the problem | the motivation | the possible outcome
People in many developing countries around the world have forgotten the worth of their own cultural systems. Due to rapid urbanisation and imitation of many western systems, these underdeveloped and developing countries face not only the threat of an ecological destruction but also the cost of losing their sustainable knowledge, traditions and objects that made them unique. Knowledge that the world could benefit from immensely.
Much thanks to the technological advancement we see the world moving toward a ‘oneness in thought’ and a ‘sense of brotherhood’ prevailing in this ever connected planet. This connection and spread of information is a great shift from isolated times that were devoid of even the most basic needs and human rights. Now we are aware the problems of our world, everyone has an opinion on it and some people do something about it. It is a great shift, but it has come with certain consequences that have gone unnoticed. And there lies the problem because people are unable to see the worth of what all is being lost with this rampant need to develop.
From a personal stand point I can see my own country making these mistakes and it has made me anxious as a designer. I want to scream out and say ‘hey don’t go that way, its wrong’, but since the world has not yet invented a microphone that can be heard by a billion people at once, I will attempt to make some noise through my thesis.
With diversity comes culture, with culture comes knowledge and a knowledge that is exclusive to a place or ecosystem that survived in harmony since generations. India is nothing without its diversity. The beauty of this country is that we unify under diversity, diversity in thought, gender, race, religion, language, geographical terrains and cuisines. This country holds so much knowledge due to that diversity that it is crucial to protect it from fading.
With villages transforming into towns, towns into cities and cities into metropolitans, we are developing but with loopholes. Education, health care, sanitation, law and order are reaching from a top to bottom economic and social chain but a lot of information is not coming back up that chain. That information contains, ideas, traditions, rituals, objects, systems and people who have lived with the environment in harmony from the beginning of their time. It holds the answers to most of our world problems today and instead prioritising them we choose to tempt these beautiful olden systems with a lifestyle of materialism and disconnection with nature that eventually leads to their demise.
The other problem in this very problem is that some of these ‘developed countries’ have been able to see the worth in learning and sustaining olden knowledge. They have already started to revive this knowledge and implement its learning into their growing economic systems. These countries and growing systems have made way for a new kind of growth and development that values sustenance and health in place of extraction and decay.
Fortunately these teachings, practices and learnings have been a strong part our of culture since its inception. Sadly, they under threat and we are doing nothing in our power to protect them. And it will be most unfortunate to see this knowledge patented by somebody in the west and sold to us as a commodity at a much greater price in the near future. Everything we had but never did anything to sustain.
People have forgotten what is essential because too many reasons. The city life offers a total disconnect with nature and the environment. The more disconnected we are the more unaffected we are of our consequences. Then also people are constantly being brainwashed by corporations and governments through their advertisements and marketing. Everyone chasing lifestyle no one really living in the moment. I am not claiming that people are stupid and everyone is in the rat race, I just believe they some of us are too busy to see the wrong agendas at play in our lives.
Though my project, I hope to make some of those people see things differently. Mostly, I want to remind most people of my country about the forgotten stories of the Indian sustainable culture. I want empower people though their own memories of our cultural heritage, practices, traditions, objects, rituals and events. I want people to re-associate to this knowledge these elements of our culture that are sustainable and have safeguarded our ecosystems by living in harmony with it.
The problem is highly complex because it interlinked with many other related systems and to attempt to solve it will cause some fiction in other systems. But change doesn’t occur when we work in isolation. The future is all about collaboration and mixing with all realms of people. Hence, I too shall need the help of my friends, family and other unacquainted people to create a recipe to remember and revive the memories of our past and re-introduce them into our future.
A database of memories | Love letters to the past
Ingredients: Stories & Memories, Sustainable thinking, Ecological literacy, A card game
- Collect the stories and memories from people, bring them to the table, sort and bring order.
- Select those that have a nostalgic aroma and instils personal re-association.
- Re-look at these selected stories and search for sustainable parts.
- Continue examining them under the lens of sustainable ethics and find how they promote ecological literacy.
- Build a database of these insights online and serve as a story sprouts.
- As you see a sense of pride rise among the readers, turn the flame down and cover.
- The dish is ready but now make sure to serve it in a way that enhances its flavours.
- Sever it through a game that lets everyone enjoy the research.