Hello World! Presenting folio n°9

  • 2022-09-20
  • featuring
  • Pierre Ragois
  • EN / FR

Welcome #

Hello everyone ! Welcome to my new folio and thank you for taking the time to read this article which inaugurates the beginning of my very first blog ever. This personal portfolio / website marks my twenty years (already!) as a professional designer and artistic director. While I could talk for hours about these two decades and what I have learned going through them, I prefer to take a quick introspection and then look at the future of my design practice and its connection to the world in which we live.

Where I come from, where I speak #

I am a forty two year old white french man, I come from a family with agricultural roots on my father's and mother's side. I had the privilege of doing higher education in Fine Arts, to then make music part of my professional activity as a composer and musician before becoming a full-time freelance designer around 2008. I am in a relationship and I have two children.

Around 2015, I started learning about the ecological and social impact of the digital world. I have been, since my early years, a convinced environmental activist, navigating and investing myself in various political or associative movements, with more or less presence. But strangely, I had never questioned the digital and electronic industry, probably because of an obvious professional bias: I used its objects and infrastructures every day to work, which made them invisible and very normative to my eyes.

Practice history #

It was when my family left Paris and we migrated once again from employees to freelancers, in a smaller city, without transport, that I finally started to think for myself again. I have no university education and even today, I still have difficulties building up a body of knowledge based on the state of the art of research to feed my thoughts.
My intellectual journey led me to read a certain number of works, starting with Murray Bookchin and André Gorz, as well as many authors developing ideas around ecosocialism, both in governance and its social, economic or ecological structures. I also read with dread, like many others, the IPCC reports synthesis as well as a whole series of more confidential reports about ecology from researchers around the world.

Unsurprisingly, my revolt level went from mild to very high

My relationship to technology and innovation, invading all discourse, dangling solutions that still do not exist, constantly opening up auxiliary fronts to make the damage committed today invisible, has completed my transformation. I have become resolutely techno-critical, firmly eco-socialist and definitely a fair degrowth advocate. It is these resolutions that have also nourished for several years the gestation of what I call Essential Design, a holistic practice of design within planetary limits. It will be the main subject of a series of articles here and possibly (hopefully) a podcast in the near future.

Portfolio n°9 #

So here is my new portfolio / personal website. I still can't find another qualifier for this one even if in absolute terms, thanks to this website I can finally plan to abandon the last social networks that I still visit, Linkedin and Twitter. Especially Linkedin.

With Victor (1) it took us two years to create this website, and I don't think it's necessary to explain why. The last two years have been challenging and often difficult enough for each and every one of us, so it is with great pride and satisfaction that we have put this one online. It is with the utmost humility that i hope you will find, in the case studies and the articles, enough material to feed your thoughts, imaginaries and practices.

Production challenges #

With this project, we sought both to keep a solid artistic direction while applying all the constraints of a lowtech website freed from gafams and all other monitoring logics. It has no CMS, cookies, google analytics etc etc. We use the static site generator Eleventy (2), developed by Zach Leatherman (3) as the basis for its structure. The design is completely bespoke, with the simplest possible architecture as always.
The difficulty for a portfolio that wants to aim at low intensity is the presence of videos and images galore. For video, nothing could be easier, there is none. On the other hand, there is a real subject on the images, because even with a radical compressor, the point of balance between weight and readability is often difficult to reach. Each screen does not have the same resolution, between the various pixel densities and the dozens of different screen sizes, it is a constant challenge to have a clean rendering on each option with the lowest loading time possible. It would be lying to claim here loudly the total success of this equation with multiple variables. We will continue to work on this issue and I hope to soon validate an acceptable quality/density combination. Case to follow.

Thanks to all of you for reading me, until next time!

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