”Critical Ecology” Matters: An Interactive Card-kit Introducing Tomás Maldonado's Work
What if the answer to the current environmental crisis is to move beyond a hopeless nostalgia for the environment, in favor of developing ecological thought processes?
What if we don't need a macro revolution that ends up ultimately cynical in the streets, but one that embraces the micro revolutionary potential in daily design decisions?
Is it possible to move beyond the more systematic modes of dealing with the environmental question to ones that support designers to make sense of the systemic complexity of design problems?
The questions mentioned above were at the crux of Tomas Maldonado's work between 1956 and 1972. They are central to the definition of a concept of "critical ecology" in his Book Design, Nature, and Revolution (1972).
Due to his fading popularity within Ulm and his struggle with formulating these ideas precisely, his work during this period has gained very little attention.
Convinced that the modern university is not suited for the task of developing the necessary modes of imagining the complexity of assembled human-nature relations, he called for a different form of teaching about environmental complexity ("Bauhaus after Bauhaus").
In the face of the multiple crises today, Maldonado's discourse on critical ecology provides a valuable framework for understanding design imagination as part of a technological imagination that does not lose touch with the sociological imagination. This project aims at a historical reconstruction of the notion of "critical ecology," as it appears within Maldonado's work between 1956 and 1972. As such, throughout the seminar, we will trace his work in particular archives and organize the ideas as a playful interactive card catalog. By re-organizing the knowledge playfully (operating beyond language differences), the interactive card kit will attempt to fill the gap between historical research and the forms of information more helpful in operational design research that aid designers to think through a design problem.