The Lava Project

“Long Shorts” – short films that exemplify long-term thinking.  Please submit yours in the comments section…

Audience members at Arthur Ganson’s Seminar on September 14, 02009 were among the first viewers of The Lava Project Documentary, which premiered in our new Long Shorts series – short videos that explore, explain, or exemplify long-term thinking and responsibility.

The Lava Project Documentary was created by White Elephant DesignLab, a group of designers who explore natural phenomena and experiment with various materials and their external influences. Earlier this year, the group created a piece at the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii that was inspired by our promotion of long-term thinking through use of the five-digit date. Using a “02009” stamp made of hardwood and aluminum, they imprinted the congealing surface crust of Pāhoehoe lava in order to equip the emerging lithosphere with its date of origin.

“We developed the idea of using this symbol only when we had already arrived on the island,” says Tobias Kestel of the design team. “We thought it was just the right symbol to use in this context of volcanic activity. Processes of new land being formed by lava flows have been going on for billions of years on the planet, which provided the perfect ground for embossing your symbol of long-term thinking.

“We are aware,” Kestel adds, “that some people might still argue that we actually did alter the environment there. At the same time, the symbolic value and the message and discussions our action will provoke can be and will be of relevance, even if only a few people will start to think differently after having seen the results and having learned about your project, as we will always promote our project together with the reference to The Long Now Foundation.”

For additional photos and information about The Lava Project Documentary, visit the White Elephant DesignLab website.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

More from Long Shorts

What is the long now?

The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

Learn more

Join our newsletter for the latest in long-term thinking

Long Now's website is changing...