Gibson And The New *Quotidian. A Quote.


Paper map next to its alternative.

From William Gibson’s recent Book Expo American luncheon talk?

“..the future, be it capital-T Tomorrow or just tomorrow, Friday, just means more stuff, however peculiar and unexpected. A new quotidian. Somebody’s future, somebody else’s past.”

Something that may have once been routine will transform into a curiosity and then to old-fashioned, quaint, peculiar, ancient, confusing, a lost art, alien, &c. On the other hand, today’s fascinating, spectacular will go the way of the normal, routine, everyday, banal, quotidian, boring, unspectacular, old-fashioned, a relic, collectible, museum quality, a prop to tell a story about history and how things once were, to an unknown artifact to be puzzled over in order to understand a bygone era. This perspective of seeing something as even so banal as to be boring is useful, I think, in the design process. A slight shift of perspective that adds temporality to the work one does, puts it on a timeline that is more than the rush-rush of go-to-market working schedules. At the end of it all — it’s either trash or on a pile of other crap in a flea market in Ankara or a vintage shop in Austin or something.

Why do I blog this? A nice juxtoposition that I find useful to consider. When designing things that are meant to be the new, great object, or idea — think of it also, or maybe to start, as the new normal, everyday, perhaps even boring or discarded thing. Why, I am not sure, but I think it helps to round out the considerations, and to look at something fascinating as also something boring, or quaint or even illegible — as if a kid today were to look at a rotary wall phone or paper map.

[Update: Nicolas has his own related remarks on Gibson’s talk at his Liftlabs blog.]