Now, one year has passed since I moved to live permanently in Maputo. Many things have happened in that year. There have been revelations beyond any of my expectations, ups and downs. For one thing, it is the fifth country I live in with the fifth language and it has been lots of work really to learn Portugese. Now I enjoy converstations in the language, of course I am not capable of the fluent philosophical rhetoric that is so common in academic debates but I get by and have given lectures in Portugese and participate in debates. Actually my first teaching ever took place in the early Eightiees in Italian and at the time it was lots of work to prepare them. My sketch-book from the time is full of hints and basic words. But interestingly, the academic language is quite international, usually based on Latin terms that point similar terms to concepts and ideas. But the pronouciation is very different. My feeling is that Portugese culture (and the academic culture here is quite Portugese) uses language similar to how the French coduct their dialogue. My hunch is that the Italian dialogue is more crisp. But this is just my hunch with no research other than living it.

I came here to Maputo with great expectations, both personally and in terms of what I could manage get done. I had been here for a visit before and been in dialogue with the people in the visual art school ENAV. But, before I came, I had prepared me for the fact that not all would become the success I would like. I wanted to make sure that I should always remember to be thankful for whatever would come out of this personal and cultural experiment. My first premise was and still is that there are in a sense too many designers in Europe and too few here. The consequence was then for me that I should go here, where there are very (repeat very) few designers. To help set up the design higher education here is therefore worth it I hope.

I want to admit here that things have happened that I did not expect at all and quite a lot of my energy has gone into adjusting to the totally different cultural and personal platform than I expected. But at the same time it is certain now that so many great and positive things have come to place and there is such great future for the activities that I hve wanted to participate in. I am not going to go into accounting here about what has come to place, but to be allowed to participate in the establishment of a new school of art and design makes me really thankful. The last (and first) semester in ISAC was a joy every week with great students and projects producing really fun discussions and results.

I feel that the decision that has now come into being that the Norwegian Government is going to support a project that has as it main aim to transfer knowledge between these two very different cultures and commercial and industrial conditions is fantastic. I am also convinced that this project would not have come about if I had not moved here and used my personal time to develop it. I of course hope that other governments in our Northern region join our program with some activity, sending teachers, students and inviting members of ISAC to their institutes to participate in design development. It is a fact that the Nordic Region is quite a powerhouse in design and some of that experince can be disseminated to this African-Australis region.

I am going to enjoy the next year very differently than the past one and really am eager to make tangible activities take place. I am looking forward to the time when more designers, friends, students and fellow teachers at home start coming south to participate with us. There are very interesting conditions here, incredible energy and belief in a future. Of course it stimulates progress, some of which I am not so keen on. Having seen what that kind of progress has done to my society in the north. But by participating I like to highlight some of the negative things that have come from the progress that I have lived at home in my life since the Fifties.

March 6, 2010  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: PONDERINGS