(you) consume is the first event of the 2011/12 Key Ideas Symposium series at Camberwell College of Art and Design- University of the Arts London. The day aims to examine an array of perspectives on consumption, design and how they relate to each other. The event will also explore fresh notions of how design can be instrumental in proposing less conventional routes for more sustainable modes of consumption.
The event seeks to disentangle subverting concepts that may influence the role of the designer in a critical context by igniting an unorthodox questioning of the creative practices’ challenges and opportunities within consumer culture.
Consumption may be regarded as negative production.
Alfred Marshall, Economist
In very simple terms it is conventionally accepted that the economic success of organisations, markets and countries is based on scales of growth. As a short term solution this may seem okay, but isn’t it an unsustainable approach to growth and consumption that is leading us to a major global concerns? Can we really expect to spend our way out of crises and somehow magically create a post-crisis economy that is sustainable?
If the current western financial crisis was partly caused by the belief that organisations and economies must grow through the stimulation of over-consumption of things we can’t afford through easy credit, the environmental crisis is being caused by the over-consumption natural resources and the health crisis is being caused by the over-consumption of foods we shouldn’t eat, (more calories than we can use, for example), then it probably indicates a bit of a problem with endless consumption.
Key Ideas (you) consume will begin with Dr Sansi-Roca examining notions on "the pleasure of expenditure", after Mauss's The Gift, and the influence he had on Bataille and Situationism. In these terms, Dr Sansi-Roca will follow Bataille in confronting the economic paradigm of scarcity and question the very idea of "consumption" as something opposed to "production".
Dr Neil Maycroft will analyze design (defined in a number of ways) and how it contributes relatively little to the so-called ‘consumer design’. The promotion of design as central to consumerism has a rather undistinguished track record and that instead of being the central player in the development of consumer goods it is, in fact, constantly wrong-footed by the world around it.
Laurent Lebot and Victor Massip from Faltazi will discuss the combined effect of climate, energy, social, financial, food and health crises and how it pushes us to raise questions in greater depth than ever before about local resources. They will also share their Ekokook and Ekovores proposals for a local circular resilient system for supplying the home and city.
Guided by their talks, the morning will be followed by discussions and a practical workshop. The aim of the day is to create an intellectual platform for students, creative practitioners and thinkers to cultivate a long lasting discussion on the current design landscape, its responsibility and opportunities.The span of Key Ideas: (you) consume is intentionally comprehensive whilst also hosting the particular areas of competence of our panel of speakers with practical proposals. It brings together international practitioners and researchers with a focused practical workshop to discuss and examine the value and power of exploring the past and stimulating future directions for the design sector.