Design in the borderlands: an introduction

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Fry, Tony
Kalantidou, Eleni
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Kalantidou, E

Fry, T

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Historically the issue of the relations between geography, politics and cultures is as old as the differences within, and between, civilisations themselves. But in our age the geopolitical tensions, nature of the global economy, speed of technological change and the large numbers of people moving between nations are dramatically changing the picture and character of intercultural dynamics. More specifically, inflammatory rhetoric and the acting out of old conflicts within new contexts add to an already complex situation. In light of this, there is a need to more adequately understand that the geopolitics of inter-cultural difference is now taking on a new hue. Moreover, new imperatives are arriving, as often unresolved problems of the past meet emergent ones of the present, with determinate consequences for our collective future. That raises serious questions about the form of the future; rising to the challenges that are now unfolding, and gaining the understanding that meeting them, needs questioning so much that goes unquestioned. Central to this process of inquiry is asking what form the future should take, recognising that it will be plural, and will provide the means to sustain the web of life in which we are woven. Likewise, attempts to differentiate between what can and cannot be changed are vital to investigate, as are the means of change. Important among them is the agency of design, not as a grand vision of a global project or as a preoccupation with the fetishisation of the form of structure, product or images; rather, framed by the imperatives of our age, design has to be recognised as the decision and direction embodied in all things humans deliberately bring into being, this as they relationally constitute the made environments of our existence. The material forms of design, the designed, are thus means not ends; design is never complete for it never ceases to have consequences, large or small. In many varied ways the content of the essays in this collection will concretise the conceptual overview of the design just outlined, as it historically infuses the everyday life and instability wrought by colonialism upon the colonised people of the world and, in the contemporary era, as its forms morph into globalism. Design resides in the maelstrom that is ‘now’.

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Design in the borderlands

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Other built environment and design not elsewhere classified

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