Friday, January 27, 2006

Shaping Things

ISBN: 0262693267

Picks up where Sterling's Siggraph keynote of 2004 leaves off. That is available at:

Excellent stuff. Crammed with ideas. Sometimes his terminology and neologisms are a bit dodgy - he also forgets to explain that a SPIME is a 'speculative imaginary' object.

"Rapid prototyping is a form of brainstorming with materials. It's not simply a faster way to plunge through older methods of production, but a novel way to manage design and production. By previous standards, it looks as if it is profligate, that it "throws a lot away"- but with better data retention, "mistakes" become a source of wealth. Rapid prototyping seen in depth is an "exhaustion of the phase of the problem" - it isn't reasonable, thrifty or rational, but it has the brutal potency of a chess-playing computer." pp. 48.

There is some great stuff on the evolution of human engagement with objects: artifacts, machines, products, gizmos, spimes and biots. A nice diagram on the mirrored S-curve of technological adaption, too.

Sterling, B., Shaping things. 2005 (The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts).


Anonymous said...

the absolute best part of hearing Sterling give basically the same talk at Ars Electronica was the duel that ensued after his talk between Sterling and Krzysztof Wodiczko (looking like a prince in a cape-like thing), where Wodzy slapped him down very hard and got a round of applause. I believe the talk at Ars took a few darker turns, such as suggesting the elderly will blog everything because they have nothing better to do. etc.

John Marshall said...

Nothing particularly big or clever about a slap down. The book is definately more focused than the keynote. However, it is still speculation being offered up as a challenge to the future. Tools for the imagination to incrementally move us onto an alternate path.

Anonymous said...

hey John,
i know this post is old but I thought you would like to know about this event, if you don't know it already.

going through your blog.. very nice.

all the best,

Blog Archive

My Portfolio

John Marshall Portfolio

My Linkedin Profile

View John Marshall's profile on LinkedIn

rootoftwo's shared items


I am exploring a hybrid form of art and design practice through the use of computer-based design and fabrication tools. I am interested in experimental objects and spaces that are dynamic and responsive and seek to challenge perceptions, expectations and established behavior.

Creative Commons


Site Meter