A Path to Viridian Salvation

What happens with time if the Viridian Criteria for Object Selection are taken to a religious extreme? 

You will need to divide your current possessions
into four major categories.

1: Beautiful things.
2: Emotionally important things.
3: Tools, devices, and appliances that efficiently
perform a useful function.
4. Everything else.
- The Last Viridian Note.

I came late to the Word of the good Pope-Emperor. My testimony begins with the sermon at Reboot 11, where I first heard the Criteria for Object Selection. They made perfect sense to me, and since then they have shaped my life. Having moved a lot I was no stranger to the process of having to cull my belongings, but had never been presented with a framework that broke it down so well. I never even knew this was something I was searching for, but I’m pretty glad that I found it.

A home for a week.

I now live according to Viridian principles. Not The Viridian Principles, that’s some old testament bullshit. Design for old people? Come on, you mean all those guys who’ll be dead soon anyway? Cops & soldiers are your friends? Nuh-uh no thanks, not in most of the world. Anyway, you call this a design movement? The website is goddamn near illegible. Nah, I’ll live according to that new gospel. Nobody is greener than the dead, and my space and time are my temple. Other than that I’ll just cherry-pick the parts that I like.

Sound much like I got religion? The Viridian movement could be an aggressively expansionist cult, we could have mass-hallucinatory ceremonies, priests, shamans, tribal dance-offs and a choir. Let it be known our current lifestyle is killing us, the people must be saved! Global society must be controlled across multiple generations, surely in order to change the planet we should utilise the most powerful social technologies at our disposal, and religion is time-proven.

We need a NEW RELIGION to solve all this? Gimme a break!
- Viridian Note 449.

Ok fine, the Pope-Emperor is right. Leave religions to their moral & ethical dogma. No gods, miracles or messiahs will save you from the reality of the 21st century, you need a practical intervention. The Viridian guidelines operate on your environment through material culture, religion has little of use to say about that. Needn’t invest in worldly possessions? Even a beggar priest carries around a bowl to collect alms. You want to improve this life, not the next one.

Trust me though when I tell you you’re better off changing your ways. Read the Last Viridian Note, act according to its principles and organise your belongings according to the categories described within. Embrace entropy, give up your dysfunctional materialism, aspire to a better condition. You will experience a radical transformation, a new wealth of truth, time and space. Just believe in the Thing, follow the rules, and you will de rewarded! Oh shit wait, that feels kind of familiar…

A home for six weeks.

For now, a Viridian lifestyle is often seen as best suited to a privileged few in the world. It’s largely about making choices, a luxury left to those who actually have options. With climate change about to displace millions over the coming years, many people are going to be forced into lives of mobility and precarity, but not necessarily in positions of complete poverty or immediate danger. The Criteria for Object Selection can be of great use here, providing a means to help them cope with the transitional period they are about to experience.

Yeah, sure. Okay, next optimistic suggestion.
- Viridian Note 484.

“Creating irresistible demand for a global atmosphere upgrade” through glitz & glamor has clearly failed. As we now get to live through the Viridian worst case scenario, what comes out with us on the other side? Link-rot has already set in on, at some point, bit-rot will follow. What if we are left without any archive of the Viridian Notes and all that remains are apocryphal accounts mythologising the Criteria for Object Selection as self-evident truth?

Say humanity manages not to off itself and we somehow even maintain (or regain) some degree of technological advancement. The climate camps settle into a new civil order, solar power is literally dirt cheap, the virtual and the material merge almost entirely and basic matter manipulation is ubiquitous. I like to believe the Last Viridian Note could play an important role in that world, creating a culture that no longer requires design movements because it has become one.

A home for three months.

If nothing else survives from the Viridian Movement other than the Criteria for Object Selection, then with time it can still win. Their applicability is universal, not only to the objects you consume or utilise in the design of your life, but especially in measuring the worth of the works you create. Whatever artefact, service or interaction you produce, see that it falls in the top three categories. Beautiful, emotionally important or useful. If it doesn’t, it’s part of everything else and there’s no place for it in the future. The world will get rid of it.

I like to think that my demands on futurity
are pretty modest, but, well. . . .
- Viridian Note 482.

This post is part of 5 Viridian Years, a month-long re-examination of science-fiction author and design critic Bruce Sterling’s attempt to engineer an avant-garde bright green design movement in the dying days of the 20th century. Five years after the project ended, we are revisiting its goals, methods, impacts, and offshoots. Want to take part? Contact

Photos from strctrnrrtv.