Designing for Democracy in the American Counterculture (Tuesday, January 26, 2010)
Center for Advanced Study Lecture Series
Designing for Democracy in the American Counterculture
4:00 PM Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
Department of Communication, Stanford University
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, tens of thousands of young Americans abandoned the suburbs and the cities and headed back to the land. Most were hoping to build a new kind of communal democracy and to do it not through politics, but through the design of new technologies. This talk returns to that moment and to the work of two figures who helped inspire the New Communalists, architect Buckminster Fuller and Whole Earth Catalog founder Steward Brand. It explores how their deep faith in small scale technologies, peer collaboration, and interpersonal communication shaped the fate of the communes and it asks what lessons fate might offer for our own more digital time.