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I’ve mentioned science fiction and design, which I like, and I’m going to speak today about what design might be for. I’m a fan of the world of products and I’m going to be speaking about later, because that’s what I find myself most excited about at the moment.

I also enjoy hiking. This picture is from a region of the American Southwest called the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. I’ll come back to that later I think.

I get a bit spiritual and hippy about hiking, although I don’t do it nearly enough. There’s something that happens about a day in, when you’ve had to walk through rivers so cold the marrow in your bones aches until you want to puke and your feet are getting blisters and you’ve turned a corner and seen a vision of the valley floor with mesas in the distance – which just takes you back and makes you breathless – and you’ve completely run out of conversation with the people you’re hiking with, and you’ve run out of thoughts to think.

And, you know, you just exist in this happy silent machine for walking which you call a body, which is how Honda car assembly robots must feel like the whole time.

And you know, it’s glorious. You’ve reached geographic and mental places you couldn’t reach any other way. You can’t helicopter in to see that waterfall. You can’t helicopter into this mental state. Hiking is a journey of discovery of internal and external terranes., and you find out who you are, behind all the chatter and the blisters and the everyday.

And I told you I got all spiritual and hippy about hiking.

So I want to speak today about design in that spirit. It’s fine to intellectualise design, and speak about it formally, but that’s not all design is.

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October 08, 2009

Escalante opened Web Directions South in Sydney, October 2009, and hikes through fanufacture, science fiction, social capital, cybernetics, and Neptune.

There is a podcast available.
Read from the beginning.