To the students at Orléans School of Art and Design

20. The age when we build our future. While each daily news draws a little nearer to the best science fiction novels, we image new opportunities to act. Tomorrow, driverless cars will fly, Westerners will eat insects or synthetic meat, the first convoys of settlers will colonize the moon or Mars…At the same time, today, our minds are full of thoughts on global warming; political, social and cultural crises; mortel viruses; Big Brother Big Data; robots and artificial intelligence; and soon 10 billion consumers of oxygen, water, food and energy… There are also words in circulation: anthropecene, terrorism, war… As if there was a matter of urgency to put the world to rights.

As a response, Orléans School of Art and Design asserts itself as an art and design mill steeped in ecological, political, digital and technological issues. It is this place where, to change the world, we learn not only to observe and understand, but also to co-create, with others and machines thanks to which objects, images and texts are made today. 

“Changing the world”, is first having all the keys to grasping what strikes us, i.e. the world today penetrated by technological, digital, political and ecological issues. It is at this price that you will be able to determine yourselves and create with clarity.

“Changing the world” is the expression of a critical look, as an ability to act and judge well. Learning to judge fairly what is being done, being said, not only in art and design, but also in all the other human activities, by equipping yourselves with solid, rigorous and exacting methods.  

“Changing the world” is being concerned. Orleans School of Art and Design is the place where design is made with a concern for ecology, and which attaches importance to the future life of humans in their natural and technical environment…

Design with a concern for the governance which is appearing in our communal life, public spaces and common goods as well as the organisational models and human rights which, today are shaken by the Internet, massive databases, artificial intelligence, blockchain…

Design with a concern for archives which query archiving (or the digitilization) of the world with technical media (today digital), and which, since the 19th century, have shaped culture by recording, storing and managing the data of the whole of human existence; faces, bodies, words and sounds, deeds and actions, and social life.

Design with a concern for invention which seeks to educe how human dreams come to transform our environment, which means tackling the study of the future and science fiction (literature, films, video games)…

“Changing the world” is subsequently orienting our look towards the history of art and design, towards what is known and famous, but also obsolete and forgotten. “Changing the world” is redoing what has already been done, but differently with confidence. It is also asking what should remain and what should be forgotten. “Changing the world” is also putting aside an excessive vision centred on the West, manhood, the universal, even human beings themselves who wish to be the master and owner of nature and their own machines.

“Changing the world” requires descending into the hidden layers of our past and present determinations, to better understand our own discourse and writing machines. From then on, alternative stories surface. Here, the eye is archeological. “Changing the world” is, finally, ensuring the world to come is better than the former. It is resisting the idea that everything in the world is already set✨, it is then glimpsing what, according to Buckminster Fuller, the “Spaceship Earth” will become. There is but one goal, and this goal is the future, even when we think there isn’t one. “Changing the world” is neither divination nor forecasting;  it is, as a designer, formulating scenarios, inventing shapes – i.e. objects, scenes, images, texts; it is knowing how to draw the forthcoming spatialities and temporalities. The eye becomes futurographic.

We pride ourselves in you and your projects; Students at ’Orléans School of Arts and Design, informed, cultivated, polymath, acquainted with research, capable of working collectively and in collaboration, and constantly interacting with your surroundings. 

Emmanuel Guez, executive director, October 2019.