Slip one, knit one, upload.

October 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the book Shaping Things, I really like Bruce Sterling’s class definitions for objects, or things. Artifacts, machines, products, gizmos and spimes cover all our ‘things’ and our relationships with these things. According to Sterling, artifacts are objects made and used by hand, activated by the user and created outside any understanding of the principles of mechanics. Those who use these artifacts are hunters and farmers. Gizmos customisable, programmable objects with a short life expectancy that often serve as interfaces to networks and services. Gizmo folk are end-users. Since I spend a lot of time thinking about the DIY approach to our little friends of the electronic persuasion, I am wondering which of these two categories DIY or home modified electronic objects fit into? Something that is gizmotic (gizmo-esque?) in nature, but constructed in artifact territory. Is this a relatively new category that bridges the two? A gizmifact. Anyway, it is always helpful to have more definitions for things other than stuff and junk… I will now toss around these terms with slightly more awareness.

I also like Sterling’s concept of ‘the line of no return’ where society cannot return to the previous technological age, ie: Sterling cannot make a living without his laptop, therefore has crossed this line! This made me think about knitting. I learned the basics of knitting from my mother as a child. However everything beyond that I have learned entirely off the internet. It was automatic, it didn’t occur to me once to go buy a book about knitting, why would I when I can watch videos that show me (in slow motion and repeatedly) how to knit an entire scarf? Wouldn’t it be kind of silly to learn how to knit from diagrams in a book when such in-depth visual references are so readily available? We have slipped the stitch of no return.


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