We met recently with Jack Derong to discuss the ‘A Green Dream’ project, and how communication designers are in the perfect position to use their skills to raise awareness of social issues and make a positive contribution to society.
Can you briefly introduce ‘A Green Dream’
Jack Derong: A Green Dream is a program to educate 7-16 years Chinese students on environmental awareness using art as a platform. We will bring together both local and international artists to the school where the artists and students interact to create a work of art. The art work will be exhibited across a few cities in China.
Why did you want to become involved?
JD: My education in Emily Carr University in Canada made me reexamine the role of a communication designer. A communication designer is widely accused of being the tool of the capitalists by promoting consumption and generating waste, I therefore challenge designers to rethink our role and how we can benefit society. With this project, I want to demonstrate to the design world that designers not only can help to address current social problems but also offer solutions to them.
The event will be launching towards the end of this year, what have you got planned for it?
JD: We are planning a launching ceremony in September. Soon after, artists will be shortlisted and assigned to the schools in Beijing and Shanghai. Their work process will be documented and posted on the web. To get more awareness and involvement from the general public, we will open online voting. The work will be open for exhibition in June.
What is the idea behind the event?
JD: Due to rapid industrialization, the pollution in China needs to be addressed urgently: With 3.2 million Chinese drinking unsafe water, 7/10 most polluted cities in the world are in China…etc.
Some common facts about recycling program and going green can be misleading. For instance: The amount of burning coal needed to convert into electric energy for electric car does not make the automobile any greener than any existing car. It is plainly moving coal burning to other areas. We therefore need to educate China on the issue. To educate a new generation, we need a new method. I believe getting the right message across through creative interaction can be more effective.
In China, one single child has the attention of six adults at home, by educating a child on environmental awareness, we hope to change the perceptions of six adults indirectly.
Who is the event in partnership with?
JD: We are working closely with China Environment Culture Promote Association. Rethink Culture and Effusion are close allies in the planning of the event.
Are there any ways other people can get involved?
JD: This is a project in the back of my head for nine years, and to bring it to reality needs a lot more hands and brains. We are open to artists, members of the public, associations and corporations who are interested to be part of this interesting program. We need to join hands to make this happen.
I believe if Chinese people play a more active role in protecting mother earth, we have a huge chance of making an impact with 1/6 of the world on our side.