October 5, 2007

This can’t be one of these diffuse, anything-goes, eclectic, postmodern things. Forget about that, that’s over, that’s yesterday. It’s got to be a narrow, doctrinaire, high-velocity movement. Inventive, not eclectic. New, not cut-and-pasted from the debris of past trends. Forward-looking and high-tech, not William Morris medieval arts-and-craftsy. About abundance of clean power and clean goods and clean products, not conservative of dirty power and dirty goods and dirty products. Explosive, not thrifty. Expansive, not niggling. Mainstream, not underground. Creative of a new order, not subversive of an old order. Making a new cultural narrative, not calling the old narrative into question…

Twentieth-century design is over now. Anything can look like anything now. You can put a pixel of any color anywhere. you like on a screen, you can put a precise dot of ink anywhere on any paper, you can stuff any amount of functionality into chips. The limits aren’t to be found in the technology anymore. The limits are behind your own eyes, people. They are limits of habit, things you’ve accepted, things you’ve been told, realities you’re ignoring. Stop being afraid. Wake up. It’s yours if you want it. It’s yours if you’re bold enough.

– Bruce Sterling, in a speech to the Industrial Designer’s of America in Chicago, 1999

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