Micène Fontaine

Micène Fontaine

Executive Director at Design Arts Seminars, Inc.
For Micène's bio, please visit http://www.designarts.org/das-team.

Micène Fontaine:

Micène Fontaine, December 2, 2021

I wasn’t sure which button to click, “Go Back” or “Send Message.”

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:Food for Thought and Action

Micène Fontaine, November 9, 2021

What does a digital currency have to do with mining and volcanoes? I couldn’t think of a link between Bitcoins and the Pacific Ring of Fire. In my mind, there was none. With a vague understanding of how cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and volcanoes work, I started reading the NPR article titled “El Salvador Plans To Use Electricity Generated From Volcanoes To Mine Bitcoin.I was reminded that “it requires massive amounts of electricity to power the computers that generate the invisible currency.” To solve this, in June 2021, El Salvador’s President advocated for the use of geothermal energy “for #Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos.”

To me, this was the ultimate - and potentially most absurd - example of the interconnectedness of it all. We’ve all heard about the butterfly effect, ecosystems, systems thinking, design thinking, etc. Whatever you call it, it roughly boils down to a simple fact: It’s all systemic. Everything is connected: The built environment, all life forms (including ours), the natural environment here on earth, the sun that keeps it all going, and - apparently - the metaverse as well…

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:Connect the Dots

Micène Fontaine, October 28, 2021

Giant salvinia. I had no idea what it was, but the “alert” posted on the website of the nearby state park dampened my excitement about renting a weekend cabin. Yet, I decided to follow my own advice and stay curious (that, and I really wanted to get away). So, I read on only to find out that the lake was undergoing a scheduled drawdown so they could remove the giant invader in question (an aquatic fern that had found its way far from its native Brasil). 

Water levels were down on the lake, and giant salvinia was being removed. I booked two nights anyway, but I was wondering how one goes about draining a lake? And, what do they do with the giant salvinia? 

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:Change by DesignSustainable Cities and CommunitiesRegenerative Materials

Micène Fontaine, August 25, 2021

Why has a railing captivated the attention of thousands of people over the past couple of weeks? What does the picture evoke for you?

Images: Braille engraved railing at Castel Sant’Elmo Image twitter.com/thegallowboob
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:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, August 18, 2021

1976: I was about one year old when I first played with brightly colored wooden shapes. Chances are you were about the same age when you had a similar experience. I imagine I tried stacking these blocks on the back of the family pet or the shag rug before realizing that a stable surface works best - though far less fun to a toddler. There is a lot of learning embedded in this simple game. Lesson 1: Stacking works best on a stable foundation.

Images: (Left) pticelov/shutterstock.com (Right) SunnyLife Jumbling Tower
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:Change by DesignBiodiversity

Micène Fontaine, August 12, 2021

Did you get a chance to think about it? In my last blog post, I left you with this question: What is the highest and best purpose of design? This is a question I was asked a few months ago. Many of us were asked to answer it. I'll share my answer in a moment, but more importantly, below is what stood out for me in Ian Rolston's answer:

"We are the gatekeepers of good, articulated in the environments we create. In the elements we place that tell stories to honour the past, acknowledge our present and celebrate the potential of tomorrow. We designers orchestrate interactions that enhance moments of connection and establish shared values that make life – that make living better. [...] We are problem solvers, storytellers and agents of change that can design the world as it should be." - Ian Rolston, NCIDQ, IDC, LEED GA, ARIDO, Lead Decanthropist, Decanthropy, Toronto

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:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, July 22, 2021

What is the highest and best purpose of design? This is the question I was asked a few months ago when I was nominated to participate in CIDA's Future Vision project - more on that later, and no, my entry was not selected :-)

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:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, July 8, 2021

In "Now What?", I highlighted the importance of meaning-making in the age of information and knowledge overload. What matters is connecting the dots. Or, as author Rohit Bhargava, puts it, "transforming noise into meaning." This is especially true in an increasingly complex world. Learning and education are (or at least should be) at their core about taking myriad tidbits of knowledge and re-organize them in a way that helps us highlight what matters, how it matters, and how it is all interconnected.

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:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, July 1, 2021

Humans love stories. That's how we learn, pass on traditions and ancestral knowledge. Stories are - at once - who we've been, are, and will be.

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:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, June 22, 2021

The words we choose tell a story of their own. First, we talked about "global warming," then "climate change." Now the conversation has moved away from "fighting climate change" to "climate adaptation." I think it tells us a lot about where we are. 

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:Change by Design

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