Throughout 2023, the community of participants, experts, and the larger audience that Driving the Human brings together will explore diverse phenomena such as the social impact of global warming, energy cycles and technology-driven disruptions, the impact of collective decision making, and contemporary processes of exchanging values and objects.
The results of these explorations will be shared and communicated over the projectâ€™s three-year duration, and will deploy strategies for action in the form of physical experiences, with a strong individual and collective impact. Ultimately, they will create tools that enable new ways of envisioning and inhabiting the world.
When Disegno asked me to write about Italian Limes, a project of Italian design research studio Folder, I couldn’t believe my luck. Here is one of the most interesting projects done in design and architecture in recent years, and I tried my best to show its relevance in today’s world in a piece that made it to Disegno no. 12. An excerpt below, and the full piece available in the magazine.
Italian Limesâ€™s greatest legacy is likely to be how it has contributed in a completely novel way to the fields of design and architecture, and helped carve out a path for a new generation of researchers. It has shown how design can meaningfully contribute to social and political discourse. In stark contrast to the postcard of the Brenner pass that initiated the project, a current Google maps rendition of Italyâ€™s border shows desolation and emptiness. A bare road leads to the Alps, as if entering the country were nothing other than simple and objective. And yet, as Paasi writes, â€œborders are still with us,â€ their meanings â€œmore and more complex in both social and political practice and academic researchâ€. Borders are contested, transformed, permeable to different degrees, dematerialised, present â€“ and as movable in their definition as the section of the Italian-Austrian frontier analysed by Folder. â€œConsequently, it is crucial to step beyond simple dichotomies dictating that spaces should be understood as either territorially bounded or open,â€ concludes Paasi. â€œEven the most thoroughly fixed borders transform, are crossed, and are partly â€˜mobileâ€™.â€