Turkey, end of 2010s… Besides the smell of coal and wood, there’s polylactic acid2 in the air; constantly working machines and workbenches have already started to fill the world with new and attractive objects which we have difficulty explaining3 .

One of the prominent philosophers of the era, Richard Sennett feels uncomfortable about this situation4 . According to him, industrial production destroys the prestige of craftsmen, practices of producing together and the artistic spirit in the nature of production5 .

Digital production machines dehumanize the worker and it blurs the boundaries between the maker, producer and operator (machinist?). Such a mechanization doesn’t draw people away from the nature. On the contrary, it makes them come face to face with nature and it even suppresses the latter; instead, it brings along an artificial nature with industrial forests that serve the machines and will turn into plywood as well as corn fields that will turn into 3D flags and bio-fuel.

We should turn this philosophical foundation into a theory of design. By reframing the manual labor and artistic background of the craftsmen, we should determine road maps for local designs6 . Our intention should not be to prevent humanity moving away from nature, but to prevent its disappearance; I stand corrected, to prevent nature from being a reservoir serving7 to solely machines8 , and to redefine the public welfare with an ascetic ambition and spiritual richness instead of individual satisfaction.

In a design environment where the purposes either become ambiguous or completely disappear -so as their purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be to make ‘things’-, technology may tend to a pure instrumentalism9 . In the hands/control of the designer, machines can turn into very talented actors who don’t know what to accomplish and things can even go out of control10.

Thus, even if we cannot see or predict the end, for the ‘making’ not to be a self-valued act that consumes by producing11 and lacks position, we should turn our faces to a specific/specified direction that the production possibilities of pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial can work together12.
1This text has been compiled from the text of call penned by Dilek Öztürk and Ömer Kanıpak for this issue.

2The most commonly used substance in 3d flags. It’s preferred due to being a biodegradable substance. It’s derived from plants such as corn which is rich in starch, sugar cane and wheat.
3I’m not making a sharp distinction such as industrial or post-industrial here. Manuel De Landa taught us that time is not linear (A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, 2013, Metis Publications, Istanbul). In different corners of the world, sometimes in the same country and city, we live multi-times simultaneously. Thus; all of the production practices before, during and after the industry –especially in, let’s say ‘multi-timed’, cities like Istanbul- exist altogether, sometimes intersecting, sometimes not even touching. I don’t think one is better or more ethical than the other.

4Sennett, R., 2008. The Craftsman, Ayrıntı Publications, Istanbul. Sennett, R., 2012. Together, Ayrıntı Publications, Istanbul
5With all my respect to him, I believe that the envision of the updated Medieval Age Europe he’s been dreaming of is nothing more than a pleasant wishful thinking.

6I don’t think that design divides into two as local and global. After repeatedly experiencing the impossibility of global design, maybe it’s better to be less persistent about this. With the most optimistic approach, global design might be little local design strategies that move place to place, talk to and learn from each other on globe.

7In terms of raw material and energy. 

8Saving the planet: According to American comedian George Carlin’s opinion (which is naturally caricatured for his show and I’d initially like to stress that I disagree with it), Saving the Planet is one of the arrogant moves humankind make to take nature under control. “Let them go gracefully, leave nature alone. Haven’t we done enough? We’re so self-important. Everybody’s gonna save something now. ‘Save the trees!’ ‘Save the bees!’ And the greatest arrogance of all ‘Save the planet.’ We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another. We’re gonna save the fuckin’ planet? The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great!” For the video: youtube.com/watch?v=7W33HRc1A6c

9The state that the act of making a “thing” surpasses why and how the “thing” is made.

10Individuals who are very tiny parts of a huge mechanism, get exhausted and dissolve in a work order that is disconnected from that mechanism. Although this argument rather had/has been expressed in the context of industrial revolution and modernity, I don’t think that the current situation we’re in differs a lot from this. Although that big mechanism is now apt to fuse and dissolve because of the separate production practices, this time the individual can be alone in her/his disconnected and operational work and production practices.

11The world is filled with billions of necessary and/or unnecessary objects and buildings. We don’t even have design trends to name anymore; and it should be discussed if it’s essential to have any. Workers in the factories are replaced by robots. As the production and consumption increase, public peace and personal satisfaction decrease.

12Without strategy and a responsible individual despite having a manifestation, will a movement whose direction and target come along spontaneously be able to revolutionize?