02 março 2011
Sustainism is the New Modernism
March 1, 2011
Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers' Sustainism is the New Modernism declares the dawn of a new cultural era, as we transition from modernity to sustainity - towards a world that is more connected, more localist, more digital and more sustainable.
As the authors of this clear-eyed manifesto argue, "Sustainism marks a shift not only in thinking and doing but in collective perception - of how we live, do business, feed ourselves, design, travel and communicate, as much as how we deal with nature."
In the twentieth century, whether we knew it or not, our world was shaped by modernist values, from the design of our cities to our homes, technologies and our conceptions of progress.
Sustainism recasts our relationship to all of these things, binding ecological issues to a larger picture of our world.
Through a series of graphically dynamic aphorisms, quotes and symbols designed for worldwide use by businesses, individuals and institutions, to signal support for sustainism, Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers show how the movement is already reshaping global culture, technology, food and media.
With this concise manifesto, they launch the term sustainism into the public consciousness.
Here's the skinny. Modernism is dead, and design needs a new "ism" to define it. Whatever that "ism" turns out to be, it needs to be all of the following: ethically and environmentally responsible; socially and geographically inclusive; collaborative; networked; sensitive to nature; and savvy enough to make the most of: a) leaps in technology, and b) both globalism and localism.
Sounds sensible? Sure, if rather familiar. There have already been several attempts to categorize this new approach to design as "the new design," "sustainable design" and part of the cultural movements of "polymodernism," "supermodernism," "super-hybridity" and so on. A book to be published next month is proposing another new "ism" -- "Sustainism."
Written by the cultural theorist Michiel Schwarz and the designer Joost Elffers, "Sustainism Is the New Modernism" bills itself as a "cultural manifesto" that proposes "a new vocabulary and a symbolic language for a new era." The result is more like a branding exercise than a conventional book. It identifies the principle elements of Sustainism -- responsible, inclusive, collaborative plus all of the other virtues cited above -- and presents them as a brief statements and slogans illustrated by different typefaces and specially created graphic symbols.
Alice Rawsthorn, International Herald Tribune, January 9, 2011
Designer Marcio Dupont