Mind Blowing Movies: Technological Dream Series: No. 1, Robots (2007)


9 Responses to “Mind Blowing Movies: Technological Dream Series: No. 1, Robots (2007)”

  1. Mitchell Glaser says:

    This sort of thing doesn’t really move me. But as my mentor is fond of saying, “That’s why they make different flavor jelly beans.”

  2. jimmoffet says:

    For me, this is a simple and useful artifact. Once you know how to handle it, its utility is pretty clear. It helps me pull the lens back and think about the importance of our current objects a bit more like the way I think about the objects that defined our distant past. It’s an academic viewpoint, and it has it’s disadvantages, but sometimes an ur-distilled description is a great one for formulating big ideas. 

    I heard Anthony Dunne speak last year and show off a few of his students’ projects from the RCA. He embedded some graduate designers with various researchers and asked the students to speculate on the possible commercial uses of each research team’s work. Unlike the researchers’ visions, the best pieces were both apparently feasible and ethically dubious. “Speculative Ethics” was coined by one of the researchers (one of the lot that wasn’t terribly offended), which is a great term and one that seems far easier to manifest via design than underneath all of the “ideational overhead” of fiction writing. Great job of quickly contrasting the two disciplines here, thanks Bruce!

  3. polarbear says:

    I thought that might be Marina Abramovic, but it probably isn’t.  It just looks like something she might do, only she would be hitting herself with a hairbrush at the same time.

  4. cmpalmer says:

    I believe it is a very sexist commentary on women and technology. This woman, dressed as a domestic servant, is, despite her telekinetic powers, unable to assemble a working device from the components presented to her.

    • Amelia_G says:

      Why’d it have to be a girl in a French maid outfit? Why couldn’t it be a pretty boy in eyeliner? Perfect Tommy maybe, or the young Duran Duran.

      • Ambiguity says:

         I  don’t think there really are any “have to”s in film. There could be many layers of reasons, or it could be a “just because.”

        But on the most basic level: it had to be a woman, because if it had been a young Duran Duran it wouldn’t have been the same film: it would have been a young Duran Duran.

  5. OtherMichael says:

    I’m glad to finally see an elaboration on Mr. Sterling’s phrase “design fiction” because I never knew exactly what he was talking about. I may still not, but I’m think I’m getting closer.

    It’s design that uses cheap, fast, viral media to spread itself around — to provoke speculation, to extrapolate, and to criticize. “Design fictions” exist outside the stifling limits of the retail box-store.

    Is a “concept car” a “design fiction” ?

    If not, please explain. Use the backside of the comment-form if necessary.
    Whatever my misunderstandings of design fiction, I have a problem with the following lines:

    That’s because designers are not authors. An author of fiction is an entertainer, he’s deceiving, beguiling and head-tripping the reader — he’s commonly locked in a private, intimate, psychic single-combat with the reader. Written fiction is all about thrills, twists, surprising revelations, page-turning hooks, and similar bulky, time-consuming forms of ideational overhead.

    Okay, designers are not authors. And Mr. Sterling goes on to explain that designers are not authors because “an author of fiction [....]“.

    Wait, what? Are we talking about authors? Or authors of fiction? Or, hokey smokes authors of written fiction?

    I could accept that the designers are not authors of written, mass-market, genre-fiction [whatever genre. Not necessary a "scornful" genre like "scifi", but perhaps even a "literary" genre, like whatever Updike writes, although " thrills, twists, surprising revelations, page-turning hooks" would seem to suggest that, no, Updike does not write the sort of written fiction Mr. Sterling is talking about here].

    But I will not, without some sort of non-elided elaboration, accept that designers are not authors. They create, they are authorities, they are — for at least the purposes of copyright — the authors of works.

    Lest I be hoisted by my own historical petard, I recently engaged in debate in BB-post’s comments about using words to mean what one wants, instead of the commonly accepted definition. I don’t think that “author of a work” is stretching accepted definition, while I do think that “author := author of written fiction that is all about thrills, twists, surprising revelation, [and] page-turning hooks” is, if not stretching, then chopping it off at the knees.
    Writing “Mr. Sterling” felt horribly stilted and formal, but I couldn’t seriously stoop to the informal “Bruce.” Even though several inches of bookshelf would attest to my familiarity with the manauthor’s works, I do not think the obverse is the same.

  6. skeptacally says:

    Perhaps this would be better after a hit of scorpion tail.

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