Designer: W—E studio
Author:Julia Watson
Publisher:Taschen
Date:January 2019
Dimensions:9.6 x 6.7 x 1.2 in.
Format:Hardcover
Pages:420
ISBN:9783836578189

Julia Watson: Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism

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In an era of high-tech and climate extremes, we are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. Enter Lo—TEK, a design movement rebuilding indigenous philosophy and vernacular architecture to generate sustainable, resilient infrastructure. Traveling from Peru to the Philippines, Tanzania to Iran, this book explores millennia-old human... Three hundred years ago, intellectuals of the European Enlightenment constructed a mythology of technology. Influenced by a confluence of humanism, colonialism, and racism, this mythology ignored local wisdom and indigenous innovation, deeming it primitive. Today, we have slowly come to realize that the legacy of this mythology is haunting us.

Designers understand the urgency of reducing humanity's negative environmental impact, yet perpetuate the same mythology of technology that relies on exploiting nature. Responding to climate change by building hard infrastructures and favoring high-tech homogenous design, we are ignoring millennia old knowledge of how to live in symbiosis with nature. Without implementing soft systems that use biodiversity as a building block, designs remains inherently unsustainable. Lo—TEK, derived from Traditional Ecological Knowledge, is a cumulative body of multigenerational knowledge, practices, and beliefs, countering the idea that indigenous innovation is primitive and exists isolated from technology. It is sophisticated and designed to sustainably work with complex ecosystems.

With a foreword by renowned anthropologist Wade Davis and four chapters spanning Mountains, Forests, Deserts, and Wetlands, this book explores thousands of years of human wisdom and ingenuity from places like Peru, the Philippines, Tanzania, Kenya, Iran, Iraq, India, and Indonesia. We rediscover an ancient mythology in a contemporary context, radicalizing the spirit of human nature.

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