Viridian Design Movement

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The Viridian Design Movement was an aesthetic and design movement founded in 1998 by Bruce Sterling to explore technology and society in the face of modern environmentalist concerns.[1] Prominent participants included Jon Lebkowsky, Alex Steffen, and Kevin Kelly.


The Viridian Design Movement largely manifested through its mailing list and participants' websites/blogs (notably on The Well), documenting the movement's internal conversations and its effects on their art, research, and engineering projects. Topics were mainly introduced and summarized via the Viridian Design Notes, a series of 498 text documents issued to the mailing list by Sterling.


In Viridian Design Note #00003, Sterling lays out the principles behind Viridian thought as a design culture:

Futurist Principles:

  • "Eat What You Kill"
  • "Avoid The Timeless, Embrace Decay"
  • "Planned Evanescence"
  • "History Accumulates"

Moral Principles:

  • "Look at the Underside First"
  • "Design for Evil"
  • "Design for the Old"
  • "Superstition Isn't Inspiration"

Political Principles:

  • "Viridian Inactivism"
  • "Do Less With Less"
  • "There's No One So Green As The Dead"

Principles of the Avant-technogarde:

  • "The Biologial Isn't Logical"
  • "Augment Reality: Aestheticize All Sensors"
  • "Make the Invisible Visible"
  • "Less Mass, More Data"
  • "Tangible Cyberspace"
  • "Seek the Biomorphic and the Transorganic"
  • "Datamine Nature"
  • "Grow Complexity"

Research Principles:

  • "Walk Through the Walls of Knowledge Guilds"


The movement was formative to bright green environmentalism as a whole, notably through both Steffen's coining of the term "bright green" for more optimistic and technoprogressive environmental politics in 2003[2] (well into the movement's maturation and before its dissolution), as well as Sterling's experiences within it shaping his introduction to Worldchanging: A Users Guide for the 21st Century.

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