As one thing follows another, so, very gradually, the narrative unfolds. Nevertheless, the language constantly checks itself, holding itself up in small loops and digressions and molding itself to that which it describes…
W.G. Sebald, “A Comet in the Heavens: On Johann Peter Hebel”
To think continuously about changing the world is to spend your life looking at what is bad in it. To be attached to the world is to be attached to the world as it is, and not for any reason, because reasons can always be countered. To consider the world from first principles, to think about how well it would work if everything were different, is to be ready to throw away everything you know. Radical idealism and a sense of limitless possibility are the brighter facets of absolute rejection.
Larissa MacFarquhar, “Requiem for a Dream”
In 1950 [Alan Fletcher] wove his way through a series of art schools, culminating in the prestigious Central School of Arts and Crafts. Here he found like-minded students: Derek Birdsall, Terence Conran, Colin Forbes and Theo Crosby. This little gang had a plethora of inspirational tutors at their disposal in the shape of Paul Hogarth to Victor Pasmore, Richard Hamilton to Eduardo Paolozzi and many more. The place was bubbling with experimentation, a sense of optimism and a vision for a future Britain.
That ethos continued later when Alan was awarded a place at The Royal College of Art, another hot house of surfacing talent, including Len Deighton, Dennis Bailey, David Gentleman, Joe Tilson and Peter Blake. While there he managed to get himself an exchange scholarship to Yale School of Art and Design in the States.
In 1956, sporting a full head of hair and with his young wife, Paola, on his arm, Alan set sail to the land of plenty, bustling with vibrant colour and full of unapologetic energy. It was a revelation and something he embraced with open arms. At Yale he was again blessed with tutors of exceptional talent, among them Paul Rand, Bradbury Thompson and Josef Albers. […]
Before leaving America, Alan made a point of zooming around New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, making many lifelong friends along the way while freelancing for some of the most creative art directors of the time, including Saul Bass and Leo Lionni.
The experience of his time in America gave him not only a professional edge but also the confidence to head back to London with the intention of making some waves.
Mike Dempsey, “Beginnings” from Alan Fletcher Archive
The assumption driving these kinds of design speculations is that if you embed the interface–the control surface for a technology–into our own bodily envelope, that interface will “disappear”: the technology will cease to be a separate “thing” and simply become part of that envelope. The trouble is that unlike technology, your body isn’t something you “interface” with in the first place. You’re not a little homunculus “in” your body, “driving” it around, looking out Terminator-style “through” your eyes. Your body isn’t a tool for delivering your experience: it is your experience. Merging the body with a technological control surface doesn’t magically transform the act of manipulating that surface into bodily experience. I’m not a cyborg (yet) so I can’t be sure, but I suspect the effect is more the opposite: alienating you from the direct bodily experiences you already have by turning them into technological interfaces to be manipulated.
John Pavlus, Your Body Does Not Want to Be an Interface
Audience member Ben Shneiderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, wanted to help Morozov shed that slacker image. “You’re a critic, but you haven’t contributed anything,” Shneiderman said, distilling the common critique of his work. “It would strengthen your position if you focused on a design project. To create a movement, you need to engage others.”
Rosen circled a similar issue earlier in the conversation. How do you inspire designers to think about political issues inherent in their designs at an earlier stage, given that they have a bottom line? she asked. And how does Morozov think technology companies should proceed with smarter product design? In other words, how will he translate his criticism into action?
“We can’t say [Silicon Valley is] messing up and not give guidelines,” Rosen charged.
Morozov views his writings as a tech journalist as “interventions” that are “changing the debate.” He challenges existing paradigms—and has two intellectual goals: help the world “unlearn ‘the Internet’ as a concept” and to articulate a philosophy of technology not mired in either technophobia or technophilia. But his goal is not necessarily to advance criticisms that are adaptable to policy prescriptions. “I’m aiming higher, I think.”
Elizabeth Weingarten, Evgeny Morozov on His New Book To Save Everything, Click Here