Patterns in sand from the coast of Virginia #1, 2017.
Exciting news - I am in the process of developing a title for an NYC based publisher for a book about 'obsolete' technologies that could have renewed relevance today: From Window Shutters for reducing energy costs to modern hang-dry clothing lines and lenses and fiberoptic for introducing day light into buildings there are numerous examples. Even technologies like electric trolleys and even bicycles are undergoing a renaissance in American cities in particular. What other older technologies might be reevaluated and redeployed in todays digital empire?
STAY TUNED FOR HISTOVATION!!!
This Fall in the SFCS Studio on Aging and Health, I am very excited to explore a long standing theme- one dating back to 2013 when I photographed Octogenarians on bicycles going grocery shopping in Verona, Italy. How do we (re)integrate physical activity in daily life? Driving, Elevators, Automatic Handicap Doors and other physical activity- killing "innovations" remove physical exertion.... Lack of physical activity leads to disability- How can design change this? How can we integrate physical activity that is motivating to perform? On the other hand, how can we remove dreaded activities like cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. Designing appliances in the Kitchen and Bathroom to be easily "cleanable" (see below post) should be a new design approach. While cleaning might require needed physical activity they are not always welcome.
In short, how can we decrease chores and undesirable activity while increasing integration of physical activities into daily life?
Any thoughts about this, please send to me firstname.lastname@example.org
Renault the automaker released the following concept for a "driverless future." Interesting dialogue on Dezeen about the practical, socio economic unintended consequences of being in a bubble all day.
What happened to enjoying the random discovery of new things while walking and living in a city? Now that we have driverless cars to look forward to, I wonder more how America would have been different had we not dismantled all of our Electric Streetcar systems. Europe maintained and expanded theirs. The US has reintroduced them in many cities, including Los Angeles, Portland and DC. Roanoke had them too, remarkable for a city of its size:
I grew up during the Mad Men era only blocks away from Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan where the television show took place. Buildings from that time period are now mostly taken for granted, mainly the early Modernist glass boxes that have now populated urban centers around the globe. So taken for granted are they that we have now forgotten how unique they were when they began to appear, especially on lower Park Avenue. Mies Van der Rohe's Seagrams Building and SOM's Lever House, the PepsiCo Building and Union Carbide, had a level of clarity in form and in some cases humanism in their foot print. Now cheap glass boxes dot the landscape everywhere and tarnish the representation of the originals. Why do cheap imitations end up representing what the great originals started? J.P. Morgan announced this year that they will demolish the Union Carbide building, designed chiefly by Natalie de Blois with guidance from Gordon Bunschaft the architect of the Lever House and PepsiCo. Are we too blind to see what we will lose by letting this happen? Natalie de Blois should be honored for her achievement. I remember once at night back in the seventies seeing this building illuminated - the light coming from the ground floor emphasized a sense of levity, like it was floating. I will miss an important anchor of my childhood upbringing.
An example of "uncleanability vs. cleanability." Cleanability use less water, less effort, less time and less chemicals to maintain. It should be part of our sustainability vocabulary
Moving back to move forward - why do we kill great technologies instead of letting them live side by side with new ones? Consider the following: the 1947 PCC Electric Street Car was replaced nationwide in the USA with complex diesel busses that need constant repair (by design). Proposal: Histovation=Innovation that looks backward to go forward....(stay tuned!)