BRACKET

AUTHORS: NERAJ BHATIA, MASON WHITE

As a new generation makes their voices heard, they are also grappling to find effective platforms for action through design.

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CALL TO ACTION

MASON WHITE and NEERAJ BHATIA

Hannah Arendt’s 1958 treatise The Human Condition cites “action” as one of the three tenants, along with labor and work, of the vita active (active life). Action, she writes, is a necessary catalyst for “the human condition of plurality,” which is an expression of both the common public and distinct individuals. This reading of action requires unique and free individuals to act toward a collective project and is therefore simultaneously bottom-up and top-down. In the almost sixty years since Arendt’s claims, the public realm in which action materializes—what Arendt refers to as “the space of appearance”—and the means by which action is expressed, has dramatically transformed. Spatial practice’s role in anticipating, planning, resisting, deflecting, or absorbing action has been broadly challenged by shifts in notions of ownership, social practices, forms of communication, and roles of government. How and where to act today is increasingly uncertain, as it requires different techniques and arrangements that reflect the distinct spatial tendencies of particular factions and their associated values. This is to say, we appear in a multitude of ways today—spatially and non-spatially—and therefore the forms that our actions take also need to be re-examined.

The rise of several divisive leaders within contemporary politics, has once again brought action to the foreground. As a new generation assembles to have their voices heard, they are grappling to find effective platforms for action. For instance, the political paralysis many feel in the United States is part of a longer trend that Noam Chomsky has referred to as the “democratic deficit.”Chomsky’s deficit manifests when an open society no longer feels that they have the ability to change the systems around them. The feeling of helplessness—the opposite of action—poses a direct threat to participatory politics. Therefore, action is a key indicator on the health and durability of democracy. (…)

 

 

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“Action is a necessary catalyst for “the human condition of plurality,” which is an expression of both the common public and distinct individuals.”

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The intent of the fourth almanac of Bracket is to unpack the issue of action in design. The projects and texts herein oscillate between historic examinations and speculative worlds. For Bracket [Takes Action], we have invited Pier Vittorio Aureli, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Adam Greenfield, Belinda Tato, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto as editorial board members to help frame the possibilities for action today. The scope of projects and texts selected by the editorial board elucidate the expanded role of design to take more agencyover systems—political, economic, and ecological among them—to better reflect the contemporary condition of the space(s) of appearance(s). Our contention here is that a democracy in deficit cannot be repaired without a deeper investigation in how today’s actions can be designed, accommodated for, and encouraged. Equally, this is a call to action—it is time for design to take action and greater accountability for its actions in contemporary socio-political spheres. Bracket 4 [Takes Action] provokes spatial practice’s potential to incite and respond to action today.

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Selected Works

Colors of RhetoricMaría Fullaondo

Koolhass For PradaProject type

BRACKETNeeraj Baathia, Mason White

Be SeatedJohn Lin, Sony Devabhaktuni

Colors of RhetoricMaria Fullaondo

Social UrbanismProject type

GRID 5Project type

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Tel: +(65) 9068-1860
Tel: +(86) 755-84556863

CONTACT US
USA - San Francisco Bay Area
Tel: +1(415) 883-3300
Asia - Singapore & China
Tel: +(65) 9068-1860
Tel: +(86) 755-84556863

CONTACT US
USA - San Francisco Bay Area
Tel: +1(415) 883-3300
USA - New York
Tel: +1(646) 322-2466
Asia - Singapore & China
Tel: +(65) 9068-1860
Tel: +(86) 755-84556863

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