Technology, toast and Twitter

The hybridization and cross-pollination of artistic expression, technology and social media has created some incredible works, products and marketing. Examples of amazing work like Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin’s “Listening Post” (one of my favorite installations of all time) and  “Vectorial Elevation” by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer illustrate some of the range of possibility on the purely artistic side.

In the consumer products arena we have Nike+ which is a personal and social tool for runners, there are toasters that message you when your toast is done (thanks Wired) and even sharks that let lifeguards know to clear the beach (thanks PSFK).

As we move deeper into this century these mash-ups have a few things in common with one another. They are often very innovative, they are often very beautiful, provocative and even practical. And increasingly they are tied to the past century in a nostalgic exploration of our favorite things from our past (read my earlier Retro-Modern post). Its as if the faster we move into our future the tighter we cling to images and relics from our comfortable past. For example, did you see this great new handset for your iPhone or iPad:

Moshi Moshi 01 from product designer Native Union

I think the main reason for this mash-up of nostalgia and technology trend is to make better connection for ourselves between the magic of technology and our personal interaction with it. As we develop new ways to do new things we may continue to cling to our old ways a little longer.

Technology, toast and Twitter.

3 Comments

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  1. I just read the article you mention and found this statement in it very connected to this conversation as well:

    “…much of what we own is identical to much of what other people own. Likewise, consumers are limited by the offerings of mass production, and are hard-pressed to purchase things that look or feel more personalized.”

    The iPhone (and other devices) lets you customize its skin and function to create you “own” version of the mass-produced device. I wonder when other manufacturer’s will catch on to this emerging trend (or consumer desire). Imagine GAP or Honda allowing us to modify their products to our personal specifications. I’ve seen it done with sports shoes… so maybe that’s coming too.

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  2. Interesting… this struck a chord with something I just read recently by Cherie Priest on Steampunk – http://theclockworkcentury.com/?p=165

    “Steampunks do not need to settle for what’s on the rack. At their best, steampunks either make their own clothes and jewelry or customize the clothes and jewelry that they already have. They cheerfully use unexpected (and sometimes, aggressively un-valuable) items for decorative purposes, and remix their wardrobes, their accessories, and their possessions to better meet their own aesthetic standards and fashion requirements.”

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