Papers 4: Visions of Renewal
The works in this session all participate acts of envisioning the future. These visions, however, are not mere ocularcentric handwaving. No TED-style broad proclamations here. Each piece is grounded in specific evocative materials. One takes concrete—literally, concrete-- as a site of envisioning what constitutes sustainability. Another investigates paper, space and embodied action as ephemeral materials that enact collective healing after a disaster. A third resituates “the digital” in relation to populations, social fields and city space to renew notions of civic participation. Through careful attention to materials, social processes and above all context, these papers all get beyond notions of vision as brash proclamation, and render new social dynamic conceivable in contextually-sensitive ways.
While the cement industry had traditionally been linked to the concepts of modernity and development, the drive towards socially responsible and environmentally friendly business practices has required a revision of the industry mostly in relation to its sustainability programs. This paper examines the logics followed by employees when relating to the concept of sustainability as sustainability programs are implemented in the cement industry. The interaction with different stakeholders in combination with personal convictions about ethics, power, environment and participation in a team influence how an individual understands sustainability policies and makes them concrete. Photo: Official Cemex Images http://www.flickr.com/photos/cemex/4343631515/in/set-72157623266596957
Installed during the Tohoku earthquake relief fundraising event CONCERT FOR JAPAN at Japan Society on April 2011, the Luminous Washi Lanterns was a meditation and celebration of renewal through light and impermanent materials. The paper examines the role of the ephemeral from the ancient to contemporary Japanese culture, collective experience during an ephemeral performance, and translation of traditional Japanese renewal rituals into a piece that engages a diverse range of people outside of Japan. How can designers instigate a process of renewal following a disaster in manners that engage people of all ages and backgrounds in a collective healing experience?
This paper explains how STAND Chattanooga became the world’s largest community visioning process in 2009. Behind its public success, the authors relate the underlying ‘research story’ of how 26,263 viewpoints were achieved by changing course in midstream and adopting more ethnographic methods of survey collection. For an EPIC audience, we analyze STAND’s ultimately successful outcome as a case of following the logic of 'social fields' (however unintentionally). The paper furthermore argues that STAND is a paradigm example of the way ethnographic principles can be deployed at various scales to accomplish goals (such as community renewal) outside the reach of most Big Data analytics.