Victor Papanek 1971

There was a kind of cultural phase-shift triggered by the first photographs from NASA satellites and manned orbits showing the whole Earth floating in infinite space. Although Gherman Titov – the second Russian astronaut to view the Earth in this way – had taken a partial monochrome Earth from space in 1961, it wasn’t until the famous ‘blue marble’ shots taken from the NASA ATs-3 Satellite in 1967 that the coloured beauty and isolation of our planet became iconically obvious.


It was this image that inspired Stewart Brand to set up the Whole Earth Catalog in 1968, and triggered the foundation of the Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth environmentalist movements. The publication of this image also coincided with the beginning of the construction of a  large-scale simulation of the Earth and its resources commissioned by the Club of Rome, using Jay Forrester’s World Dynamics (system dynamics) model (published as ‘Limits to Growth‘ in 1971). Furthermore, Richard Buckminster Fuller’s World Game idea was published in 1971 (World Game Series Document One: The World Game: Integrative Resource Utilisation Planning Tool, 1971). These events framed the publication of Papanek’s Design for the Real World.


See Fred Turner: From Counterculture to Cyberculture 2006



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