(2008-11-20) Last Viridian Post

page was renamed from z2008-11-20-LastVeridianPost

Bruce Sterling makes his last Viridian Design post.

Rather than "thinking globally and acting locally," as in the old futurist theme, I now live and think glocally. I once had a stable, settled life within a single city, state and nation. Nowadays, I divide my time between three different polities: the United States, the European Union and the Balkans... As long as I've got broadband, I'm perfectly at ease with the fact that my position on the planet's surface is arbitrary. It's the nation-state system that is visibly stressed by these changes - it's freaking out over currency flows, migration through airports, offshoring, and similar phenomena... It's got its practical drawbacks, but I'm much more perturbed about contemporary indignities such as airport terrorspaces, ATM surchanges and the open banditry of cellphone roaming. (Nations-Lite)

In earlier, less technically advanced eras... if you failed to surround yourself with a thick material barrier, you were inviting social abuse and possible police suspicion. So it made pragmatic sense to cling to heirlooms, renew all major purchases promptly, and visibly keep up with the Joneses... These objects can no longer protect you from want, from humiliation. (Consumerism)

The items that you use incessantly, the items you employ every day, the normal, boring goods that don't seem luxurious or romantic: these are the critical ones... the things that you use every day should be the best-designed things you can get. (bed, work-chair, functional clothing, shoes)

A MultiTool is a set of possible creative interventions in your immediate material environment. That is why you want a multitool. They are empowering... A multitool changes your perceptions of the world. Since you lack your previous untooled learned-helplessness, you will slowly find yourself becoming more capable and more observant... A multitool is a Design education.

(Process for evaluating your possessions. For most, take picture, write story, maybe identify it digitally somehow, then sell on EBay.)

You should be planning, expecting, desiring to live among material surroundings created, manufactured, distributed, through radically different methods from today's. It is your moral duty to aid this transformative process. This means you should encourage the best Industrial Design.

If you're buying weird tech gizmos, you need to know what you are trying to prove by that. You also need to tell other people useful things about it. (NoteBook)


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