This week marks the countdown to next weekend’s opening of the much-anticipated and much-debated Massive Change exhibit at the AGO. Everyone has criticized Mau’s bizarrely utopian and woolly optimism. Mau’s 2001 book, Life Style, focused on shaping design’s role in individual lives, recognizing that ‘lifestyle’ in the post-war period had come to be defined solely in terms of consumptive patterns rather than class or occupation. The argument was loosely patched together by brilliant aesthetic design and soaring catchphrases, but when broken down, puzzlingly vacant – resembling an elaborately bound PowerPoint presentation with great photography.
Four years later, Mau makes Life Style seem decidedly modest with his latest project, Massive Change, in which he declares his capacity, as a designer, to ‘control and direct all emerging forces’- which encompasses ‘manufacturing, transportation, urbanism, warfare, health, living, energy, markets, materials, the image and information’. His team of disciples in Bruce Mau Design and George Brown’s Institute without Boundaries produced a series of posters earlier this year put up across the city declaring vaguely euphoric propositions such as “We will design intelligence into material, and liberate form from matter.”
A feature film is on the way, as well as a speaker series including Brian Eno (responsible for a few forgettable music projects with David Byrne, David Bowie, U2, and significantly the Windows 95 3-second startup sound) in April. Best of all, for $125 you can have an intimate glimpse into the glorious future at the AGO’S Massive Party this Thursday: ‘State-of-the-art cocktails. World-class food. Dress for the future.’ (See what we mean by the art of Mauspeak? We guess this translates to ‘Apple martinis, Veg-sushi, and All-black attire only.’)