Medium Design is a book that disrupts some dominant cultural habits of mind—among these the search for singular evils and singular solutions. It surveys a world with a spectrum of evils—capitalism, fascism, racism, whiteness, xenophobia, religious intolerance, psychotic leadership and countless other ways of hoarding power or abusing the planet. And it suggests that singular solutions or right answers are weak positions in the face political superbugs—whether they are political strongmen like Trump, Putin, Kim, or Bolsonaro or the bullet proof powers that circulate in the free zone economies of the world. Medium design considers a repertoire for political activism and dissensus that is sufficiently broad to disorient and outwit these powers. It foregrounds underexploited spatial forms of direct action to fortify this repertoire. Physical, spatial exchanges constitute heavy information that is different from abstractions in the anointed legal, econometric, or digital languages—abstractions that can sometimes cause automatic harm.
Space is a mixing chamber for the languages of many disciplines—a medium, medius, middle, or milieu. Forms for registering this design imagination are forms directing interplay—form not only for making things but also for making the way things go together. On the flip side of a modern Enlightenment mind that looks for the one and only solution or the binary fight, beyond “knowing that” or knowing the right answer, the designer “knows how” or is able to respond to an unfolding interplay over time. The modern mind that would regard new technologies as redemptive and successive instead finds greater sophistication in the quality of the mixtures between emergent and incumbent technologies. A medium designer is aware of the temperament of organizations, the capacity for violence embedded in arrangement, as well as other undeclared dispositions that may run counter to stated positions. Also while problems are typically treated as something to be hidden, discarded, or redeemed with a solution, medium design considers the productivity of multiplying and combining them. Excerpts from the following chapter consider these productive mixtures of problems with particular attention to climate change.