People ask whatever happened to design guru John Thackara. For a while he ran the Dutch design museum and eventually had a run-in with the stolid burghers who ran his board. Now he is 'firstPerceptron of Doors of Perception'. Check it out at http: //flow. doorsof perception. com/ press. html. You might think that here be a noble mind o'erthrown and possibly moving in the direction of an Alasteir Crowley/Golden Dawn revival. But no.
Apart from agreeing to go public with the wacky title, he has been the guiding light of Doors of Perception, which recently ran a big conference in Amsterdam about the design challenge of pervasive computing. The online magazine at doorsofperception. com is a tad pretentious, covering as it does such highly specialised topics as telepistemology (sic) which is 'the study of knowledge acquired at a distance through technology', and quite a lot about Thackara, who 'shares his halfformed thoughts [thanks Philip Tabor] after chairing a meeting of minds that matter at the Design Council, London'. I think 'minds that matter'gives you the flavour.
Yet this monthly (or so) email newsletter contains much good material about what is happening and being thought about in other countries. This month's issue has links to the writing of the just-dead Ivan Illic; an appeal for funds plus reminder notes about design events around the world, from Stan Brakhage (yes, it seems, that legendary film maker from my hippy days) through Sonic Lights in Amsterdam; an Oxford conference about the next internet; the first International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam curated by Mecanoo's Francine Houben in May to early June; to Peter Greenaway's Tulse Luper Project transmitted earlier this month in Berlin.
There's the conference in Aspen, Colorado, and a whole lot more. But the good thing about Doors of Perception is that you are reminded that you are a member of a nutty, cool, brilliant, strange, worldwide design community.