Stamps Professors Audrey Bennett and Ron Eglash delivered a joint keynote presentation at the AIGA’s National Conference “A Brief History of Now” on September 20, 2021.
Titled “Future Heritage: Evolutionary design trajectories to generative justice,” their presentation addressed the phrase “future heritage” as a paradox, empowering movements from AfroFuturism to Speculative Design.
Limiting our vision to fixed scenarios is never wise; we cannot know what designs are best for the future. However, we can create design trajectories, paths through the “space of possibilities” that work on principles that embed justice and sustainability into practices and products. Nature’s evolution has many examples of design trajectories: once birds developed feathers and hollow bones, everything from condors to hummingbirds became possible. Our research has focused on developing design trajectories inspired by Indigenous cultures. The fractal structure of Africa’s traditional architecture, biocomplexity in Mexico’s agroecology, restorative justice in Native American traditions, and other examples prove the possibility of a generative economy, one in which value is not extracted but rather circulated in unalienated forms. In this talk, we will describe our experiments in translating these generative traditions into design principles that can be applied to contemporary contexts, ones that would provide the kinds of futures we would like our heritage to become.
A Brief History of Now: 2021 AIGA Design Conference