What is not often said about the Noble Eightfold Path is that elements, like seeds in a garden, should be planted together. There is no vision without word, no effort without mindfulness, no concentration without subsistence. The Path, therefore, first of all requires a discipline or, translating it straight away into our interpretative intentions, a practice. A path is primarily an invitation to walk it, it beckons you like any respectable design object does, through what has been defined by the psychologist J. J. Gibson as “an affordance” – an aspect of the world that “says” what it should be used for. A chair says to sit down, a handle says “use me”, a path says to change direction.
Eight practices, therefore, that are distinctive of the objects that are part of the project and invite us to change our everyday posture: not only more responsibly, overused word, but more actively. JoeVelluto Studio commits to a very difficult task: setting a model principle that, even before being applied to the design practice – that has marked the history of the studio – should guide us in our day-by-day journey as human beings. What do inner language or the ability to clear the mind or the correct commitment have to do with the twenty years of made and self-made objects displayed with this project? Design, restored to its original meaning, is the ability to crystallize an entire vision of the world into a single element. Design, Wittgenstein allegedly said, is a gesture. It is in this gesture that, behind what we simply recognize as “a product” (awful and overused term in the design disciplines), there actually are all the eight formalities of the path of Noble Truths, meaning the tendency to perfection. Can perfection be achieved? It is totally irrelevant, both in Buddhism and in design: what really matters is the ability and the will to approach this perfection, to strive towards it by questioning, every day, every road that takes us away from the extraordinary task of the collective and individual moral effort, not only mental, but also physical, which leads to the true and shared well-being that we call, somewhat romantically, liberation.
Eight steps, eight videos developed in partnership with Fabrica, which act as a translation of concepts and objects into events and other purely metaphysical issues: the world is not only everything that happens, but also the representations and alternative possibilities to this happening. Whenever we see an object, “a piece” of design, rather than asking why this or that are made that way, we must wonder why they are not made another way or how they could have been otherwise. An object, just like a part of the Noble Path, is mainly a way of being: a linear sequence of progressive improvement through increasingly refined spiritual phases. Don’t dare mistake the means for the objective though! The means for walking the path have no value per se; and so here it is, a little hidden, the deeper meaning of this exhibition – objects, like humans, are transient. A Buddhist approach to design is not only more sustainable, but more ironic: everything, absolutely everything, will sooner or later disappear. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to lighten our weight to a minimum in the world where we act as humans and obviously as designers.
Leonardo Caffo.October 29th, 2020.
Leonardo Caffo.October 29th, 2020.
A profound reflection in the form of flashbacks from the future on the human being of today, starting from a more blurred vision of today’s world to arrive at an ever clearer truth that is revealed through the change and evolution of man himself in his awareness, relying on creativity as a dynamic circular model, in tune with the “natural and variable rhythms which we are part of”. Fabrica (Jacopo Brunello, Mei Ling Girault, William Grotto, Guilherme Vieira), 2021. With Gianmarco Busetto. Direction: Guilherme Vieira. Text: JVLT.
Leonardo Caffo.Philosopher, curator and lecturer. January 20th, 2021.