DATE: 1/14/2011 | BY LUKE P. BROWN
Two days after Alice Rawsthorn, design critic for the International Herald Tribune, proclaimed "Sustainism" an appropriate name for the burgeoning movement that is replacing Modernism (and Postmodernism), Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers, authors of the critically acclaimed Sustainism manifesto, were given a chance to make their case at The New York Public Library—current home, as Elffers pointed out, of the Gutenberg Bible, the first book ever printed.
During the evening's conversation, the audience learned that the authors are, in fact, childhood friends whose Dutch parents were die-hard Modernist designers. Schwarz situated the beginning of the talk in the summer of 1969: the year man first landed on the moon, and the year that was supposed to have begun a new era which included but was not limited to space travel. Despite the optimism of the time, Schwarz argues, it was not the shocking image of astronaut Neil Armstrong's first footprint on the moon that defined the era, but the photograph of planet earth as seen from the astronaut's incredibly distant perspective. And it was this image that marked the beginning of the Sustainist era.
For Elffers, the moment of realization that humanity had stepped out of the confines of Modernism came later—at the high temple of Modernism itself, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Joost Elffers and Michiel Schwarz
Sustainism is the New Modernism
Michele Oka Doner with Joost Elffers and Michiel Schwarz
Elffers and Schwarz signing copies of Sustainism for NYPL guests.
Elffers and Schwarz on stage.
Sustainism Is the New Modernism
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