I will introduce a cross-cultural, international project that started as a collaboration of six art & design schools in 2012 and is still ongoing: The Phaistos Project — Forty-five Symbols (www.45symbols.com).
The Phaistos Disc, which was discovered in 1908 and is thought to date to around 1700 BC, is a circular piece of fired clay stamped with forty-five distinct symbols. This code is still unresolved. It inspires the participants of The Phaistos Project — Forty-five Symbols to translate current concerns — political, economic, ecological, cultural, or social challenges — into collections of forty-five unique symbols. Design methodologies are used as a mode of inquiry to develop ethnographic visual narratives that are subjective, stimulating, and reflect a critical position.
We believe that studying a time capsule from the past has the power to spark new ways of thinking. Of course, materials and devices have evolved. Today, clay is code, interfaces are fluid (and not discs) and the access to knowledge is ubiquitous through mobile devices. However: Who’s knowledge is it? Who really has access? What are the questions that emerging designers have for humankind today and which narratives are worth being preserved for future generations?
Pascal Glissmann, Parsons The New School for Design