Open Work for the Next Millennium

What could be the principles for the new paradigm in communication design in the 21st century?

Six Memos for the Next Millennium

[lectures by Italo Calvino for the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard, 1985-86, published in 1988]

«a concise inventory of contemporary qualities and values which he proposed ought to be carried over the threshold of 2000 (…) These lectures directly referred to literature (…) The qualities are however, easily transferable across disciplines, and – significantly – the very gesture of transference to the context of this document is true to “design thinking”

LIGHTNESS, describing the necessity of the facility to “change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification”.

[think design and create new knowledge in design from a different perspective]

QUICKNESS, summarizes economy of expression, agility, mobility and ease.

[new way(s) of rethinking design should be easily and effectively applied to the cultural production that comes from this process]

EXACTITUDE (…) revealing itself as a loss of cognition and immediacy, an automatism that tends to level out all expression into the most generic, anonymous and abstract formulas, to dilute meanings, to blunt the edge of expressiveness…

[find tools to study concepts and ideas to extract new exact and precise meanings]

VISIBILITY, in which the author tackles the slippery nature of imagination: particularly, the difference between image and word as the primary source of imagination, and whether it might be considered an “instrument of knowledge” (…)  – “the imagination as a repertory of what is potential, what is hypothetical…the power of bringing visions into focus with our eyes shut, of bringing both forms and colors from the lines of black letters of a white page, and in fact thinking in terms of images.”

[create hypothetical scenarios and cultural new forms and meanings as an “instrument of knowledge”]

MULTIPLICITY refers to “the idea of an open encyclopedia, an adjective that certainly contradicts the noun encyclopedia, which etymologically implies an attempt to exhaust knowledge of the world by enclosing it in a circle, but today we can no longer think in terms of a totality that is not potential, conjectural, and manifold.”

[understand the discipline outside its own boundaries and broad the specific knowledge to other territories]

CONSISTENCY was unrealized at the time of  Calvino’s death.»

[apply this method consistently to create a methodology for communication design today]

BAILEY, Stuart, Towards a Critical Faculty, Parsons School of Design, New York, 2006/7



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