The Era of Objects (Blowup Reader 3)

'The Era of Objects' is the third in a series of Blowup readers. It collects several essays exploring the future of objects, beyond the clichéd fantasy of the flying car. (Free Download)

The third Blowup reader was published as PDF document on occasion of the third Blowup event The Era of Objects, which took place on September 29th 2011.

Blowup is a series of events and exhibitions that explore contemporary questions from multiple viewpoints. Blowup zooms in on ideas, bringing into focus clear pictures of how art, design, philosophy, and technology are transforming our lives -- or reinforcing the status quo.



1. Notes from the Curator, by Michelle Kasprzak (see below)

2. Design Futurescaping, by Anab Jain, Jon Ardern, and Justin Pickard

3. Is this thing on? Identity, robots, and spying through everyday objects
by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino

4. Writings on the Internet of Things, by Rob van Kranenburg

5. Design Fiction, by Julian Bleecker

6. Speculation and Extrapolation, an excerpt from a longer text by Ilona Gaynor

7. Evolution of an Internet of Things, by Ana Serrano and Tim Warner

8. The Spime Arrives, by Bruce Sterling


The Era of Objects Reader (PDF)*

*Because this reader contains a lot of images we decided not to publish it in the ePub or Mobi format.



Notes from the Curator

This e-Book may be our richest edition yet, with texts from each of our invited guests for our Blowup event which was held on September 29, as well as contributions from leading thinkers such as Bruce Sterling, Rob van Kranenburg, Ilona Gaynor, and Ana Serrano & Tim Warner.

The scope of this reader is purposefully broad. The things that we use and how they are networked and attuned to us and our surroundings is a huge subject. The writers who have contributed to this e-Book approach the Internet of Things, design fiction, product design, speculative design, and the smart objects and environments of our future with all the shades of grey of humanity -- whether it’s a fictional dialogue over a spimey chair, imagining oneself as a spy, or using stories from the sea voyages of old, when there was still physical territory to discover.

When devising this event and reader, I had ongoing conversations with our three guests – Julian Bleecker, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, and Anab Jain. We all agreed it was important to talk but also important to do and to make, and given the tone of world events we also felt preoccupied with doomsday scenarios. The fanciful talking fridges and flying cars that sometimes appear when people daydream about the future of objects didn’t figure into our thoughts as much as thinking what objects we might need around us if we suddenly found ourselves in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

The texts in this reader cover a lot of ground. The Era of Objects event was designed as a mostly hands-on, ‘more hammering less yammering’ (to quote Julian Bleecker) kind of event, and the texts presented here aim to support the experiences had by the participants in that event, as well as function as a standalone reader for others. I hope you enjoy this reader and the archived footage of the public presentations that were part of this programme, at www.v2.nl. I look forward to welcoming you at the next Blowup event entitled We Are All Crew*, celebrating the intellectual legacy of media and communications guru Marshall McLuhan with an exhibition, film screening and lectures November 3, 4, and 5 at V2_.

Curator, V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media
Rotterdam, 28/09/2011

* - The title is derived from a quote by Marshall McLuhan: ‘There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.
We are all crew.’



July 2011, Rotterdam. Copyright of the texts resides with the authors.

Blowup is curated by Michelle Kasprzak. Blowup graphic design by Arjen de Jong, Buro Duplex.

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