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Prolegomenon to Future Patina Studies — Design Science — Medium
"Over the course of the next year or so, I will be formally studying patina in all of its forms and in fact I have already been studying it for the better part of a year. I hope to speak of degradable materials, of the aging of products, devices, technological objects, of what might be called “transient technology”, “obsolescence” etc. I want to speak of sustainable design as well, cradle-to-cradle design, the life cycles of designs, as well as concepts of “upcycling” and so forth, where “Patina” takes on newer and deeper meanings, as a reflection or representation of the passage of time, with all of the concepts, in design and other disciplines, that come with such treatments.

In the end, I hope to come to a “general notion of Patina” that is applicable to all disciplines or domains that make use of the term and concept. I will be modelling patination processes formally, mathematically, and corrosion processes more generally. As a corollary to the physical process of patination/oxidation/corrosion, I also want to treat the concept of the appreciation in value over time of certain cultural artifacts, like antique furniture, for instance. In fact, I will be using antique furniture a great deal as a kind of toy model for treating of ideas related to patina in general.

The basic idea, and my approach, will be to generalize my research findings. They key will be the generalizability of my findings, and that’s what is going to “inform” or “inspire” the artworks that I will be making, usually as didactic reference materials FOR the research itself, as a sort of accompaniment. I will be taking certain points and “highlighting” them with digital images, sounds, and other artifacts. Hopefully, I can generalize patina to much more than a mere time-varying surface effect. For instance, it will be interesting to see how the concept of patina applies to digital artifacts, but of non-representational and non-visual natures, like digital audio. Or else we will look at user interfaces and see the differences in paradigms and styles and so forth over time. I will also be looking at cinema and video in general (and all media considered to be fundamentally “time-based”).

Lastly, let me just say this. In essence, the arts have always had everything to do with time. In fact, everything that humans do always necessarily takes place IN time and OVER time. If I paraphrase Eric Berne, the founder of Transactional Analysis, then everything humans do is just so many different ways of “structuring time”. Objects in the world exist — persist! — in time. What I think that I can add as an interdisciplinary artist and researcher is a slightly deeper understanding of what I might call “Qualities of Time”.

That is to say, we are all familiar with the “chronological” aspect of time, time as it is measured, whether it is in seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so on. That is the time that clocks tell, let’s call it “quantitative time”. “Qualitative time”, then, or “Qualities of Time” // “Time-Qualities”, are different. If we go back to the “birth” if you will of the Still life composition in painting, one finds the Vanitas, the Memento Mori, which have everything to do with the passage of time. In the Vanitas tradition, one finds elements, objects, that represent time and its passage: a human skull, or a candle, walnuts, etc. These were all utilized because they could stand in as metaphors for Time, its passage, timeboundedness itself. The term itself, Vanitas, is said to come from the book of Ecclesiastes, specifically from the phrase “vanity of vanities; all is vanity”.

Painting itself, and all writing along with it, is a form of telling time in the sense that it leaves a “mark”. The cultural artifact itself, whether it is a Sumerian clay tablet or a medieval painting, is essentially a “mark” left by the passage of time, and of humans living at that time. Culture, then, can leave a “mark” on the overall environment or “milieu” if you will. Elsewhere and at another time, I hope to develop my theory of culture, especially of the concept of “habitance” which has to do with the marks that peoples and their cultures leave on the milieux that they “inhabit”. I mention all of this as background information that will become more and more useful as I study Patina.

For this formal study of Patina is not a study of Patina for its own sake; I hope to prove that in the arts & culture industry, nothing is ever only for its own sake. There is always more to come. It is always a work-in-progress, ongoing, unfinished, open-ended. This study of Patina is only the beginning."
patina  beausage  time  degradation  habitance  2016 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves - The New York Times
"When I was 13, in the early 1990s, I dug through my parents’ cache of vinyl records from the ’60s and ’70s. We still had a phonograph, so I played some of them, concentrating on the Beatles. Their bigger hits were inescapably familiar, but a number of their songs were new to me.

Were I a teenager in 2015, I may not have found “Lovely Rita” or acquired an early taste at all for the Liverpudlian lads. The albums stacked up next to the record player, in plain sight for years, would be invisible MP3s on a computer or phone that I didn’t own. Their proximal existence could have been altogether unknown to me"



"There are several big upsides to growing up with streaming audio, one of which is accessibility: assuming I was interested enough, I could have explored, for free, the Beatles’ catalog on the Internet far beyond the scope of my parents’ collection.

But in our digital conversion of media (perhaps buttressed by application of the popular KonMari method of decluttering), physical objects have been expunged at a cost. Aside from the disappearance of record crates and CD towers, the loss of print books and periodicals can have significant repercussions on children’s intellectual development.

Perhaps the strongest case for a household full of print books came from a 2014 study published in the sociology journal Social Forces. Researchers measured the impact of the size of home libraries on the reading level of 15-year-old students across 42 nations, controlling for wealth, parents’ education and occupations, gender and the country’s gross national product.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

The implications are clear: Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically. It helps, of course, if parents are reading to their children and reading themselves, not simply buying books by the yard as décor.

“It is a big question of whether it’s the books themselves or the parental scholarly culture that matters — we’re guessing it’s somewhere in between,” said Mariah Evans, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. “The books partly reflect intelligence.”

Although the study did not account for e-books, as they’re not yet available in enough countries, Dr. Evans said in theory they could be just as effective as print books in encouraging literacy.

“But what about the casual atmosphere of living in a bookish world, and being intrigued to pull something off the shelf to see what it’s like?” she asked. “I think that will depend partly on the seamless integration of our electronic devices in the future.”"



"Digital media trains us to be high-bandwidth consumers rather than meditative thinkers. We download or stream a song, article, book or movie instantly, get through it (if we’re not waylaid by the infinite inventory also offered) and advance to the next immaterial thing.

Poking through physical artifacts, as I did with those Beatles records, is archival and curatorial; it forces you to examine each object slowly, perhaps sample it and come across a serendipitous discovery.

Scrolling through file names on a device, on the other hand, is what we do all day long, often mindlessly, in our quest to find whatever it is we’re already looking for as rapidly as possible. To see “The Beatles” in a list of hundreds of artists in an iTunes database is not nearly as arresting as holding the album cover for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Consider the difference between listening to music digitally versus on a record player or CD. On the former, you’re more likely to download or stream only the singles you want to hear from an album. The latter requires enough of an investment — of acquiring it, but also of energy in playing it — that you stand a better chance of committing and listening to the entire album.

If I’d merely clicked on the first MP3 track of “Sgt. Pepper’s” rather than removed the record from its sleeve, placed it in the phonograph and carefully set the needle over it, I may have become distracted and clicked elsewhere long before the B-side “Lovely Rita” played.

And what of sentiment? Jeff Bezos himself would have a hard time defending the nostalgic capacity of a Kindle. azw file over that of a tattered paperback. Data files can’t replicate the lived-in feel of a piece of beloved art. To a child, a parent’s dog-eared book is a sign of a mind at work and of the personal significance of that volume.

A crisp JPEG of the cover design on a virtual shelf, however, looks the same whether it’s been reread 10 times or not at all. If, that is, it’s ever even seen."
books  digital  analog  music  browsing  2015  streaming  collections  visibility  sharing  children  learning  reading  literacy  cds  audio  patina  beausage  ebooks  data  teddywayne 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Challenge of Digital Patina | Project Evolution
"I challenge designers and developers to start to integrate “digital patina” into their application design and UIs. What is digital patina? Let me give you a few examples:

• Your smartphone’s homescreen may display “trails” from where your finger has touched most often, like a desk that wears over time under your arms.

• The most used icons show a wear-and-tear around the edges over time. Maybe the color rubs off like the keys on an old keyboard, maybe there is a slight stain or darkening around the edges from the oils on your finger. When the icon changes or is moved, the stain remains as a sort of ghost.

• Or the opposite happens. The most used icons remain bright and shiny, polished from use. The icons that are not used fade or darken over time, displaying their neglect.

• Maybe in a painting/drawing program, constant use shows little bits of paint and marker trails on the UI. Evidence of paintings past.

• A digital object may be designed to “age” – slowly over time, its color changes or fades, according to the time it has been active – or an object may show signs of wear and tear from the pattern of interactions. Or it may be designed to do both.

I did not coin the phrase. In fact, Mark Boulton first blogged about this idea in May 2012, in his article titled, simply, “Digital Patina”. In it, he outlines the basic idea, the need for digital things to impart their own “flavor” on the world. His open-ended article started me down the path of thinking about what digital patina could really be.
We talk about Patina as sheen – a thing that changes appearance over time. That change can be damaging, or it can give an object more value. It does this by demonstrating what it’s been through. In the case of a pair of jeans, it’s the little rip, the pen mark, the small hole that’s been repaired in the pocket. In chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing.

Now the idea of “wok-hey” might be a bit too much to think about right now. Where do we take that idea when we talk about applications? Should our Yahoo account started in 1999 have a different flavor in its messages than someone else’s shiny new Gmail account? Are texts sent from your year-old smartphone imparted with a scratchy old-film quality? That might be taking things too far. What I like is the idea that our actions and the way in which we use an application can leave a mark, a signature, of our use over time.

Why digital patina? Why is it important?

Well, I feel that what is missing in this digital age is the evidence that we are humans using a system, application, whatever… There is no way for us to leave a mark on the object that we use all the time. Sure, the phone itself imparts its own patina, but that’s it. Without patina, there is no history. Without history, there is very little attachment to the thing. It is much easier to throw out the teddy bear that your Aunt got you that you never quite liked and still looks brand new. It is much harder to get rid of the teddy bear that you loved, even if it is missing and eye and has a strange stain on one of its legs. That stain, those worn spots, that is our mark, proof that we have an effect on this world and that our love and constant use of an object takes a little of that objects perfection away from it, which makes us love it more.

Let me note that this is not a call for more and more skeuomorphism in UI design. The idea of digital patina can be applied to even the slickest, non-faux-anything UI design. What digital patina aims to do, I hope, is give the user a sense that they have left a mark on this digital object. That this object has a life and a history, and that history helps us make an emotional connection to it.

As an argument against skeuomorphism, I think this is a world where the visual cliches will soon be irrelevant. The kids picking up smartphones today don’t remember leather desk calendars, they never used a typewriter, they perhaps don’t even have a favorite, well worn novel. Their world could be full of shiny apps that never age, or degrade into bits to be left behind as a ghost of ones and zeros. They might not feel an attachment to their tools of communication, and therefore have very little need for an emotional attachment to objects. Objects, then, become just as forgettable and disposable as the applications on their home screens.

What I am talking about is surface details, I know. It seems to be the low-hanging fruit at the moment, while we think more about Mark Boulton’s challenge to impart “wok hey”. If we start down this path, though, and explore what it means to impact digital patina, than ways in which an application or digital object can have “wok hey” may become more apparent.

The age of digital objects moves rapidly, I know. Most people hang on to a smartphone or tablet for an average of a year before they upgrade. The maximum age may be around 2 years for most pieces of technology. The time in which individual applications are used may be very short, I also admit that. Admittedly, this “patina” would happen in a relatively short time frame. While this may seem like romanticism, what I trying to concentrate on is the connection between people and the objects they love and use every day. In some ways, digital patina might make people appreciate the “new and shiny” when they upgrade their device.

I for one, would prefer that we design a digital world that replicates the positive things about the real world and translates them in a new way. Leaving your mark, having objects that tell a story and have a history with you, that’s a positive thing."
digitalpatina  patina  digital  beausage  skeuomorphism  jhogue  2012  ui  ux  design  grahicdesign  usage  time  slow 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Digital Patina | Journal | The Personal Disquiet of Mark Boulton
"The opening scene in Jaws still gives me goose-bumps.

It’s a dark, moonlit night and a group of increasingly drunk teenagers are sat in the dunes playing guitar and listening to the crackle of a camp fire. You can almost smell the smoke and pheromones.

Chrissie, and her would-be admirer, take off for a swim. Where she is promptly attacked, and eaten, by the star of the film. That first scene is horrific. Mostly because it seems so real. The actress is crying, screaming and writhing in completely believable pain. That’s because – according to some – she was. The frame that was holding her was attached to the sea floor and then two ropes were taken up to the beach where teams of men pulled them back and forth. Apparently, she broke ribs in that scene.

It’s over an hour before we see the fish in Jaws. And that was accidental. Everything broke. ‘Bruce’ – the name of the fish – just broke down all the time. The film we see, when we watch Jaws, is not how it was intended. Instead, the music was the fish.

Jaws is coming up for thirty years old. Over that time, Jaws has aged well. What I find interesting is that the ‘Patina’ of the film didn’t rely on fancy technology. Accidently, it relied on being honest with the materials it used: sound, light and great acting.

We talk about Patina as sheen – a thing that changes appearance over time. That change can be damaging, or it can give an object more value. It does this by demonstrating what it’s been through. In the case of a pair of jeans, it’s the little rip, the pen mark, the small hole that’s been repaired in the pocket.

In chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing. Not all woks are alike. This one is mine. And all that.

Working with this definition of flavour as a Patina – which is imparted over time – got me thinking about digital products. The problem with digital products – our websites, applications, phone applications etc – is they don’t age the same way as some physical things. They either don’t age at all: locked in a permanent state whilst the world changes around them. Or they age in the same way plastic does: slowly decaying into tiny chunks that float about for eternity. Always there. Never to be used. Of little significant value. You see, producing digital products is not a sustainable practice.

How can we impart a digital patina on the things we use. What is the flavour of an application? Iteration? Code? UX?

I believe digital patina can be achieved in products that are designed to last. Built honestly, using the true materials of the web and minimal on cliched skeuomorphic concepts. Being true to our materials will produce better, more sustainable stuff. Stuff that will age well. Stuff that will become more useful and more beautiful with age. How can we impart flavour to our work?

Let’s stop designing things that turn into little bits that float about. Always decaying.

That’s a sad story."
patina  digitalpatina  degradation  time  beausage  2012  digital 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Intimacy and Digital Patina | Mattie Brice
"From embodiment and kink to luxury and tea, I see myself reaching for something solid to hold onto. I feel disconnected from digital art and environments, and resist how much conversation is centered around theorizing the digital. There’s more to play than video games, and a lot can be learned if we stretch beyond this genre and find more relationships in other places concerned with play. Admittedly, there is some distaste, bitterness, for the digital experience within me that I have to grapple with. I feel completely repelled, like a fugue lifted and I see a land of nightmares, and want nothing to do with it. But that would be unfair, and also throw away a lot of work that I’ve done with games. So I wanted to investigate what made me feel so distant from video games that attracted me to the looser, more intimate-feeling play currently grabbing my attention. I want to believe that there is more playfulness that video games has yet to focus on, something that can deepen our bonds to play and life. The tension then lies within the apparent immateriality of digital games, which are still subject to principles of object design yet rarely attain certain qualities of objecthood that we expect from physical experiences.

Video games feel distinctly like products, made for consumption but not necessarily use. It’s easy to enter a malaise of ennui, your Steam library having many games you’ll never touch and mobile games only one slight iteration away from the other. Digital game design is focused on an attention economy, how to grab you, keep you engrossed for as long as possible, and have you spend as much while they’ve got you. Because design is so focused on this kind of consumerism, video games enable cycles of disposability, where you buy something with the knowledge that you’re going to replace it with the next version soon after. This is ultimately unsustainable as we see with companies trying to shove life into harried sequels and remakes. You won’t get too attached because there will always be something similar fighting for your attention, and it is rare that something will be uniquely special to you. Typical game design acts as wedge between player and experience, trying to tap into your short-term worth at the expense of your long-term investment. Video games rarely make you care. You might get to know video games, but video games don’t really get to know you. They keep themselves on the screen and often don’t conjure intimacy with the physical interfaces between you and the experience. It knows you can just load up another game in the same manner that you accessed this one. Because what is being sold is some abstract immersion, a sort of mental drug trip, there is little legacy it can leave behind, having a profound effect through your use. Passing down games will soon go extinct between planned obsolescence and constant hype cycles for the new. Instead, we are left with empty, pandering nostalgia, sucking desperately at a straw and only getting the watered down remnants of a high long ago crashed.

This circles me back to the question of intimacy in games. There is an accepted fault of contemporary video games that intimacy, both in feeling and as a topic, are not its strengths. I doubt that it’s a weakness of the form, rather an outcome of canonized design practices. I have my own hunches for play in general, but digital games in particular prove tricky to find intimacy outside of a now quiet trend of autobiographical games. Is there a design concept out there that can reliably point someone towards crafting more intimate digital games?

My search lead me to digital patina, a technique in user interface design that builds on an apparently divisive skeuomorphic trend popularized by Apple. In short, digital patina creates artificial wear and tear to your digital products as you use them, particularly the ones that are already designed to resemble their physical analogues. So if your contacts app looked like an old-school address book, then there would be signs of usage around the tabs and pages you used the most. Despite handwringing over going into too deep of ideological territory, J. Houge notes “without patina, there is no history. Without history, there is very little attachment to the thing.” This evokes our typical relationship with objects, that it’s harder to part with an heirloom passed down in your family than with something you got at H&M. But this form of digital patina is still a couple steps away from design that helps solidify meaningful relationships, since this is purely about visuals. He cites something closer to what I’m thinking from Mark Boulton, who ties the analogy of digital patina to wok hey:

“In Chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing. Not all woks are alike. This one is mine.”

For him, patina would be a practice in making a digital product uniquely the user’s, turning a mass-produced object into uniquely yours through personal use. Meaning, the experience that the product, or in our case, a game, can offer is changed by its unique circumstances. It imbues its idiosyncrasies in everything it touches that differs from person to person.

It’s tempting to assume that games with user-generated content or general sandbox types fulfill this idea. But that’s the topical application, the game itself is still the same and produces the same kind of experience. Though there is a strong player-evangelist edge in contemporary design philosophies, it stays within the digital ephemera, that a player will feel agency but not actually have agency. Agency isn’t really a good word for this, rather an effect, that a player can affect the actual design and use of a game as a part of the construction of the experience. The point isn’t to be able to do whatever you want in a game, rather that a game shapes itself around your natural motions and in turn reads as something idiosyncratic of you.

While it isn’t at the level that I’m thinking of, I see this happen with games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, particularly with the consequences of actions in one game transferring over to the next. The choices are still topical and don’t really change the game itself, but the way players often talk about the games taps into what I’m speaking to. Look through fan discussion of these games and you’ll see people say “my Shepherd,” indicating that the boilerplate main character has been ‘seasoned’ with their playthrough to amount to a unique character. Speaking from personal experience, there is an investment on having particular kinds of playthroughs, like your ‘fresh’ run that is a result of playing the game without knowledge of any of the choices, and a ‘true’ run that is a meticulously curated save file that has all the choices you feel represents the most interesting story and what you’ll use to base your headcanon. The save files become a part of a legacy that you want to carry with you and retain, and many people grow attached to these personalized kinds of games. I don’t think this exemplifies my argument, rather shows what we can start from in contemporary design to push beyond what we have now.

Games that evolve over time intrinsically have the potential to evoke their own wok hey, because the tiny choices build up over time that build up into unique structures that are hard to replicate. I think about games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing that focus on longer cycles of engagement, where you have different ways to save the farm and interact with the village, and while these things don’t quantitatively differentiate too much, the experience that we build up with it makes an emotional impression on, and of, us. In essence, this is trying to make digital games more life-like, things that grow with us than expecting to be cast aside, filling up the trash heaps of our lives. Maybe it’s just me, but I ache for these sorts of games to be iterated on again, to further entrench themselves in our lives. A lot of my fantasy video game projects are inspired by experiences like Harvest Moon and would turn out to be an imprint of your experience. Like playing through a game shows an aspect of yourself that isn’t easily visible without its particular focus.

What patina looks like in game design could still use some discussion. I do have some investment in it though, there’s something romantic about design made for you to personally express yourself through mundanity. The reason why contemporary games don’t really do this well is because all instances of change must be grand and explicitly telegraphed. Life isn’t like that though, we are slow buildups of tiny effects and motions, and it isn’t until we take time to reflect that we see we’re something different from the past. This would be a game trying to translate how you exist, how you affect the world by just being, what it is like for you to just touch something or think a thought. I think we crave those sorts of things, to see reflections of ourselves, to see that we do make a mark and matter. So far, video games mostly tap into sedative design, numbing us to the world so we can feel important or centered in some way. But instead, I think there’s design that can make us feel more alive through the mundane acts in our lives, to find how we move through the world its own kind of magic."

[See also: http://www.projectevolution.com/activity/challenge-digital-patina/
http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/digital-patina ]
mattiebrice  games  gaming  videogames  gamedesign  consumerism  capitalism  disposability  consumption  intimacy  jhouge  markboulton  patina  harvestmoon  animalcrossing  engagement  time  beausage  slow  digital  digitalpatina  degradation 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Repair Your Own Jeans | Submitted For Your Perusal
[via: https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/552690009028198402 ]

"[video embedded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXL0X193HDw ]

The white patch thing is one of Vlieseline’s many iron-on interfacings but I’m not sure which one. More information — including a link to order a free repair kit — can be found at the Nudie Jeans website.

Jeans, like leaves in the fall, are at their most beautiful just before they disintegrate. This guy’s got the right idea: [image]"
matthomas  jeans  denim  mending  2012  sewing  beausage  repair  slothes  clothing  fixing  repairing 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Svetlana Boym | Off-Modern Manifesto
"1. A Margin of Error

“It's not my fault. Communication error has occurred,” my computer pleads with me in a voice of lady Victoria. First it excuses itself, then urges me to pay attention, to check my connections, to follow the instructions carefully. I don't. I pull the paper out of the printer prematurely, shattering the image, leaving its out takes, stripes of transience, inkblots and traces of my hands on the professional glossy surface. Once the disoriented computer spat out a warning across the image “Do Not Copy,” an involuntary water mark that emerged from the depth of its disturbed memory. The communication error makes each print unrepeatable and unpredictable. I collect the computer errors. An error has an aura.

To err is human, says a Roman proverb. In the advanced technological lingo the space of humanity itself is relegated to the margin of error. Technology, we are told, is wholly trustworthy, were it not for the human factor. We seem to have gone full circle: to be human means to err. Yet, this margin of error is our margin of freedom. It's a choice beyond the multiple choices programmed for us, an interaction excluded from computerized interactivity. The error is a chance encounter between us and the machines in which we surprise each other. The art of computer erring is neither high tech nor low tech. Rather it’s broken-tech. It cheats both on technological progress and on technological obsolescence. And any amateur artist can afford it. Art's new technology is a broken technology.

Or shall we call it dysfunctional, erratic, nostalgic? Nostalgia is a longing for home that no longer exists or most likely, has never existed. That non-existent home is akin to an ideal communal apartment where art and technology co-habited like friendly neighbours or cousins. Techne, after all, once referred to arts, crafts and techniques. Both art and technology were imagined as the forms of human prosthesis, the missing limbs, imaginary or physical extensions of the human space."



2. Short Shadows, Endless Surfaces



Broken-tech art is an art of short shadows. It turns our attention to the surfaces, rims and thresholds. From my ten years of travels I have accumulated hundreds of photographs of windows, doors, facades, back yards, fences, arches and sunsets in different cities all stored in plastic bags under my desk. I re-photograph the old snapshots with my digital camera and the sun of the other time and the other place cast new shadows upon their once glossy surfaces with stains of the lemon tea and fingerprints of indifferent friends. I try not to use the preprogrammed special effects of Photoshop; not because I believe in authenticity of craftsmanship, but because I equally distrust the conspiratorial belief in the universal simulation. I wish to learn from my own mistakes, let myself err. I carry the pictures into new physical environments, inhabit them again, occasionally deviating from the rules of light exposure and focus.

At the same time I look for the ready-mades in the outside world, “natural” collages and ambiguous double exposures. My most misleading images are often “straight photographs.” Nobody takes them for what they are, for we are burdened with an afterimage of suspicion.

Until recently we preserved a naive faith in photographic witnessing. We trusted the pictures to capture what Roland Barthes called “the being there” of things. For better or for worse, we no longer do. Now images appear to us as always already altered, a few pixels missing here and there, erased by some conspiratorial invisible hand. Moreover, we no longer analyse these mystifying images but resign to their pampering hypnosis. Broken- tech art reveals the degrees of our self-pixelization, lays bare hypnotic effects of our cynical reason.




3. Errands, Transits.



4. A Critic, an Amateur

If in the 1980s artists dreamed of becoming their own curators and borrowed from the theorists, now the theorists dream of becoming artists. Disappointed with their own disciplinary specialization, they immigrate into each other's territory. The lateral move again. Neither backwards nor forwards, but sideways. Amateur's out takes are no longer excluded but placed side-by-side with the non-out takes. I don't know what to call them anymore, for there is little agreement these days on what these non-out takes are.

But the amateur's errands continue. An amateur, as Barthes understood it, is the one who constantly unlearns and loves, not possessively, but tenderly, inconstantly, desperately. Grateful for every transient epiphany, an amateur is not greedy."
philosophy  technology  svetlanaboym  via:ablerism  off-modern  canon  nostalgia  human  humanism  amateurs  unlearning  love  loving  greed  selflessness  homesickness  broken  broken-tech  art  beausage  belatedness  newness  leisurearts  walterbenjamin  errors  fallibility  erring  henribergson  billgates  prosthetics  artists  imagination  domestication  play  jaques-henrilartigue  photography  film  fiction  shadows  shortshadows  nearness  distance  balance  thresholds  rims  seams  readymade  rolandbarthes  cynicism  modernity  internationalstyle  evreyday  transience  ephemeral  ephemerality  artleisure 
november 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: winky dink and you
"The price & delicacy of screens means we've learned to treat them w/ enormous reverence & care. We polish them. Keep them in cases. Don't draw on them.

I wonder if this reverence was what led to…horrified reactions when I painted my macbook w/ blackboard paint.

But that's going to have to change…We're going to be carrying them around, pawing & dabbing them w/ our fingers too much to keep treating them that delicately. I bet that means we'll get new aesthetics for screens & their boxes. More tolerant of damage & dirt. & if it doesn't happen w/ glowing rectangles it'll definitely happen when we get E Ink everywhere…Scuffed & patinaed screens.

I remember wondering the same about cars - whether the industry would develop a less shiny aesthetic…it's starting to happen. There are a couple of cars round us with an aftermarket matte black finish. They look brilliant, sinister & subtle. It's a high-end, expensive thing…but I bet it migrates through modding scene & into mainstream."
russelldavies  modification  post-digital  apple  screens  stickers  interaction  design  cars  mattepaint  eink  patina  beausage  aesthetics  delicate  glowingrectangles 
november 2010 by robertogreco
pass the baton tokyo vintage shop
"pass the baton - this vintage shop promotes a new idea of recycling : pass on things that you truly love. the idea is that if an object is used and not needed anymore, people can pass it along without making new goods

(and potential waste). so that each new owner can create their own new memories. 'pass the baton' is a new personal culture marketplace in japan, a country where the idea of buying used items is not really appreciated. this could change quickly, the bricks-and-mortar flagship store in the center of tokyo offers buyers and sellers a fashionable forum for exchange. as a member of the 'pass the baton' initiative, people can sell as simply as one would at a flea market, but with the added dimension of optioning proceeds to charity. 50% of the proceedings are distributed to the seller. the seller will then contribute a part or all of proceeds to one of several social action groups through the non-profit organization charity platform (NPO)."
reuse  used  nonproduct  charity  vintage  retail  tokyo  glvo  japan  secondhand  beausage  resa;e  readymade  lcproject  unproduct 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The life of products – Blog – BERG
"Products are not nouns but verbs. A product designed as a noun will sit passively in a home, an office, or pocket. It will likely have a focus on aesthetics, and a list of functions clearly bulleted in the manual… but that’s it.

Products can be verbs instead, things which are happening, that we live alongside. We cross paths with our products when we first spy them across a crowded shop floor, or unbox them, or show a friend how to do something with them. We inhabit our world of activities and social groups together… a product designed with this in mind can look very different."

[Related: http://berglondon.com/blog/2010/09/03/patina/ ]
products  use  actions  experience  engagement  berg  berglondon  meaning  apple  interaction  2006  design  mattwebb  beausage  patina 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Patina – Blog – BERG
"I’m not sure patina can be designed. After all, it’s a product of the relationship between product and owner.

The form it takes can be shaped – by the materials used in a product, by the nature and frequency of operations that an owner might perform. I suppose that a product can be designed to age gracefully, to wear attractively; it’s just the exact nature of that wear that’s out of a designer’s hands.

In considering the patina a product might develop, you of course have to ask a series of interesting questions: about longevity, about sustainability, about materials, about manufacturing. Going beyond “peak X” and towards “resilient X”, as Matt J said. But I think the most interesting questions – at the very heart of that consideration – are emotional ones. “What if someone adores your product? What if someone really does want to make a product a part of their life? What will your product look like when it’s been worn into the ground by virtue of its own success?”"

[Don't miss this too: http://berglondon.com/blog/2006/11/22/the-life-of-products/ ]
patina  beausage  berg  berglondon  tomarmitage  wear  materials  longevity  productsasverbs  relationships 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero — Anonymous asked: What advice would you give to a graphic design student? [This is not just for graphic design students.]
"Look people in the eyes when you are talking or listening to them. The best teachers are the ones who treat their classrooms like a workplace, & the worst are ones who treat their classroom like a classroom as we’ve come to expect it… Libraries are a good place. The books are free there, & it smells great… beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free & burns on time & empathy… The best communicators are gift-givers… Don’t become dependent on having other people pull it out of you while you’re in school. If you do, you’re hosed once you graduate. Keep two books on your nightstand at all times: one fiction, one non-fiction… Buy lightly used. Patina is a pretty word & beautiful concept… Learn to write, & not school-style writing… Most important things happen at a table. Food, friends, discussion, ideas, work, peace talks & war plans. It is okay to romanticize things a little bit every now & then: it gives you hope… Everyone is just making it up as they go along."

[Book list: http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/993864785/you-put-together-the-remarkable-text-playlist-along ]
advice  design  education  frankchimero  empathy  thoughtfulness  patina  beausage  teaching  learning  interestingness  libraries  books  work  life  careers  glvo  tcsnmy  writing  craft  whatmatters  meaning  mindfulness  hope  truth  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  gifts  self-directed  self-education  relationships  discipline  graphics  graphicdesign  tools  wisdom  toshare  topost 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Wabi-sabi - Wikipedia
"Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous & characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty & it "occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty & perfection in West." "if an object or expression can bring about, w/in us, a sense of serene melancholy & a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." "[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging 3 simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, & nothing is perfect."

Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, & can be applied to both natural & human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks & anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness & elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object & its impermanence are evidenced in its patina & wear, or in any visible repairs."
patina  beausage  imperfection  unfinished  aesthetics  architecture  art  beauty  buddhism  design  culture  japan  japanese  simplicity  perfection  poetry  philosophy  zen  wabi-sabi  marceltheroux  johnconnell  jesserichards  coding  software  refinement  via:lukeneff  melancholy  tcsnmy 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Name This Aesthetic | Ask Metafilter
"Is there a name or term for the aesthetic these blogs contain?...there is a definite theme & aesthetic quality in a lot of the blogs I read. But when trying to relate this to a friend yesterday, I realized I can't seem to figure out what it is or even quite how to describe it. It bothers me even more because this aesthetic is very similar to things I('d like to) wear, things I collect, how I decorate areas in my room, etc, which is likely why I read them in the first place. It's not just the vintage stuff, but that is a large part. There's a lot of overlap between them in modern things as well, & I think this combination of the two is rather important. So what's the name for this aesthetic & how can I describe/define it? And as a side question, are there blogs/resources where I can find more of the same? The blogs are: A Continuous Lean, The Material Review (a tumblr blog by the same guy who does A Continuous Lean), A Time to Get, Cold Splinters, Secret Forts"
terminology  americana  vintage  retro  beausage  amekaji  aesthetics  blogs  hauteamericana  newantiquarian  lightbluecollar  wabi-sabi 
october 2009 by robertogreco
travelling slowly: Worn Out
"30 years in business. Open 7 days a week. Bread to bake, money to make. All those clients have worn out the floor, I said. You should see round the other side of the counter, she said. Come and have a look."
beausage  chile  wabi-sabi 
july 2009 by robertogreco
A Continuous Lean.
"A Continuous Lean is about things. American things, good looking things, well designed things and all sorts of other things. Sometimes A Continuous Lean even talks about people and ideas. That’s it, keep it simple. More good, less bad."
us  beausage  clothing  fashion  style  culture  design  americana  history  madeinusa  shoes  wabi-sabi 
july 2009 by robertogreco
unconsumption
"Consumption = word used to describe acts of acquisition...of things, in exchange for money. Unconsumption is a word used to describe everything that happens after an act of acquisition...an invisible badge...accomplishment of properly recycling your old cellphone, rather than the guilt of letting it sit in a drawer...thrill of finding a new use for something you were about to throw away...pleasure of using a service like Freecycle to find a new home for the functioning VCR you just replaced, rather than throwing it in garbage...enjoying things you own to the fullest – not just at moment of acquisition...pleasure of using a pair of sneakers until they are truly worn out – as opposed to nagging feeling of defeat when they simply go out of style...feeling good about simple act of turning off lights when you leave room...not about rejection or demonization of things...not a bunch of rules...an idea, set of behaviors, way of thinking about consumption itself from a new perspective...free."

[wiki here: http://unconsumption.pbworks.com/ ]
unconsumption  sustainability  consumption  consumerism  design  culture  trends  green  recycling  simplicity  luxury  value  unproduct  upcycling  beausage  plannedlongevity  thriftiness  thrifting  thrift  glvo  diy  make  dowithout  wabi-sabi 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Luxury-Goods Makers Embrace Sustainability - NYTimes.com
"Many in the industry now speak of the need to go from a world that had embraced a concept of "fast fashion" -- where dresses or handbags are designed and produced quickly to meet the latest fad and then thrown away the next season -- to one that embraces "slow fashion," where goods are made by hand and meant to endure for decades. This nascent "slow fashion" movement has taken its cues from the now-popular "slow food" movement, which -- besides emphasizing slow cooking methods -- has also made efforts to support small, local farmers and to promote the use of local, seasonal produce."
slow  slowfashion  beausage  longevity  sustainability  endurance  luxury  trends  fads  glvo  wabi-sabi 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Platform 21 - Platform21 = Repairing
"Platform21 = Repairing starts from the notion that repair, as a creative, cultural and economical force is underestimated. With this, an incredibly rich body of knowledge, a part of our independence and pleasure could be lost. This situation is especially puzzling if you consider the global interest in other durable visions like recycling, and the cradle-to-cradle philosophy. Hence Platform21 = Repairing wants to create more awareness of a mentality, culture and practice that not so long ago was completely integrated in life and the way we designed it. It is not too late though."

[see also: http://www.good.is/?p=15984 ]
repairing  repair  sustainability  diy  make  environment  beausage  plannedlongevity  plannedobsolescence  future  manifestos  platform21  wabi-sabi 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Andy Budd::Blogography: Why I Can't Afford Cheap
"Too poor to buy cheap. That simple phase really resonated with me and has stuck with me ever since.

Cheap is quick. Cheap is dirty. Cheap is disposable.

Cheap breaks.

Cheap costs money. It costs money to fix, it costs money to replace.

Cheap seems like a good idea at the time but cheap fails when you most need it.

Cheap is flimsy and unsatisfying.

Cheap is inefficient.

Cheap gets in your way.

Cheap costs you time and it costs you customers.

Cheap always cost you more in the end. That’s why I can’t afford to buy cheap. Can you?"
via:migurski  quality  affordability  money  wisdom  sustainability  time  services  longevity  beausage  business  life  value  shopping  design  price  slow  simplicity  wabi-sabi 
february 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: from product to project
"So I've been thinking about how I can continue to projectise this product. And how this bag can have a 10-year + story. So I'm trying to add spimeiness to it and to use internet stuff as a memory aid for this thing. So, I've created a unique URL for it at thinglink, in the spirit of the skuwiki idea. And I've built a tumblblog for it at HMDbag.tumblr.com. That tumblr extracts things from flickr and delicious that I've tagged appropriately, so it's sort of self-generating. I imagine telling the story of the life of the bag that way, keeping it as a project not a product.

But what would be really nice would be if it could tell its own story more. Generate its own data. I could attach an RFID tag, but I'm not quite sure what would ever read it. I guess ideally it would have it's own GPS logging stick sewn in. Or something. The good thing though, about a 10-year + project is that you don't have to have it all sorted at the begining."
brucesterling  design  sustainability  russelldavies  manufacturing  howies  bags  rfid  spimes  brands  products  stories  gps  physical  things  unproduct  beausage  plannedobsolescence  plannedlongevity  glvo  wabi-sabi 
january 2009 by robertogreco
HAND-ME-DOWN
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20091223032056/http://hmd.howies.co.uk/

"These products have been made to last. So that one day you can hand them down to someone else. And they can carry on their little journeys."
sustainability  howies  reuse  manufacturing  bags  vintage  glvo  apparel  clothing  environment  spimes  rfid  fashion  organic  shopping  plannedobsolescence  plannedlongevity  beausage  wabi-sabi 
january 2009 by robertogreco
3quarksdaily - On the hysteria of partial disorder: A short rant
"Accepting a certain kind of disorder and natural decay are paramount to good design, particularly in architecture, and it is the concern of an ever-decreasing number of designers. It leads to the kind of buildings that age with grace and evolve with time—not those whose illusion is so easily shattered. It’s sad to see that such obvious and accurate criticisms such as Tati’s, articulated fifty years ago, have fallen on such deaf ears."
architecture  design  modernism  beausage  decay  perfectionism  wabi-sabi 
october 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: patina
"But you can pick materials that age well, show their patina gracefully. Formica being one. Leather. Wood. They show you that they've been used. And how. (And peeling paint seems to give you the aesthetic quite quickly.) And then the back half of Matt's presentation from Picnic made me realise that I get the feeling of patina from some web things too."
aging  patina  beausage  russelldavies  design  wabi-sabi 
september 2008 by robertogreco
David Barrie: Will it make a beautiful ruin?
"now energy, economic cycles...logic for nuclear power, challenge remains for designers, landscape urbanists, politicians, engineers...best expressed by Basil Spence, original architect of Trawsfynydd station...question he asked in 1963:"
energy  engineering  architecture  design  beausage  manageddecay  future  sustainability  environment  uk  wales  urban  landscape  wabi-sabi 
february 2008 by robertogreco
the nonist - Long Duration Love Affair
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20130216141615/http://thenonist.com/index.php/thenonist/permalink/long_distance_love_affair/ ]

"That cylindrical object you see pictured above is a roughly school-bus sized structure which was deployed into space in 1984. It orbited the Earth for five and a half years with nothing expected of it other than to float there, getting battered about by whatever the great black yonder saw fit to throw at it. You see, every inch of its outside surface was covered with Science. 57 separate experiments, mounted in 86 trays, involving the participation of “more than 200 principal investigators from 33 private companies, 21 universities, seven NASA centers, nine Department of Defense laboratories and eight foreign countries.” Its purpose was to study the effects of space on a multitude of materials. Its name is the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and I am deeply in love with it."

[Permalink: http://thenonist.com/index.php/thenonist/permalink/long_distance_love_affair/ ]
science  space  nasa  nostalgia  exposure  engineering  design  art  time  wear  research  materials  beausage  patina  nonist 
january 2008 by robertogreco
palimpsest: Definition and Much More from Answers.com
"a manuscript written on a surface from which an earlier text has been partly or wholly erased. Palimpsests were common in the Middle Ages before paper became available, because of the high cost of parchment and vellum. In a figurative sense, the term is sometimes applied to a literary work that has more than one ‘layer’ or level of meaning."
words  definitions  beausage  recycling  art  age  history  illustration  time  decay  archaeology  memory  remnants  wabi-sabi  palimpsest 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Subtraction: Designed Deterioation
"An object should be designed not just for sale, but also for day to day wear and tear. With use, this iPhone should get more attractive, should become like a trusted and inseparable friend."
beausage  design  use  productdesign  products  iphone  ipod  industrial  apple  age  ux  beauty  wear  plannedobsolescence  obsolescence  sustainability  architecture  capitalism  consumerism  reuse  hardware  wabi-sabi 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: Speed of Learning, Simplicity
"Should touch-screen keys fade the more you use them? And if you lend your 'digitally worn' touch screen device to someone else should the keys appear as new?"
design  interaction  mobility  mobile  phones  use  beausage  usability  time  personalization  learning  janchipchase  community  wabi-sabi 
april 2007 by robertogreco
WOOD - Stain Teacup
"Stain is a set of a teacups designed to improve through use. This project examines the assumption that use is damaging to a product (For example, scratches on an iPod)."
beausage  housewears  ceramics  use  age  wear  stain  design  products  wabi-sabi 
december 2006 by robertogreco
Cool Hunting: Stain Teacups
"This product challenges the assumption that use (i.e. scratches, discoloration, wear and tear) is damaging or bad. Designed to improve through use, the inside of the cup is treated so that it is more susceptible to the staining that results from tea drinking. The more the cup is used, the more the pattern is revealed and, over time, the intensity of the pattern will increase the speed depends on the owner's personal tea drinking habit."
beausage  housewears  ceramics  use  age  wear  stain  design  products  wabi-sabi 
december 2006 by robertogreco
metacool: Beausage
"I'd like to tell you about a new aesthetic term called "beausage". It sounds French but it's not; instead it's a synthetic combination of the words beauty and usage, and describes the beauty that comes with using something."
beausage  design  words  linguistics  age  beauty  use  wear  style  wabi-sabi 
december 2006 by robertogreco
russell davies: other aesthetics for cars
"What if they also tried to create a new approach to the exterior, one that was more about appreciating and revealing the character of wear and tear of driving life and that didn't have the instant, built-in depreciation of shiny metal?"
beausage  cars  design  age  use  wear  wabi-sabi 
december 2006 by robertogreco
metacool: Belly Tanker Beausage
"I also dig the photo because it's a great example of beausage, the beauty which comes with use."
time  age  use  design  photography  transportation  glvo  words  language  beausage  wabi-sabi 
november 2006 by robertogreco

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