Monday, April 25, 2011

Pecha Kucha @ GSA

Last Thursday I gave a short talk at the Glasgow School of Art as part of a Pecha Kucha event. My talk was on the writing of James Gleick in particular his excellent book "Faster: The Acceleration of just about everything". In this book Gleick explores our species obession with time and how our modern lives are ever more crammed with 'things' and our pace ever quickening. Ironically enough I was almost unable to make the whole event as my day filled up with other work and I ended up in a meeting 45mins away just before it all started.

Fortunetly I was able to make it just in time for the second half and managed to catch some very interesting talks about 'Failure', 'The New Glasgow Society' and a fascinating talk about collecting old 'Railway Crossing Signage'. As very enjoyable event organised by Neil McGuire and I look forward to popping along to more next semester. 

Here's a small snippet from the talk. If you want to read the same concepts argued in far clearer and creative ways then I highly reccommend picking up a copy of James Gleick's book and having a read.

As the speed of our transport and communication ever increases we have all bought into the ideology that "Time is money" and that we need to "save time" to "make time".

Technology has apparently released us from the shackles of daily toil, we no longer need to break our backs tilling the fields and robots run our factories.

We have created a new concept "leisure time" and a highly charged phrase "spending ones time".

Modern conveniences have allowed us to travel quicker, to cook faster and to find out the latest news be its from friends or live feeds from war zones on the other side of the world.

We have moved from letters travelling for weeks by ship, to messages by telegram, to the blurry eyed wonder of the obsolete fax, to the all singing and all dancing email with ever greater demands on the size and speed at which data can transfer and how quickly we can download the latest song.

Products these days are all about the instant, the express. We have no time to wear in a leather jacket, we want pre-faded, pre-worn, instant history.

Our fast remote clicking TV's with their 500 hundred channels promise us five minute makeovers and guaranteed diets that work in just 3 weeks.

We are in the age where products don't compete to do things better they compete to do things quicker. narrowly saving us vital nanoseconds like Google's new insta-search which searches out results in "real time" as we type.

This constant ambush to "free up time" has the opposite effect on our psyche. Never in history have humans been more in control and had more options over how they spend their days and yet we are now ever more aware of the passing seconds, of the grains of our lives falling by. We have turned life into a race.

What have we achieved?

How do we compare?

Have we wasted our time?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...