"Shaping Things is about created objects and the environment, which is to say, it's about everything," writes Bruce Sterling in this addition to the Mediawork Pamphlet series. He adds, "Seen from sufficient distance, this is a small topic."Sterling offers a brilliant, often hilarious history of shaped things.
In these essays, Peter Lunenfeld does theory and criticism "in real time," looking at (among other subjects) art, video games, book design, "techno-masturbation," The Matrix, and life extension diets. "Readers will have to determine for themselves," he writes, "if this range is symptomatic of pluralism or promiscuity." User illuminates the patterns and repetitions that link—for example—nanotechnology to electronic music, artist/archivist Harry Smith to architect/superstar Rem Koolhaas, Pontiacs to open source software.
"Once you get into the flow of things, you're always haunted by the way that things could have turned out. This outcome, that conclusion. You get my drift. The uncertainty is what holds the story together, and that's what I'm going to talk about."
A heady hybrid of critical thinking, personal narrative, and economic analysis, Utopian Entrepreneur is a field manual for those who want to do socially positive work in the context of business. One of the few Silicon Valley veterans who participated in all four of the major computer tech bubbles—games, multimedia, virtual reality, and dot-coms—Brenda Laurel is known for injecting humanistic values into computer-based media.