“What you create matters, but how you create it matters more.” – Heidi Middleton (Clean Cut, 2015)
Within a modern global era, sustainable, localised and ethical design practise marks a progressive attitude against the homogenisation and destruction of culture in society, in an ideology acknowledge as ‘deglobalisation’ (Rhyzom). ‘Deglobalisation’ addresses the rejection of mass consumption and consumer attitude towards throw away goods through constructing an alternative to large scale design (Dunn, 2014) with boundaries placed on materials used and production methods to a localised context. Indonesian product designer Singgih Kartono, creator of the award winning Magno wooden radio (Dunn, 2014), addresses this notion of redefining the role of culture within society and design, through using local produce and workers to construct the small range of sustainable products, redefining the boundaries of design to one’s own societal milieu. There is a commonality of materials used within each product yet a distinct difference between each as they are hand carved and produced by local artisans and designers. This ethos towards design challenges the critical condition of culture within contemporary society and how as designers responsibility to an interconnected global context resonates strongly within a local nature.
Culture plays a pivotal role in defining one’s role within society, yet society is currently redefining the role of culture. Shared cultural practises amongst societies reiterate either the principal of conscious consumption, or in the cases of many Western countries a lack of material appreciation within our finite planet. As modern institutions enable global and industrial capitalism, it has brought about a planetary climate disaster and expensive social inequality (Milun, 2015). It is these shared spaces in which we communicate a public self, be it through participation or rejection of these institutions. In a globally connected urban life of today, the Javanese village Kandangan, where Kartono resides, collectively reconnects from a globalised context, structuring a localised culture around sustainable and ethical design ethos. The social milieu constructs a set of ideologies of its residents, with inter and cross disciplinary collaboration shifting the overall focus to a ‘holistic multidisciplinary design practise’ (Dunn, 2014), enriching the the overall quality of aesthetic, product and function.
Through this localised design practise and ethos a sense of community and commonality is established across a new environmentally focused culture. Design within this arena hence shapes the culture that is created in response to a global challenge and vice versa. The two coexist mutually with societal pressures from both a local and global context influencing the responsive nature of the design.
References in text:
Clean Cut, 2015, Future Talks, pamphlet, carbon8, Sydney, Australia, 25 April 2015
Rhyzom Project, 2011, ‘Trans, Local, Act: Cultural Practises within and Across,’ < http://www.rhyzom.net/2011/02/02/translocalact.pdf >
Dunn, J., 2014, Wooden radios, bamboo bicycles and human cocoons, Inside Indonesia, Indonesia, viewed 27 April 2015, < http://www.insideindonesia.org/wooden-radios-bamboo-bicycles-and-human-cocoons >
Milun, K., 2015, Commons: Non-modern Arts of Governing in a Modern World, Kunci Cultural Studies Centre, Indonesia, viewed 27 April 2015, < http://kunci.or.id/articles/kathryn-milun-non-modern-arts-of-governing/ >
Dunn, J., 2014, Wooden radios, bamboo bicycles and human cocoons, Inside Indonesia, viewed 27 April 2015, < http://www.insideindonesia.org/wooden-radios-bamboo-bicycles-and-human-cocoons >
Indonesia, viewed 27 April 2015, < http://www.insideindonesia.org/wooden-radios-bamboo-bicycles-and-human-cocoons >