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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  1069 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Jeff Kunzler: Against Minimalism A Plea for Cyberpunk

Oh shit now you did it.

About a week ago I gave rd95 an absurd quest: To find some horror comics from the late '60s or early '70s, look in the back for a page that was nothing but head-shop posters, and find me the one that looks like a dude sitting alone in a crystal labyrinth. It is an image seared in my brain thirty or more years ago, the most striking vestige of a collection of horror comics I inherited from my cousin Larry and sold wholesale two years later, a time capsule from another era I had not quite forgotten. It is an image I have looked for off and on for twenty or more years, the "holy grail" poster of my past that I have never been able to let go of. I promised him an assortment of mid '60s Popular Mechanics from my deceased grandparents' house as reward.

It took him half a day.

This is the past future that defines me: a semi-absurdist pop-culture future in which nuclear annihilation is a foregone conclusion and that which comes later will be gacked to the nines and spired out like Metropolis.

It doesn't help that I've effectively retreated into No Man's Sky to get away from my neighborhood. The future, as presented by No Man's Sky, belongs to Ralph McQuarrie and Syd Mead, not Jony Ive and Dieter Rams. It is a messy lines-of-coke, acoustic-coupling, MICR-E13B future where n times apple times pear equals three and where the driving ethos is wonder, not smug self-satisfaction. You know what has always bugged me? I can get this shit all day:

But apparently no one has even thought of selling me one of these.

It's funny - twenty five years gone and I find myself nostalgic for ugly shit. Say what you will about the Soviet design bureaus, they had an ethos.


I think we're turning a corner, though. I've been in the market for cars and there are an astonishing number of boring ones out there. But at the same time, the Japanese are apparently feeling their Akira. Just in the past year we've gone from this:

to this:

And from this:

to this:

and while five years ago the articles were all "ZOMGJONYIVESQUEEE" they're now all "FANBOIHURRRGHWHARRRGARBL" and aside from the exquisitely dull world of personal electronics, things might be going the other direction.

One need only look up "LED chandelier" to see that the Pacific Rim is not waiting for us. And I embrace their adventure.

mk  ·  1067 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I feel ya.

In the case of Apple, it is clear they continue to be guided by:

  symmetry > asymmetry

cool > warm

smooth > texture

delicate > robust

light > heavy

bare > detailed

However, they have retired these principles:

  bold > cautious

whimsy > seriousness

object > item

Apple used to stay interesting because they made whimsical and bold objects like the Macintosh, the clamshell, the iMac, and the iPod. They have always had products in derivative phases of evolution, but now their entire product line has converged into a state of derivation, so much so, that they are obviously sacrificing UX for form factor. The only way that this might be ok, is if their software experience didn't feel like it was on exactly the same course, but it is on that course, and it is getting worse. Apple products have very little soul. They have gone from Next Generation to THX1138.

I would argue that we have been suffering sleekness for so long, because Pottery Barn is so much cheaper to produce than Rococo.

For most of human existence, ornamentation was a sign of wealth and taste. Sleek and shiny objects and buildings are only nifty when they are an expression of new technological and material possibilities

but when they are not

We have a hard time giving a shit.

user-inactivated  ·  1069 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey. Don't give me too much credit. I just got lucky. :)