Designing a New Culture

It is no mistake that I chose the phrase “Designing a New Culture” for my slogan. I believe that interactive design form is changing not only how we communicate, but how we think.  Ultimately design changes society at a very deep level. I think that designers need to step up to the challenge and take on the responsibility that this change represents.

One of art’s effects is that it can initiate change in the viewer. Design reaches this capability in the reach of the media and the attention of the viewer. Both art and design have the capacity of being the purveyors of conscious, rather than unconscious change.

As interactive designers and artists we are at the forefront of changing how people think. This goes beyond a user interface, far, far into basic principles. When we design games that teach children to kill, or games that teach them how to create, we affect the thinking of an entire generation. While the killing games gather huge amounts of profit for a few at the top of the profit-driven feed-chain, perhaps we should make the connection between the killing sprees at schools, and those games. At what point do we finally realize that we have been duped and exploited?

I like to think that we can all make small decisions everyday to affect society. We shouldn’t rely on our leaders to initiate change from the top down. That doesn’t work, whether it’s trickle-down economics or social change. Here are some small decisions we can make as consumers and creators:

1. You are a parent. You are buying a game for your child. Will it be the shoot-em-up game or Sim City? Better yet, let them play with boxes or make something from scratch.

2. You are a designer. You can make more money making shoot-em-up games or you can make less money designing for a childrens’ book publisher.

3. You are a consumer. You can buy a product that pollutes the environment, one that uses “slave labor” in other countries, destroys the environment or you can vote for better products with your money. If you cannot afford to buy new, buy used.

These are decisions we make every day. Sometimes it seems like we don’t have a choice when money is tight. But I cannot find it in my heart to help those who exploit others or those who make a profit at the suffering of others.

It is not popular these days to hold to an ethic that is not attached to a church or religion, but how about a form of ethics that emphasizes good sense and a sense of global responsibility? I call this “Natural Ethics,” ethics that naturally develop within a healthy community. It takes only a little education to find out what causes suffering or destruction, sometimes it only takes a little intuition or thought to see what may be really going on.

The end result will be that we all have to take a bit of a “cut” in our living standards. So what if you don’t have the most recent cell phone? When did Americans get so spoiled? Why does our comfortable lifestyle have to cost other people (and the environment) so much?

Finally, there will be a better life, one that doesn’t have to be accompanied by so much guilt or cost in suffering. Neighborhoods will replace gated communities, obesity will disappear as we bike and walk more, TV will lose its appeal as a companion, and we will find out what our ancestors found valuable about life: love, companionship, intelligent conversation, and laughter.

Copyright 2009 Aliyah Marr
All Rights Reserved.

Aliyah Marr is a Life Path Consultant and Creative Projects Advisor available for private consultations, seminars, and business development.

“What do you want to create today?”

I coach artists, designers, authors, and entrepreneurs. With a solid background in marketing, design, coaching and writing, I help individuals throughout the entire creative process all the way from developing their personal vision to establishing their personal brand and marketing their product/service.

If you have a creative project that you want to develop, market, or promote, contact me via email. References are available upon request.

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