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Kevin Murray – Curator and Writer

What we make of our world

How to Make a Promise

Posted on | December 29, 2015 | No Comments

James Hansen, the man considered to be the father of climate change awareness, told The Guardian that the agreement was “bullshit” and just “worthless words. There is no action, just promises”
(James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a fraud’, Guardian 12/12/15)

If all we are left with is “promises”, how can we make them so that they will be kept?

Though promises that help increase trust are usually made of words, the phrases ‘to make a promise’ and ‘to build trust’ allude to a process of material construction. Verbal promises leave no trace, unless they are formalised as legal documents such as contracts. The increasingly temporary nature of contemporary life works against long-term social bonds.

Trust is at the core of what sustains a community, but it is particularly fraught as cities grow and become more diverse. The issue of Islamophobia reflects on the sense that a recent community in many Western countries cannot be trusted to behave appropriately.

The basic motive driving this project is to find a way of being useful in the world. While art clearly holds up an important mirror to reality, the challenge of design is to find ways of changing that world.

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