Thursday, April 16, 2009

Green Innovation in Tough Economic Times

Spring 2009 Design and Technology Salon: Seeing Beyond Now—Green Innovation in Tough Economic Times

Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 7:30pm
Studio 18
800 Chestnut Street campus
Free and open to the public

In the midst of a worldwide economic slump, everyone is concerned about jobs and livelihoods. It follows that people are less likely to be receptive to proposals about assuming further responsibility for global problems, solutions to which may be decades in the future. The more dismal and dogmatic the rhetoric of experts, the less inclined will people likely be to engage green alternatives with enthusiasm. Other factors working against the appeal of green technology are the return of inexpensive fossil fuel energy and the fact that planning for the long term requires—of strategic thinkers, academics, policy experts, scientists, and many others—at least a five-year outlook. Such factors are likely to mean that new investments in alternative and higher-cost energy sources—in fact, in any kind of new energy project—will seem less attractive and cost-effective. For better or for worse, we live life in the now.

The Spring 2009 Design and Technology Salon will consider what role artists, designers, and architects—often overlooked in the green-alternative debate—can play in furthering the possibilities of long-term ecological sustainability in a time of global economic crisis.

Panelists include David Baker, Amy Franceschini, and Jill Manton.

A practicing architect for nearly thirty years, David Baker founded San Francisco–based David Baker and Partners Architects, which has a history and driving philosophy of urban and green activism and is known for combining social concern with distinctive design. Over the course of his career, he has received numerous awards and, in 1996, was selected as fellow of the American Institute of Architects. From 1977 to 1982, he was a principal at Sol-Arc, a firm dedicated to energy-efficient architecture. Before becoming an architect, Baker was a union carpenter.

Amy Franceschini works with notions of community, sustainable environments, and a perceived conflict between humans and nature. She founded Futurefarmers in 1995 and Free Soil in 2004 as a way to bring together multidisciplinary practitioners to create new work. The design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, artist-in-residency programs, and research interests. Her solo and collaborative works have been included in such venues as Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe (Germany); the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA in New York City; and SFMOMA. Franceschini is the recipient of the Artadia Award, the Eureka Fellowship, the SFMOMA SECA Award, and a Creative Capital Grant.

Program director of the Public Art Program for the San Francisco Arts Commission since 1990, Jill Manton is involved in a number of environmentally conscious public-art projects for the California Academy of Sciences, the Public Utilities Commission, and the Port of San Francisco. She was the recipient of the Public Managerial Excellence Award in 1997 from the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee. With over twenty years in the public-art field, Manton serves as an elected member of the national council of the Public Art Network and serves on the Advisory Board for the Public Art Review.

For more information, please contact Paul Klein, chair of SFAI’s Design and Technology department, by e-mail at or by phone at 415 749 4589.

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