Cognitive futures – Designing aesthetic worlds 

Part 1 :Rethink material culture 

Stuart walker lancaster- ted talk

 • What he is arguing against 

 • What is he arguing for 

 • What the take home message is 

 1. How we got to a state of unsustainability . Maternity started around 1500 – 1700 industrial revolution around the middle of 20th indusrty we realised we were using to kill each other in large numbers. Post madernity 21st century dominate our systems thinking and doing. Ideas are dead. Did split knowledge into compartments cognition, social science, arts, spirituality dropped out of the mix. 

Cognitive was the privileged knowledge of modernity . Reliable knowledge which lead into scientific advancement . Took science applied it technologies. Use of technology then became mass produced . Sell them. Western style capitalism . Consumerism, design close ally of consumerism. Global . Break down trade barriers sport the idea and consumer based growth, under cost material encourages consumption. Polluters don’t pay exploits nature exploits people treats them as units of production. Meaningless sense of .unsustainbale system finite growth . Constant growth in GDP. Growth in material harvesting. Increased in energy use. 

Mass produced water bottle present state of the product. Origins and end result. Land use roads sites drilling pumping refining manufacturing shipping distributing vending using (brief) discarding littering collecting . These are other present states unsustainable 

  • Applies to a host of disposable product shot life span objects battery’s phones fast fashion 

Environment social and economic triple bottom line not comprehensive doesn’t realte to individual varies in relatable. Economic culture thinks by adding a recycling sticker the job is done. Expands the practical meaning the human need and its environmental needs, spiritual need. 

  • Utility social,spiritual views of the worlds 

 Ustainabilty form follows meaning.  Reuse soap bottle in a lamp combing local and mass production, local would help with environment fall out and jobs. Emphemeral producst that have no ill effect of the environment . Fruit to act as a light. Mp3 re contextualising component in a larger object new exciting. Binds a battery circuit with a natural element reminds us of where it comes from . Floor lamp electrical off the shelf other components completely natural end of life can be separated re absorbed into the environment electrical can be reused. Land water and air. Disposable ink cartridges disposable battery go into the water turning on a co2 pump don’t just accept objects they’re at the heart of unsustainbable 

 Small experiments to change how we use objects how we derail weigh those objects . 

  Move away form a knowledge economy to a wisdom economy to what we should do not what we can do. 

 • Sustainability think about products effect in and on the world 

 • Single use products , relying on current practices, continual growth model,

 • Move know and knowledge culture to a wisdom culture. What we can do vs what we should do. 

 Division of knowledge is crucial the way we perceive knowledgIaberfan i44 people killed with a slackly in the coal mine sliding down a hill taking a school out 

Were not considering the wider impact in terms of design . Have we stopped de humanising and exploiting people 

  • Spirit of design , sustaining by design .

Arguing against products being bland boring lack of creativity or innovation products that drive us further down a path of destruction exploitation and unsustainability

 Products to have worth not only be about its apprearnce or a cheap façade, 

 Arguing for products that tackle issues, breaking current norms arguing for change in education. Aesthetics .

Cultural tendencies to the west function. Greater financial gain for comusial purposes in the industrial sense. Spirituality and meaning has been written out. 

Machines dig out diamonds no consideration for size of the diamond. 

 Droog wither tree seating. Crossing between nature 

 Sits in a space between art and design . 

 Part 2 what does aesthetic design look like?

 Wabi-sabi – beauty of thing imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, things modest and humble, things unconsenvitional . 

 More positive aesthetic meaning, instead of the negative of living along away from society . 

 Wabi-

 • A way of life a spiritual path

 • The inward the subjective

 • A philosophical construct

 • Spiritual events. 

        Sabi

 • Material objects art and literature

 • The outward objective

 • An aesthetic ideal 

 • Temporal levels
Differences between modernism and wabi sabi is that it is mainly targeted or open to the private domain where’s my practice as a maker is for everyone primarily the public realm. Im my practice is use a lot of steel or materials made from ores that have been maufatured in to a state I can manipulate. Wabi sabi embodys the spirituality and journey of a natural material. Although we both embody the journey within our practice the core material for me are man made. A similarity between wabi sabi and my practice is the corrosion and contamination makes it expression richer. I interpret this as non pure materials showing even highlighting imperfections that can create individuality texture colour uniqueness. Instead of a pure straight cut piece. I feel this links in perfect immaterialty links in to this as well. I use different materials that link together being impure. I make objects that can be functional but also can also be just for its aesthetic. The majority of my work is for display and cant be used as a functional ever day object . Wabi sabi take on function and utility is that its not a primary value unlike modernism my work similarly is usuall bespoke sculptures that are one ok a kind I do not like the idea of my type of work being mass produced. It looses its standard of handcrafting and doesn’t get the individual care and through throught its making . 


Wabi sabi demonstrates the lack of control over nature and how to work with it and more importantly learn from it or in a way accept it . Nothing finishes nothing is perfect you have no control.

 Eventually everything fades into oblivion or non existence . Everything is imperfect. Everything is incomplete. It’s not negative nor is it positive it’s coming to terms of reality of life,of change . Physical forces and deep structures that underline our everyday world. 

In the west thing  or objects don’t last we re buy it has a function it breaks were now wowed but anything where wabi sabi embodys beauty endurance, its subtly and not in your fave like most western culture it says you need to slow down be patient and look closely which our culture wont or cant do everything is fast paces and constantly moving we are blinded. A lot not it is based on how you perceive thing like what do you consider ugly? Where’s thingis the west are generic standard for many people. It challenges you ideal on whether for example is it beautiful ugly grotesque or homely?

Ugly houses in north wales 
How would we view our practices differently if we embedded in our briefs 

Enduring artefacts. Objects that serve no purpose are not useful objects that don’t tackel sustainable issues in design and manufacturing. Need to destinguish between and general object and object type . Understand sustainable solutions between 

Classification system functional, social or positional, inspiration and spiritual.  
Re design an ordinary object. Functiona to inspirational/ spiritual. 


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