Justin McGuirk is the chief curator at the Design Museum in London. In a diverse career as a writer, curator and educator, he has been the design critic of the Guardian, the director of Strelka Press, the editor of Icon and head of the Design Curating & Writing Masters programme at Design Academy Eindhoven. He is also the author or editor of several books, including Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture (2015).
Justin’s wide range of interests is reflected in a wide range of excellent pieces including on ‘wise’ vs ‘unwise’ technological futures, smart forests, DIY urbanism and the role of museums in ‘a global age’.
My next book…is a cultural critique of the tool, so I used the Syllabus’s stacks to dig up papers on one aspect of that – resistance to technology – and I include a few here, mainly about the 1970s. But I also took the opportunity to look up other things I’m interested in, throwing in search terms like “forest as a network”, “urban commons” and “progressive museums”…Justin McGuirk
For Justin’s Twitter.
~ Evgeny Morozov
Every generation it seems revisits the Luddites in the light of a new technophobia – in this case an interesting theory from 1970s applied to today’s digital devices.
A broad overview of the pioneering thinking but also the limitations of the alternative technology movement in the 1970s.
This looks at the role of the appropriate technology movement (another term for the above) in the emergence of the environmental movement.
A report of a conversation between members of the Degrowth movement about what ‘wise’ versus ‘unwise’ technological futures might look like.
On the resistance by indigenous groups against turning natural commons into resources – or the battle for what the author calls the Anthropo-not-seen.
A study of how natural forms, plants and rivers etc, are political actors, and don’t forfeit their rights just because they cannot articulate them (just as young children don’t).
As the term “smart forests” suggests, forests are becoming sites of digital monitoring and data collection. Even if this is often in the name of addressing climate change, it raises questions about governance and democratic accountability.
Focusing at data centres in the pacific northwest, this paper looks at how the tech giants need water and forests to sustain our Netflix binges and data streaming lifestyles.
In the years after the last financial crisis Spanish cities developed a particular culture of urban commoning, creating new forms of public space such as Madrid’s Campo de Cebada – what’s the legacy of that phenomenon?
A detailed conversation about decolonising museum collections that predates the recent Black Lives Matter protests.
A curiosity, this, that connects the silence of the tea ceremony with a quality of reflective silence the author looks for in museums and memorials.
And finally, a series of lengthy blog posts in which my friend Dan Hill thinks through all of the potential for change latent in the Covid-19 lockdown.
More by Justin McGuirk – from our Stacks
Our archive of high-quality content across text, video and audio – our “Living Syllabus” – has already reached over 25,000 items and grows larger every week.
Here are some recent pieces by or featuring Justin from those archives:
- Space Unleashed (journalism)
- The shape of things to come: design in a post-lockdown world (journalism)
- The Moving to Mars exhibition (journalism)
- The Unrepeatable Architectural Moment of Yugoslavia’s “Concrete Utopia” (journalism)
- Can Cities Make Us Better Citizens? (journalism)
We’ve featured many fantastic individuals in this series: artists, musicians, academics, writers, journalists, politicians, and more. For the full list and to browse their selections.
A handful of our contributors so far:
- Brian Eno – Musician, Record Producer, Visual Artist
- Hito Steyerl – Artist, Filmmaker, Writer
- Adam Tooze – Professor of History at Columbia University
- Shehla Rashid – Activist & Academic
- Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst – Musicians, Artists, Technologists
- Raquel Rolnik – Architect & Urban Planner
- Kaiser Kuo – Writer, Musician, Podcaster
- Li Andersson – Finland’s Minister of Education and the Chairperson of the Left Alliance party
- Ivan Krastev – Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna
- Fabrizio Barca – Italian Politician, founder of Forum on Inequality and Diversity
More About our Cyberflâneur Series
To learn more about how this particularly eclectic edition of our syllabi works. Note that if you subscribe to any of our weekly syllabi, we’ll keep you posted on our latest cyberflâneurs too. Our subscribers also get a monthly Highlights From the Cyberflâneur edition.
If you’d like to propose a candidate for this series, please use this simple form.