Monday, August 17, 2009


Two recent experiences have made me feel very romantic towards technology. "Poor. Old. Tired. Horse." at the ICA and David Shearing's "Man Made Dusk".

The ICA show (as a retrospective) incorporates equipment that is now obsolete but poigniantly so. Especially lovely are the printed poems, spewed out from late '70s desktop computers, with their weird, solid colorways.

"Man Made Dusk" (a new piece) is all about radio waves, and utilizes technologies currently becoming out dated. It makes me oddly nostalgic for radio (a medium I in fact am still in regular discourse with) a technology sliding from view, replaced as it is being by online medias and mp3s. Of course people still listen to radio, and figures show that in fact record numbers of people are doing so in the UK, but more and more so the radio (as an object) is replaced by car stereos and computers and concealed speakers. The sounds come through satellites, they are digital, and they are channeled through discrete machines. The trusty old clunky knob-twiddler on the kitchen counter has gone, morphed into something sleeker, hidden.

Isn't it an odd notion to think of technology, machines, tapes and electromagnetic fields as Romantic? To be nostalgic for technology, which is to say, for the future.

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