Mucho Gusto Graphic Lab: Manifesto – The Design Cycle

Roughly translated (with apologies):

  1. Design is created, deconstructed and transformed.
  2. Designers have to accept that we are the main cause of damage and we have to adopt a meticulous role of repair, we are not going to end the world, we are going to end ourselves.
  3. Our main need as designers will have to be to consume our waste, our interest is to live, not continue living.
  4. Designers not only imagine, plan and do: we have to think and reflect, and in most cases twice.
  5. Design is a consequence.
  6. Design is a material link from the world to the person and should be from the person to the world.
  7. If the design is to communicate more than just work, somehow we have to understand each other and not just use ourselves.
  8. The design has to be from the collective, global ideas cannot come from a single point of view.
  9. Designers have to become part of the community and design through others and for others.
  10. Designers and design will have to coexist in any ecosystem, we are part of the world, not owners of the world.

For how many decades have we asked ourselves questions like: What is design? What is it for? Who does it and what responsibility does it have? What is good design? Who is a good designer?

The reality is that there is a stubborn folly to define what we are and what we do, instead of just being and leaving what already is, like that, as it is.

To our incomplete, indefinite, and “thinking” species, we love to excuse ourselves in that ignorance to feel that we have to manipulate the world and make it our own, under the idea of ​​”a better world” that each time shows us how incapable we are to understand it and to be part of it.

What would our generation be called? The no-future? The entrepreneurs? Those of us who only go forward, without anticipating, without remembering, without understanding that we are part and, possibly, the worst part?

We live in the Anthropocene. This is what they call this time in places where design no longer serves a need, but is one more link in the social chain of production that generates awareness and empathy. Nobody believes in the past, because it already was; nor in the present, because it is; and the future, now, is the engine that moves us: a mirage. His goal is never to be reached, how ironic! Just when you get to it, the limits are crossed. And the most critical thing is that currently, instead of passion, we are moved by interest in the ideas of “progress”, “entrepreneurship” and “innovation”, which go at full speed, devouring the present, blurring the borders with the future, that for the first time, its limits seem no longer to have room to expand.

This manifesto is more a warning for ours, for those who believe that they already are and have nothing more to do, in an era in which not only what we buy is consumed, but even what we discard, trying to enjoy a present in the that it is not allowed to create anything “new”, where the raw materials are already contaminated, and the “pure” is unattainable or extremely scarce. Where the design objective is to use waste as a new raw material and thus generate a path that imitates what we saw in natural processes for many generations, and thus, perhaps, now we can participate and belong to a cycle, and finally be clear that the search to “be better” has not led us to anything good and is not enough.

It is this era of the Anthropocene in which our own waste consume us and make us sick, where time is counting down and we can only start designing from the rest and with the decline, because those consequences that some professed with apocalyptic overtones have already arrived , those prophecies that shake heads and manage to annoy the entrails of those of us who make, those who propose ideas and make them objects, images, advertising, text, art, and we bring them to a world that consumes by inertia and spits on the ground what does he likes it, an infected world that affects us.

There will be those of us who continue to discard, disproportionately, unconscious, insatiable and ignorant that in the same way we consume we waste; loyal trend followers and fearful of long-term personal, objective and graphic commitment. There will be those of us who will try to do things thought out from waste, trying to make it become a fertile fruit, a clear and measured use of the project of the new future, which may never come, but positivists, idealists, with a spirit aware of the waste that already is part of us.

There will be others that our ignorance and ignorance distress us and cloud our decisions. We will consume waste, we will work with it, we will transform it, and our ignorance and resistance to this modus vivendi will make us in the end manage to communicate the importance of using the pollution and waste in which we will get used to living. There will be those that we do, those that we communicate, those that we transmit, those that detonate feelings that some ignore; Those of us who analyze how much we have, how much we lose, and without any purpose we collect information, always imagining, because the imagination made us evolve and cooperate with each other, and now it has made us walk like gods among and over the waste.

At the end of the day we will have: that is hope and it lies in the understanding of doing thought from undoing; where history with images, texts and things, is enriched with time and passing from generation to generation. Where the passion returns and the interest in and for living diminishes; where the cycle of consumption in any of its aspects is a dialogue between imagination, material, process, task, product, consumer, coexistence, relationship, life and death. Where we must always be from the other and in a dual way, not individually. Where things do not seem good and are bad, or bad and are good, and the most effective way to move, learn and evolve is not ignorance and manipulation.

by Luis Cárdenas and Melissa Aldrete

Originally published in 2020

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