological innovation.
The age of mankind is not a beautiful one