June 15, 2012

Rio+20 Conference

Mona Kim is a creative director based in Paris. After a decade of working in fashion advertising, she is now involved in designing experiential spaces for museums and exhibitions, and brand environments that focus on the integration of words, images, public space, and technology. Most recently, she has designed 7 interactive installations that encourage participation from the citizens of the city of Rio during the Rio+20 Conference that begins next week.

MBF: What is the Rio+20 Conference and what does it hope to do?

Mona Kim: It's an international conference sponsored by the United Nations to promote dialogue, debate, and commitment to a green economy as a means to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty in the world. +50,000 people from 193 nations (including world leaders, and representatives from key sectors of civil society, local authorities, NGOs, scientific and technological community, trade unions) will gather to debate, dialogue, commit to, and promote new economy, sustainability, and equality for all. This is a great opportunity for the world, for the city, and for all, to engage in global dialogue to build the future we want in 20 years.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: How does your project of 7-site specific installations tie in with the Rio +20 Conference? And what inspired you to come up with this idea?

MK: There are 7 key themes in the conference: Jobs, energy, cities, food, water, oceans, and disasters. The main events would be taking place in the RioCentro convention center which is located on the outskirts of Rio, so we wanted to bring the conference into the city, on a "street-level", so that these themes would be presented in a much more accessible manner for "the people." The idea of doing something for this event came from Fundação Getulio Vargas, whom, like many institutions or organizations, wanted to do something and contribute to this event. They are one of the most important foundations in Rio and the client of ORB who had invited me to collaborate on this project.

photo via Mona Kim

So what if a situation was created so that WE also WALK kilometers toward a destination, in order to understand and "feel" the global problem of water in the world, rather than being told? What if we had to pedal in order to generate light? What if we understand what one apple translates monetarily for a child in Africa?

In this line of intent, 7 site-specific installations that address 7 themes were conceived to encourage public participation and interaction in a sensitive and meaningful manner. But of course in the context of such "green"-focused event, it would be irresponsible to design and build blindly. Therefore, clever sustainable construction methods and materials were proposed by our collaborators RaichdelRio Estudi d'Arquitectura. Also, we tried to instill as much as possible, gestures such as using used water bottles to build one of the sphere, or using state-of-the-art LED lightbulbs used to light a sphere would be distributed to the citizens of Rio after de-installation, as a way to really put things into real action and to minimize or re-cycle materials used for fabrication.

photo via Mona Kim

The inspiration and the spirit behind each installation came out of 2 images which really drove it home for me. An image of a woman with a water barrel captures poignantly the simple fact that most of the world has to traverse kilometers by foot just to access drinking water. An image of the man in rural Rwanda generating light through pedal-power reminded me of things we take for granted in our daily life, such as…light to cook with, light to study in, light for playing, etc. We just switch on the light and pay our bills but it's not that easy for the majority of the world.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: This is a major event for Rio. How is this affecting the city? 

MK: Well, I'm not there right now so I can't precise what is happening on the ground level, but what I do know is that everyone and the whole city is running around madly to mount everything on time. UN conference in 2012, World Cup in 2014 World Cup, Olympics in 2016… the city is going through major revitalization to usher in these international bi-annual events. These events will position Rio and Brazil at the forefront of global presence.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: So what will life be like in the "future"?

MK: To name a few, it is projected, that in 2062,
 --The average temperature of the planet may be 2 ° C warmer than today.
--Sea level may rise half a meter.
--We will be around 10 billion people, majority of the population living in poor countries.
 --The elderly will be more numerous than children.
--40% of living species now existing on the planet may be at risk of extinction.
--The biological engineering will be able to create living organisms that nature would take millions of years to develop.
--70% of the population will be living in megalopolis formed by several cities, some with more than 50 million inhabitants.
--Perhaps most professions today no longer exists.
--The human brain will be able to directly control mechanisms built into the artificial body.
--A person can go to another planet, but the first travelers may not have time to return.
--Renewable energy and new patterns of consumption may decrease the risk of environmental and social disasters.
Content compiled by curatorial team of Museu do Amanhã for Fundação Roberto Marinho.*

These are the projections. However, any part of these projections can take a different turn, for better or for worse, depending on our actions of NOW.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: How do you think we can better deal with our global problem of water?

MK: Education at an early age, change of habit on an individual level, bigger pressure on corporations and international businesses, a big push on social media through clever communication strategies, and a change in perspective on what is "clean" or "hygienic" especially in the American society.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: What do you think needs to start changing in today's world to ensure a better future?

MK: Consume less, produce less, reproduce less. Simplify. Pare-down. Slow down.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting Interview. Check out this article on Rio+20: http://www.consumerinstinct.com/consumer-behavior/rio20-just-another-summit/


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