Newsletter 012
Full moon 5:17pm Feb, 27th. JST
Laying on my Back Watching the Moon.

I’ve been enjoying warm days cycling and camping underneath the stars, the whole time watching the moon-clock come around, knowing that it’s about time I write my next full moon newsletter.

To be honest, I’ve been putting it off.

Hello, I’m James Gibson and this is my newsletter about do-nothing design, acceptance and degrees of change.

Laying on my Back Watching the Moon.

I’ve been putting off writing partly because I'm struggling with the topic of Responsible, Regenerative, or what I’ve started calling Do-Nothing Design. This idea has been growing in me for quite some time and with recent talk of regenerative farming, I’ve been wondering how might we apply this thinking to Design or more broadly living and working as a whole.

This first seeded in me after reading Bruno Munari's Design as Art some years ago. Munari discusses —among other things— the differences and relationships between ‘style & design’, ‘design & art’ and how a consumer society confuses them all. Putting words to my own frustration of being stuck in a myopic understanding of design and the role and purpose of designers.

Although I didn’t fully understand it then, it changed my course by a few degrees leading to who I am now.

More recently reading Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Masanobu Fukuoka’s  The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming, and Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World.

Within these books spanning from the time when we started recording and discussing the consequences of human actions to contemplating possible futures. We see how we humans attempt to solve problems by designing solutions which —lets be honest— often cause more problems. In this degenerative accumulation of problems needing solutions, I ask the question: should we continue re-designing more things or could we not find better solutions in re-designing ourselves instead?

Yes, idealistic, but surely as from my own experience and hopefully that of regenerative framing, a few degrees of change would help steer us in the right direction?

How to write —understand— this in a way that resonates with us all, myself included. Helping us move past access to information to understanding, acceptance and implementation. How do we know who is honourable or is just another egocentric snake oil salesman?

Because, let's be honest, snake oil looks good!

Indeed a conundrum. As most of the time we —again I include myself— are invested in personal biases to such an extent that inevitably we search for someone or something to perpetuate our own personal stories. Nothing more than permission justifying the behaviour we desired this whole time. A spiralling whirlpool we all fall into.

My question of late is how to write about do-nothing design and for lack of a better word: well-being, without becoming a snake oil salesman myself? Hence my days of procrastination and nights of laying on my back watching the moon fill up.

With patience I accept February for being February. As illustrated by the universe inwards and out, a natural coexistence of immense activity and inactivity. It is normal, no it’s perfect, that words are yet to come.

Giving myself space to ponder, I invite you to read a recent email —interview— conversation between myself and the artist Maebayashi Akitsugu. Where we talk about hiking in the Himalayas with Indian Gorkhas, the joy of making, and responsible creative practices.  

… and so it goes.


Nutrition Movement Community Purpose

Photographs series:
Safty Drive.
Shiga Prefecture, Japan 2021

This is an Arukari Newsletter sent out each full moon.