Design inside a vacuum




Solutions cannot be designed inside a vacuum, so to explore the issues of health and wellbeing of the growing aging populations, designers need to work with local communities using a human-centered design approach. Co-designing for the future requires in-depth knowledge of problems that society face. The Chinese artist and activist, Ai Wei Wei believes “Blogs and the internet are great inventions of our time because they give ordinary people an opportunity”. An opportunity to voice their issues and also a voice for problem solvers to hear.

China’s solution to its aging problem can not be solved inside a vacuum. Ai Wei Wei is one of many at the forefront of giving voice to societal values and expanding the space within China’s great vacuum. Ai Wei Wei’s actions are being supported and proven to be inline with the thinking of many. His 2011 arrest and accusation of tax fraud followed by donations by the public to pay the fines proved that the people’s thinking was for freedom of expression. These donations were the people’s vote for his support. “(Ai Wei Wei is) not an artist within the academy, he is himself” Beijing-based artist Chen Danqing expressed.

For Ai Wei Wei to be able to express his beliefs and be himself I believe the government is showing that it’s beginning to listening to its people and beginning to take a human-centered design approach. A journalist a Time Magazine said in 2011 “The existence of Ai Wei Wei is proof that (China) has changed”. Like Ai Wei Wei expresses “(We) need people to say things are not good enough”.

In the past, China did not hear or wanted to hear the people’s complaints, now government trends are changing and they are looking outside(CSIS) towards countries like Japan, South Korea, and the United States for opportunities of change and allowing voices like Ai Wei Wei’s to be heard.

“The world is not changing if we do not shoulder the burden of responsibility”, @Aiww tweet from 2011. Heavily influenced by his culture Ai is combining the collective culture of a unified approach “I have an idea, but maybe someone else can have it”, with changing trends and contemporary societal values of freedom of expression and like his mother say” gives a voice to ordinary people.”


Cory Dolman


-Center for strategic international studies, Does China have a ageing problem,  Viewed 08 November 2016, <;

-Klayman, A, 2012, Ai Wei Wei, Never sorry, Viewed 09 November 2016,


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Posted in D: Chinese Contemporary Culture, Uncategorized

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