Rory Hyde, Future Practice. Conversations from the Edge of Architecture, Routledge, New York and London 2012, pp. 280
Amber Hickey (ed.), A Guidebook of Alternative Nows, The Journal of Aesthetic & Protest, Los Angeles 2012, pp. 266
What comes after "Occupy everything"? There is enough evidence around us to suggest that something must be revised in our model of exploiting the planet. We have been educated in a culture of work, effort and (individual) realisation, but now it seems that these "values" are not all we need. But what comes after a criticism of the system in which we are now entangled? How to transform our activity and find "a now in which exercises in rhetoric become exercises in action"?
A Guidebook of Alternative Nows by Amber Hickey presents a toolbox in paper format, a compilation of change-making techniques, a sketchbook for resistance or a songbook for the coming insurrection. Faced with pessimistic views of our future, she gives visibility to the tireless work of people who are building different nows, demonstrating that capitalist-driven forces have outrun the limits of their proposed path, and that they do not represent the only possibility of generating present lifestyles and smart equitable futures. There is also great appeal in the idea of an alternative world not overloaded by the production of better stuff (and better waste). The smart items illustrated by Conceptual Devices rely on the premise that they should be transformable or editable. Subverting the slogan of a sports clothing brand, their Just Undo It proposal offers creative ways to transform a hoodie by folding it into a laptop sleeve, a backpack or a pillow.
The future practices presented by Hyde may be the confirmation that the future is now