5 things I’m thinking about

You have Alper to blame for this. Alice start­ed it, many fol­lowed (some well worth read­ing) and now the meme has crossed the pond it seems. I know, we’re a bit slow in NL. So, what am I think­ing about?

My upcom­ing hol­i­day, which will be the first break in over a year. I am plan­ning to com­plete­ly unplug, which I am both dread­ing and look­ing for­ward to. It seems the longer I am self-employed, the hard­er it gets to just leave work behind for an extend­ed peri­od of time. It seems crazy to be wor­ried about the con­ti­nu­ity of my busi­ness when I’m only away for a week on a freak­ing Wad­den island.

Today marks the last day of final exams at the HKU and I am lead to won­der about the future of design edu­ca­tion as it hap­pens there and at oth­er sim­i­lar insti­tutes around the world. It often seems too closed off from the out­side world, too insu­lar. I am look­ing for­ward to tan­gling with this sub­ject mat­ter more in an upcom­ing project with Riv­er Insti­tute.

Choos­ing has nev­er come easy to me. In the past I have found it painful to choose between dis­ci­plines, skills to devel­op, projects to work on. And at some point I sort of decid­ed to stop forc­ing choic­es and find ways to have them all mesh. I think that final­ly I am get­ting to a spot where I am com­fort­able in not choos­ing. So now I won­der why that is, what the val­ue of refus­ing to choose is and what that means for cre­ative dis­ci­plines.

I am essen­tial­ly pes­simistic about the future of this world. I have a very hard time con­ceiv­ing of any future, in fact. Recent­ly I found myself in a work­shop aimed at mak­ing plans for an event in 2015 and I was total­ly lost. Hav­ing learnt this about myself the next ques­tion is how to act — I don’t wan’t to “play dead” as Bruce Ster­ling would say — so what’s the alter­na­tive?

Since it is at the core of my busi­ness I am think­ing a lot about domains where games could go next. I am think­ing a lot about cit­i­zen engage­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to pub­lic pol­i­cy, but I am most­ly stumped about mak­ing inroads into that area local­ly.

There you have it.

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.

3 thoughts on “5 things I’m thinking about”

  1. Have a great hol­i­day, Kars. You might enjoy this article/chapter about Scannners & Divers (http://www.getmotivation.com/articlelib/articles/barbarasherscanner.html), con­nect­ed to your third point.

    I’m also going to hunt for some pos­i­tive, cred­i­ble thoughts about The Pos­si­ble Future for you. Sur­prised that you’re hav­ing such a hard time with this, it’s not how you strike me at all. Puz­zled! Maybe it will be bet­ter after some time away from those dang inter­nets! :-)

  2. I think the “refus­ing to choose” part is high­ly relat­ed to peo­ple with a design atti­tude.

    I’ve described it once as: “A design atti­tude does not focus sole­ly on mak­ing choic­es, but on the devel­op­ment of oppor­tu­ni­ties which can lead to choic­es.”

    Our edu­ca­tion sys­tem is about teach­ing us on how to make choic­es, they make it look like a hard and labo­ri­ous task. While you can also apply the strat­e­gy in which you strive to cre­ate many options in which the right one “nat­u­ral­ly” appears to you.

  3. Mar­ri­je, thanks for the link to the arti­cle. Looks like just what the doc­tor ordered. And I am open to pos­i­tive view on the future but I guess I wouldn’t describe myself as an opti­mist.

    Marc, that’s an inter­est­ing view, nev­er looked at it that way.

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