Shaping Things Preview

by November 1, 2005

Regular readers of Functioning Form know that I have been taken with Bruce Sterling’s ideas since attending his keynote at SIGGRAPH last year. Since that time Bruce has become a design professor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California and penned a design manifesto (you read that right -a manifesto) titled Shaping Things. My copy arrived today, so a review is forthcoming and a preview follows:

"Shaping Things is about created objects and the environment, which is to say, it's about everything. The ideal readers for this book are those ambitious young souls (of any age) who want to constructively intervene in the process of technosocial transformation. That is to say, this book is for designers and thinkers, engineers and scientists, entrepreneurs and financiers, and anyone else who might care to understand why things were once as they were, why things are as they are, and what things seem to be coming.”

Shaping Things includes extended riffs on “spimes”.

“A Spime is a location-aware, environment-aware, self-logging, self-documenting, uniquely identified object that flings off data about itself and its environment in great quantities. A universe of Spimes is an informational universe, and it is the use of this information that informs the most exciting part of Sterling's argument.” –Bruce Sterling's design future manifesto, Boing Boing

You can fill up on Bruce’s spime theory through my summary of his keynote at SIGGRAPH, a complete transcript of his talk, or a video in which he continues the conversation.