Carpo’s future has us return to a tradition of orality and gesture, where these forms of communication will need no reduction or compression. Our machines will be able to record, notate, transmit, process and search them, making all earlier cultural technologies developed to handle these tasks (schools, libraries, written language itself) “equally unnecessary”. This will be neither advance nor regression. Evolution, remember, is maddeningly valueless.
Reviewing Mario Carpo’s The Second Digital Turn: Design beyond intelligence (MIT Press) for New Scientist, 22 November 2017
Science fiction enters clad in the motley of costume drama: polished, chromed, complete, not infrequently camp. But there’s always a twist, a tear, a weak seam. This genre takes finery from the prop shop and turns it into something vital – a god, a golem, a puzzle, a prison. In science fiction, it matters where you are and how you dress, what you walk on and even what you breathe. All this stuff is contingent, you see. It slips about. It bites.
To introduce a New Scientist speaking event at London’s Barbican centre on 29 June, I took a moment to wonder why the present looks so futuristic.
The 2015 Serpentine Pavilion. Roger Dean has a lot to answer for.
PITCHAfrica’s Waterbank Campus, a 10-acre school site in Laikipia, Kenya
In friendly competition with Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet Horace Smith once wrote a poem entitled Ozymandias. Shelley’s version is the one we remember, but Smith’s is compelling for another reason. He imagines a hunter traipsing through the ruins of a future London. Lighting upon a fragment of a monument, he “stops to guess/What powerful but unrecorded race/Once dwelt in that annihilated place”.
For New Scientist, 18 April 2015: a review of the 2015 Designs of the Year competition.