There is no single answer to the question of how people should live nor any silver bullet to solve current ecological problems — and yet, we must seek new ways to think and act in light of emerging environmental challenges. Given the power of design to influence consumer and societal values, its role must be questioned and renewed in relation to current problematics of mass-production and (over)consumption. SWITCH! Design and everyday energy ecologies is a book that expands current approaches and strategies within design discourse concerning sustainability and environmentalism.
Evading design genres of greenwashing and eco-horror, future utopias and dystopias, the authors attempt to raise more fundamental questions. They ask, for example, how does design mediate people’s access to nature and control over resources? What kinds of futures — or who’s — do we assume, desire and determine by design? How are environmental experiences, risks and values made visible in everyday life? These questions were explored in a series of collaborative and experimental design processes carried out since 2008 by an international team of designers, artists, architects, computer and social scientists at the Interactive Institute in Sweden. Collectively authored, the book is a highly visual and reflective presentation of the 6 resulting projects –‘Energy Futures’, ‘3Ecologies’, ‘Green Memes’, ‘Telltale’, 'Ab|Norm' and ‘Symbiots’ – which are also contextualized within contemporary themes in ecology, critical design and practice-based research.
The book is edited by Ramia Mazé, with contributors Martin Avila, Jenny Bergström, Loove Broms, John Carpenter, Brendon Clark, Karin Ehrnberger, Alberto Frigo, Aude Messager, Johan Redström, Thomas Thwaites, Anna Vallgårda, Basar Önal, maoworks (Tobi Schneidler, Tom Ballhatchet and Solon Sasson), Olivia Jeczmyk and Bildinstitutet. Published by the Interactive Institute, the book is designed by Martin Frostner and Lisa Olausson at Medium.