I am a Cultural Engineer. What, exactly does that mean?
Well, a Google search produces minimal results, one being that Dave Stewart, the other half of the Eurythmics, is a “cultural engineer.” That’s a good start. Additionally, I was able to find the following definition, if you will, that was quoted from a now non-existing website (http://culturalengineering.com , which is domain-parked… grrr.) :
“Cultural engineering is a conceptual approach to cultural development planning and management that takes into account the changing concepts of culture and the design of practical strategies for dealing with issues and problems raised by culture and development in diverse contexts…. In other words, cultural engineering is about systems, processes, alternatives and the formulation of creative solutions to challenges in the development of cultural institutions and the promotion of people’s participation in cultural life.”
This definition is almost close, but has already become extremely dated due to its generality. I believe, since this definition was invented, we have come much, much further in cultural engineering as a viable way of creating a new genre of cultural thought that has solid design and engineering principles as a basis of making seemingly complex ideas readily attainable. For one thing, we, as a global population, are connected now in ways the original definition never assumed. That is just the beginning.
I arrived at my own definition of cultural engineering after twenty years of experience in design and art had given me an ability to look at our society’s cultural and aesthetic objectives and apply real, working solutions to areas where these objectives could be improved or were flat-out not working.
Problems in economic viability, sustainability, technology and the overall aesthetic desirability of our modern culture now demand a comprehensive set of skills that combine and manage many diverse fields that make up a well-designed project. Call it synergy, mechatronics, cognitive or system engineering, interface design, or whatever; it all means the same thing: something works.
My background in engineering, design, and project management are key to my understanding of how to look at these problems in a way that takes the underlying complexity of a project and makes it look and feel good to the user.
Producing ideas that people want and need has gone way beyond manufacturing for the bottom line. To create a successful design and product launch or installation, many factors come into play and these are not always the most obvious and tangible processes. Deeper understanding of the consumer and cultural experience are key to making exceptional things.
I specialize in producing research, objective feedback, engineering data, construction documents, design presentations and proposals, recommendations, and the ability to get complex designs actually to the place where you can touch them.
I have lots of ideas. My personal directive – as a Cultural Engineer – is to make the environments that surround us, that we live in, look good and be smarter.
Best of all, I absolutely love the fact that I have a job title that begs the question, “What the hell is that?”
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- 03.09.09 / 8pm
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