DSB o9: Narrative & Environment / by Kiersten Nash

01 Nine weeks ago, I introduced myself as a designer and forewarned: Viewer discretion is advised. This was a provocative ploy to elicit your attention—your awareness, your PERCEPTION. Why? 02 Because as designers, as environmentalists, as citizens, it's imperative for us to identify, confront, and challenge 03 the political, economic, ecological, and social infrastructures shaping our everyday practices. 04 We are all storytellers. Stories define us. 05 They are inscribed in our landscape. Some are natural, such as what we eat some are such as where we stand or don't. 06 Some interior, some exterior. 07 Public, private. Visible, Invisible. 08 They're embedded in our psyche. Some are explicit, some implicit. 09 Yet, although we are all storytellers the majority of us are unaware of the stories we tell ourselves. We are distracted by the spectacle "in politics, we find presidents and prime ministers being elected because of the media image they represent."  Too consumed: "[at the] economic level, it is a well documented fact that our consumerist society...can sustain material production only by means of the 'hidden persuaders' of new brand images and ever more elaborate advertising campaigns." Too "even at the everyday social level, we notice the image taking pride of place over the real." 10 In short, we have to come to our senses. Our other senses that is. How? By attuning our perceptual capacities we can [dis]orient ourselves within our everyday. This is not an action that solves the problem but that engages one’s self as the problem. [fry: 2012, 46] To [un]learn. To take responsibility for one’s actions is here transformed into making every enfranchised subject the environmental manager of their self. [fry: 2012, 45-46] So that we might make sense. Literally. Which brings us to our initial question: How might we unveil the structure, operations and context of these primarily invisible infrastructures to engage the human and non-human agents in a dynamic dialectic toward sustainability?