What are you reading?Issue: XXIII.5 September + October 2016
I tend to read books in parallel at a varying pace. I probably have two other fiction books on the go to add to this list but these seemed more relevant to a design audience.
Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot By Mark Vanhoenacker (2015) I have been on 39 flights since January (as of this writing). When I heard about this book on BBC Radio 4, it was bound to attract my attention. The experience and observations of the author, a commercial airline pilot, helps me find great beauty in what can be seen as either the world’s greatest waste of natural resources or one of the most tedious aspects of global work practices.
Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History By Derek Sayer (2015) Surrealism is my favorite period in art. I grew up in Paris, so I have always been interested in the art communities that haunted its cafés and streets. I wondered how these artists met and shared ideas through obscure print publications, letters, and visits. It turns out Prague had its own community of poets, writers, painters, and soon to be modern architects in between the world wars. They met and interacted with the Parisian scene in interesting ways; a recent trip to Prague has helped me contextualize and give flavor to the writing.
Kitchens & Invaders By Germano Celant, ed. (2016) I have been working on the future of the home with the Good Home Project (thegoodhome.org) and am fascinated by the impact of the 1950s on the collective imagination. The home became a battleground for such aggressive marketing of new technologies that its repercussions can be seen now in Internet-connected consumer experiences for the home. This exhibition catalog is a further, Italian-specific exploration of the kitchen and the commercial and technological landscape that emerged post World War II. There is a lot to digest, from architectural explorations to utensil designs and space layouts.
The home became a battleground for such aggressive marketing of new technologies that its repercussions can be seen now in Internet-connected consumer experiences for the home.
War in the Age of Intelligent Machines By Manuel De Landa (1992) I lived in Kuwait immediately before the Gulf War, which is where this book starts. I find it interesting to occasionally look at the transfer of technology from military contexts to the consumer sector, especially when we know the history of the Web. Reading about the technological developments of the Internet is also a great way to imagine a near future (10 to 15 years) and a way to remind ourselves that our idea of progress is always distorted.
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