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Monday, October 24, 2005

Massive Change (10 months late!)

I wrote this up in January, but needed to upload a picture for it... which I didn't do until this past week. Better late than never, though.

Some friends and I went to the Massive Change exhibit at the Vancouver Art Museum. What is Massive Change? On the website, it says:

Design has emerged as one of the world's most powerful forces. It has placed us at the beginning of a new, unprecedented period of human possibility, where all economies and ecologies are becoming global, relational, and interconnected.

In order to understand and harness these emerging forces, there is an urgent need to articulate precisely what we are doing to ourselves and to our world. This is the ambition of Massive Change.

I believe that this project was started just as a book, but has since spawned the website linked above, and the art exhibit that I attended.

One of the neatest rooms of the exhibit attempted to quantify disparity of numbers concerning wealth and politics. Sections of wall were painted with numbers of different things, and balloons representing general orders of magnitude filled the 2 story room.

However, the most jarring image here (and in the entire exhibit, for that matter) was unintentional. A museum employee was teaching kids how to use a Segway. They probably chose the location because it was the biggest room of the exhibit. But he chose to spend most of his time beneath enormous letters that read "We Must Eradicate Poverty" ....

Now I know that technology is being developed to help eradicate poverty. But those things are more in the form of reliable, cheap energy sources, water purifiers, medications, etc etc. A Segway? How is a machine that enables someone to avoid expending effort to walk (cheapest mode of transport!) and costs several thousand dollars going to eradicate poverty?

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