Shaping Things

Front Cover
MIT Press, 2005 - Design - 149 pages
21 Reviews

" Shaping Things is about created objects and the environment,which is to say, it's about everything," writes Bruce Sterling in this addition to the MediaworkPamphlet series. He adds, "Seen from sufficient distance, this is a small topic."Sterling offers abrilliant, often hilarious history of shaped things. We have moved from an age of artifacts, made byhand, through complex machines, to the current era of "gizmos." New forms of design and manufactureare appearing that lack historical precedent, he writes; but the production methods, using archaicforms of energy and materials that are finite and toxic, are not sustainable. The future will see anew kind of object ;we have the primitive forms of them now in our pockets and briefcases:user-alterable, baroquely multi-featured, and programmable ;that will be sustainable, enhanceable,and uniquely identifiable. Sterling coins the term "spime" for them, these future manufacturedobjects with informational support so extensive and rich that they are regarded as materialinstantiations of an immaterial system. Spimes are designed on screens, fabricated by digital means,and precisely tracked through space and time. They are made of substances that can be folded backinto the production stream of future spimes, challenging all of us to become involved in theirproduction. Spimes are coming, says Sterling. We will need these objects in order to live; we won'tbe able to surrender their advantages without awful consequences.

The vision ofShaping Things is given material form by the intricate design of LorraineWild. Shaping Things is for designers and thinkers,engineers and scientists, entrepreneurs and financiers ;and anyone who wants to understand and bepart of the process of technosocial transformation.

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Review: Shaping Things

User Review  - Ninakix - Goodreads

This book has some really interesting ideas about what the next generation of 'gadgets' may look like, but I wasn't exactly enamored by it's prose. Read full review

Review: Shaping Things

User Review  - Tao - Goodreads

In this book, Sterling proposes a very interesting idea that objects can remember its own journey of life. Some inspiring or thoughtful quotes are: "Why do we want to make this effort? It's because a ... Read full review

About the author (2005)

Hugo Award-winning science fiction author and futurist Bruce Sterling has been called by Time "perhaps the sharpest observer of our media-choked culture working today in any genre." Three of his novels have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and he has been a contributing writer for Wired since its conception. In 2005 he is "Visionary-in-Residence" at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. Bruce Sterling's blog Beyond the Beyond has been active since 2003.

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