Aspen Ideas Festival: The influence of open source tech on design, art

Aspen Ideas Festival: The influence of open source tech on design, art

Summary: Open source technology is being praised for more than just what it could do for big data.

SHARE:
aspen-ideas-festival

ASPEN, COLO. — Traditional sources and institutions of design are being disrupted (and sometimes forgotten) in the wake of the "exponential" reach and empowerment of technology.

Or at least so says Joseph Grima, editor-in-chief of the English and Italian-language design publication Domus.

Speaking at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday evening, Grima asserted that modern design is embracing social challenges and tackling the problems directly resulting from societal and technological changes.

"It's not quite as new as we might think," argued Grima about the network culture, defining design as "a continual process" in which end users are taking industrial products and fashioning them for new purposes.

Grima acknowledged this concept might have fallen out of favor in previous years, but has since come back as technology is now not only "something we observe from a distance but something that has become part of our everyday life."

Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the architecture and design department at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, also posited that these new forms of art are not really "mutations" but rather just going with the pace of the times.

"The idea and industry of design is so deeply rooted in the idea of the heroic figure of the designer, which is derived from the heroic figure of the architect," Grima described.

With the involvement of new technology and its influence on the design process, Grima suggested that we might want to contrast that with something completely new now — potentially eliminating the author altogether.

Facebook "gave the public a tool to contribute their knowledge for continual improvement to the performance of these datacenters," Grima said, adding that "by doing that, they're leveraging the power of the crowd."

He continued that design is no longer necessarily the product of a linear process, but the product of "many haphazard forces that can lead to a coherent result with qualities that might not be possible to be produced by a single mind."

He admitted that it's both almost intentionally "subversive" and "provocative," but he followed up that this hypothesis resonates with the notion of a "network culture," which he explained means "something unbelievably complex but above all is not identified with a specific figure."

Grima pointed toward the Linux operating system to demonstrate this theory.

Essentially, Grima hinted that Linux feeds this network culture because of its nature as an open source framework, but also because its popularity parallels this new movement of design.

Grima explained this means Linux became something we entirely depend on (citing its integration on the iPhone as one example), but it happened quickly without many people realizing it.

Thus, he concluded that a designer is no longer necessarily someone who is going to provide us with solutions, but will empower us to take and use these things to do amazing things with them.

Grima also pointed toward the Open Compute Project as another example, which takes many of these ideas and puts them in an entirely different environment: datacenters.

Facebook "gave the public a tool to contribute their knowledge for continual improvement to the performance of these datacenters," Grima said, adding that "by doing that, they're leveraging the power of the crowd."

Topics: Open Source, Data Centers, Linux, Networking, Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Reinforcing the Stereo Type of Artists

    This guy is utterly clueless and just spouting convoluted, spacious platitudes.
    allis0