Wednesday, 14 November 2012
The death of objects?
There's no denying that digitalisation is one of the main forces governing the way we live, but even pre-digitalisation, predictions of the future focussed on a reduction in stuff and clutter, with visions of blinding simplicity and clear, clean lines.
But life's not like that. Have you ever seen the paperless office we'd all be working in by the turn of the century? Have you had your living room invaded by an army of yellow and red plastic, which takes up twenty times the space of its two-year-old general?
Let's think about the generations alive today. There's the generation of the post-war years, who hoarded everything from yoghurt pots to chianti bottles in case these things came in useful, or you could make a lamp out of them. A generation that kept everything because there were no copies or back-ups.
Then the generation who accumulated stuff because they could, and they could afford to: gadgets, status symbols, collections. And who now have parallel technologies - the latest iPhone and the retro-style record player for that collection of 200 LPs.
And now the generation who have the sustainability gene - with behaviour driven by reuse, recycle, reduce. A generation who decorate their electronic devices with a multitude of dangly crocheted bits 'n bobs - not dissimilar to household gods, in fact.
Overlaid throughout this is the human tendency to cosiness, to clutter, to comfort , to trash and frivolity. From paintings of teary orphans to singing gorillas to combat outfits for dogs. Yes, a lot of this has now moved online but that's also a parallel rather than replacement development.
Death of objects? I don't think so.