Getting used to the future of technology…

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Most of the big brands out there are undoubtedly shaping their new tech products with an eye on the future. Few brands are going through this process as we speak… I’m looking at you, Apple!

I am reminded of this anecdote that happened to me last week. I was searching for a new laptop to buy. I was really excited to buy this new MacBook pro 2017, I was eager to leave behind my old windows. Excitement didn’t last long: I found out that this new Apple product didn’t have traditional USB ports but newcomers USB type C ports, using Thunderbolt technology.

I was shocked.

This USB anecdote could easily fit into the case-study of french philosopher and anthropologist Bruno Latour who investigates in his essay “The Missing Masses” (1992) how things prescribe behaviour upon us and upon other things. “The design of things of their physical features and functions not only prescribe actions but also ‘moralities, ethics and duties’ (Latour, 1992).

The french philosopher was also interested in the process by which humans delegate action to objects. Latour’s view of technology revolves around the idea of displacing our actions on to technology, and viceversa. “Walls are a nice invention, but if there were no holes in them there would be no way to get in or out. The problem is that if you make holes in the walls, anything and anyone can get in and out. So architects invented the door, miracle of technology.” (Latour, 1992).

In order to keep using my old USB, Apple is essentially both imposing and delegating upon me to buy a Dual USB or adaptor to make it happen…unbelievable, but necessary!?

How can you, Apple, think people not familiar with this new type of USB ports will take this big change? The only answer I can think of is that someone must kick-start the future…and who better than Apple?


 

Latour, B. (1992). Where are the missing masses, sociology of a few mundane artefacts. 1st ed. [ebook] Cambridge: Wiebe Bijker and John Law. Available at: http://www.bruno-latour.fr/sites/default/files/50-MISSING-MASSES-GB.pdf [Accessed 12 Apr. 2017].

Elogio al Futurismo – A praise to Futurism

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This blog entry wants to praise futurism as a revolutionary movement that helped shaping modern culture in Italy and all around the world. This entry doesn’t want to praise, in any way, the negative sides of such movement like its alignment with Fascism.

It is no news that thanks to his eccentric persona, Marinetti made Futurism a worldwide phenomenon. Selena Daly, expert in Futurism at University College Dublin praised Marinetti as a master at advertising and self-promotion. 

Marinetti’s vision of the future was built around high praise for technology and the aesthetics of modernity. Marinetti’s main purpose was to celebrate the power of speed. Indeed, Futurism pretty much kicked after Marinetti’s famous, controversial quote: “We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. (Marinetti, 1909).

Unfortunately, Futurism became well known at the time also due to its inevitable links to fascism and Benito Mussolini. As Daly explains, “some Futurists distanced themselves from it. But others did not.” After Marinetti’s death “there were surviving Futurists who did try to keep Futurism alive, but there was a reluctance in many circles to really address this movement on its merits because of the shadow of Fascism that was hanging over it.” (Daly, 2017)

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There is no doubt that Futurists did help shape the way others in the 20th century went on to imagine what the future could look like. “BMW recently said they were influenced by the Futurist aesthetic in the design of one of their cars. The Futurist aesthetic still has a very profound influence on the language of advertising.” (Daly, 2017)

So while Marinetti’s controversial vision of the future may have been born out of a specific political moment, it continues to resonate through time.


Daly, S. (2017). How the Italian Futurists shaped the aesthetics of modernity in the 20th century. [online] The conversation. Available at: http://theconversation.com/how-the-italian-futurists-shaped-the-aesthetics-of-modernity-in-the-20th-century-73033 [Accessed 9 Apr. 2017].

Overview

Portrait Of Author Susan Sontag

Portrait of American author and critic Susan Sontag (1933 – 2004) smiles broadly as she leans, arms crossed, against a bookshelf in the offices of her publisher, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, New York, January 23, 1978. (Photo by William E. Sauro/New York Times Co./Getty Images)

The work of art itself is also a vibrant, magical, and exemplary object which returns us to the world in some way more open and enriched.

Among all of the different topics we discussed today about Susan Sontag, this was the best line from her way of thinking. It’s always a pleasure when you come across something so powerful and inspiring that re-shapes your way of thinking about that specific topic, or even the whole world around you.

Other people’s perspectives on topics you care about are so important that they could deeply affect your persona, personally and professionally speaking. We could look at this re-shape of the mind as a step-by-step journey in which we will get to know ourselves better or perhaps even change our mindset, habits and ways of seeing things forever.

Something like that happened to me last year.

I casually came across this wonderful “photobook” called Overview (by Benjamin Grant) where the author shows planet earth in an amazingly vibrant, magical never seen before way that got me literally petrified.

It all started by mistake.

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The author himself got this great idea of generating images of planet earth from a satellite point-of-view by mistake. As stated in his book preface, as soon as Grant decided to create a physical book including all his satellite photos he collected so far, he decided to start use a more sofisticated satellite programme to make everything possible.

Many will think that we might already have something that allow us to generate this kind of pictures (via google maps or similar), but still, no one ever came to the conclusion of portraying such detailed and sofisticated images in a dedicated top-notch book.

Vibrant colours and same layout throughout all the book allows the book to be seen as a magical journey through the unseen beauty of our world.