In 1974, Enzo Mari published “Autoprogettazione” – a book of plans that can only be described as open source furniture. In it’s final form, the book was sent, for free, to anyone that asked for it. Really it was more of a project than a book, though. The purpose, says Mari, was to teach how to “judge current production with a critical eye”.
How is it possible to change the state of things? This is what I ask myself. How is it possible to accomplish the deconditioning of form as a value rather than as strictly corresponding to contact? The only way I know, in that it belongs to my field experience, is what becomes possible when critical thought is based on practical work. Therefore the only way should be to involve the user of a consumer item in the design and realization of the item design. Only by actually touching the diverse contradictions of the job is it possible to start to be free from such deeply rooted conditioning. But how is it possible to expect such an effort when the production tools are lacking as is, above all, the technical know-how, the technical culture it would take a fairly long time to acquire?
In the autumn months, I plan to adapt one of his table designs for an outdoor workbench.
Ever since OK Computer, I’ve loved Radiohead. I so admire how they’ve traveled their own path; and done so with immense commercial successful – selling over 30 million albums. I remember staying up late to support their pay-what-you-want release of “In Rainbows”. And then being inspired as hell when I learned they shot “House of Cards” (2008) using not cameras, but lasers. (The visualization was done using Processing. They even open sourced the data on Google Code!)
This past week Nigel Godrich, their longtime engineer / producer / musician, went after Spotify:
Streaming is obviously the music distribution model moving forward. I listen to Spotify. I think it’s an amazing product; but I totally agree with Nigel here, that doesn’t make it right for the channel to commodify artists to keep their share prices up.
Something’s got to change. Our industry (tech) is terrible at this sort of thing (music, apps, newspapers, …). I can’t tell you how many times people have told me, “Content is king.” You know what? It’s total bullshit. It’s ludicrous to pretend that ones and zeros are all created equal. Kill-off the ability of the creatives to make a living, and we’ll see how that “content” sounds.
I’m with Radiohead on this one. We need a rebellion.