The Unofficial Archive

Learn to Unlearn by Lina-Marie Köppen

Learn to Unlearn

Photo by Femke Rijerman

How did we become who we are today? Wondering about evolution you start to wonder why things evolve the way they do. How we became us, and I became me. When we are born the first thing we do is learn. We learn from others who have learned before us and we become part of a construct of knowledge that has developed throughout evolution. The new medial worlds have widened our sphere. We have the opportunity to be an active part of our own identity, to let fiction become reality, to stimulate our own evolution which eventually be¬comes our identity. But what is the relationship between the way we create ourselves and the things that we create around us? Before we became who we are today, we would extract function from what things were, rather then what they were supposed to be. We simply didn’t know what we know today. We would repeat what older people showed us and our children would repeat what we showed them. Creating never meant anything less then educating. Everything manifests somehow through a tool that educates. Education isn’t bordered by institutions like schools or families, but more like a thin layer surrounding every little thing that exists. Man shapes its environment and the environment reconfigures man. In the exchange, we create our identity. The way we interact with our environment is based on social char¬acteristics defined through time, participation and reputation. The ultimate goal of all the tools and appliances we have shaped is to extend natural human life to become stronger then before. The continuing update of man reaches out to a superman ideal. This ambition becomes our guiding ideology, resulting in automatic behavior, automatic identity, a bigger distance between you and yourself. The question arises: How can design be human, when we design to become someone other than human? The relationship between production /consumption and being, is a schizophrenic relationship. We have been built to avoid failure. We are constantly solving our conflict with nature. Man tries to become superman. In the end, we simply know too much and we need to unlearn in order to get to know ourselves. Learn to learn is the belief in limitation as an endorsement of personal identity.

Lina-Marie Köppen