Monday, July 6, 2009

Managing Design Abundance / A new slant

The funny thing about waste is that it's all relative to your sense of scarcity.
Illustration: Rodrigo Corral

Chris Anderson's outside the box Wired editorial "Tech Is Too Cheap to Meter: It's Time to Manage for Abundance, Not Scarcity"puts a whole new slant on our thinking.

A few months ago it was time for my kids to choose how to spend the two hours of "screen time" they're allowed on weekends. I suggested Star Wars and gave them a choice: They could watch any of the six movies in hi-def on a huge projection screen with surround sound audio and popcorn. Or they could go on YouTube and watch stop-motion Lego animations of Star Wars scenes created by 9-year-olds. It was no contest--they raced for the computer.

It turns out that my kids, and many like them, aren't really that interested in Star Wars as created by George Lucas. They're more interested in Star Wars as created by their peers, never mind the shaky cameras and fingers in the frame. When I was growing up, there were many clever products designed to extend the Star Wars franchise to kids, from toys to lunch boxes, but as far as I know nobody thought of stop-motion Lego animation created by children.

We think this represents a disinterest in a reality that is packaged and processed, and a return to a yearning for a very modern kind of authenticity. It is such an interesting contrast, because both exist today in a hyper form.

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