Sorry for the delay folks…
Ok, my family is stabilizing (thanks for your prayers for my mom and dad), my show’s down, I’ve got a new studio space and I’m pressing forward.
I recently went to a lecture at Cooper Union School of Art (where I work) on technology and the future. I have to admit, I was initially skeptical that it was going to turn into a yawn-fest of obvious information, but Adam Greenfield introduced some interesting thoughts from his book, “Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing”
Urban form and experience in the age of ambient informatics. This was the subtitle for the lecture.
I think his premise is quite interesting, but quickly realized that he sees technology as a means to reform/re-invigorate/redeem (you pick) cities and our urban experience. What it seemed that he was ultimately aiming for was an increased possibility for genuine community – created and assisted by new forms of ambient technology (technology you use without needing to think about it). This is great, but it doesn’t address some fundamental problems with humanity…like the fact that even when everything is easy and friendly, we still tend to act like selfish twits around one another. It’s as if society needs some sort of outside perspective or influence to provide a model for living. hmmm.
Even if he can predict and propogate a leap forward for urban culture toward greater ease and freedom, he didn’t really acknowlege the potential for our lifestyle integration to be manipulated by those with the $$ to fund it…i.e. Monsanto, General Motors and McDonalds **please note a correction to this statement in the comments section of this post**. If our ambient technology can eventually be so precise as to know when to tell us where to go and why, who’s going to keep the greedies from subtly telling us to buy their crap in the precise way we will be likely to respond with our credit card? The government? Right, I forgot how well our administration has been doing to stave off corporate influence and corruption.
It points to a line of thought I have been finding increasingly interesting. That life is about the pursuit of shalom (peace). Christians believe that true piece, wholeness with people, the Earth, and God is found in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:19-20 says of Jesus, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Christ was the means of God reconciling all things to Himself. This conference was interesting in how it introduced new technologies and ideas for design to create a better city. What he was looking for was a means of finding or creating shalom. What he was looking for was what Jesus Christ offers – reconciliation, renewal, redemption of our whole lives, our cities and our Earth. Perhaps Greenfield was looking for people to build heaven in New York City. Maybe God is looking for people to do the same.
This is obviously a limited argument, so if you have issues, feel free to comment. I think the topic is worth further consideration and will probably come up in future posts.
A recent source of inspiration has been a few recent sermons I’ve heard from Rob Bell. Check them out here (“wine and heaven” is pretty amazing).
grapes and peas.