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Exhibition at the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art
Left: Peter Harper instructs. Right: alternative versions.
In June 1972, an exhibition of high quality was arranged at the Stockholm Museum of Modern Arts one of perhaps the most important features this summer. The design was not strange, screens with drawings and sketches, but the content was all the more strange. Until then, it had been unusual for technology to be seen as anything other than one more or less linear development, from old-fashioned to modern, from slow to more efficient, etc.
Here, the idea was presented that different types of technology had different impacts on nature’s cycles, that some varieties represented environmentally hazardous choices while others, alternative varieties were wiser.
Ecological construction, renewable energy sources, all of which we often hear in the debate today, were new here.
Alternative technology (Alternative, intermediate, soft technology, dear children got many names), or as the name of the exhibition read: For a technology in the service of the people.
Among the leading forces behind the exhibition were Björn Eriksson and Peter Harper. Harper then became one of the initiators of CAT, the Center for Alternative Technology in Wales, where practice and theory of technology in all its forms are exhibited.
Harper has followed, analyzed and debated the development of alternative technology, all the time in a critical and unconditional spirit. ”Small is beautiful” was a slogan (Shumacher), but Harper believes that is not always the case. Harper is today one of the driving forces behind Zero Carbon Britain and he recently wrote a flashback to the British alternative technology movement's 40 years of practice and theory, called AT @ 40.