Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Interface in the Plastic Age

Cory Doctorow is co-editor of Boing Boing, and a week ago wrote this piece for the New York Times Circuts Section. The first two paragraphs are interesting for their architectural undertones, but the whole piece lends perspective on current advancements in democratic technology. From the article...
PLASTIC created the age of whimsical forms. Suddenly a radio could look like a moo cow. A chair could look like an egg. Toy ray guns could bulge and swoop. The exuberant designers of the golden age of plastic explored all the wacky, nonfunctional, decorative shapes that household objects could take.

Now that same plasticity is coming to microcontrollers, the computer chips that act as brains for the chirping, dancing, listening and seeing devices that line our knickknack shelves and dashboards and fill our pockets. The proliferation of cheap and cheerful programmable chips promises a new age of "whimsical logic," chips that power devices whose functions are as delightfully impractical as their forms, the sort of thing you find in a stocking but keep on your desk forever.


Anonymous Blite said...

I read an article a few years back that claimed that plastic was the second truely modern material. It stated that the first modern movement was ushered in with concrete, and a second modern movemnt could be traced with the use of plastic. I think it had a theory about the lack of an implied form with plastic... that it runs counter to Ruskin or the Arts and Craft movement, and that detachment of material and meaning signals the worst threat to architecture in 1000 years.

12:52 PM  

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