Reversing our digital fate.
Imagine an artocracy.
Have you ever found yourself sitting in front of a screen, trying to be creative? Well, I have, especially while working with CAD-software and 3D-printers as an architect. These innovations have made our creative process highly digital preventing us from feeling fully creative, while we slowly lose connection with reality.
Not only our creativity becomes marginalised but also our thoughts, actions and communication is affected by digital tools we have created. Moving away from digitalisation seems almost impossible. As if it is something entirely out of our own control, while it is a result of our own creations.
How is it that we manage to produce the most perfect red tomatoes, are able to manipulate nature to extremes and at the same time feel technology is growing unstoppably, far beyond what we can handle?
Our world becomes more and more digital everyday. Code and wifi consume us increasingly. But what does it mean to be consumed by the things we create?
The things in our everyday life we depend on such as, phones and apps are hard to delete — they are part of us and our habits. We are not only depending on it; most of us are unconsciously addicted. It is an addiction removing us from rich experiences we are actually seeking, replacing them with quick fixes.
Reversing an addiction, means we need a substitute to overcome it. I propose a new direction for machine designers and gadget addicts. Both are continuously seeking for ways in which digital innovations can be implemented for the ‘ultimate experience’. What we see is that this experience often requires us to spend more screen time, less face-to-face time, sitting in chairs and minor bodily movements. Some have already tried to tackle the latter by creating tools that stimulate body movement, e.g. using augmented and virtual reality in games.
What we need is something radically different: an anti-movement. But a movement towards what? We see movements in fashion trends, artistic genres and cultural expression change continuously. But mostly these are reactionary waves, created by designers and artists trying to be different , better or more innovative than the one before. The problem is we don’t think about what we actually want. Is it about more happiness? More money? More free time? Faster decision-making? Freedom of what?
Opposed to the technocratic world view, in which technology is supposed to save us all. I propose an artocratic view, finding an answer in everything artistic. What would then define artocracy? And, how would it influence the way we design machines?
If we were to implement an artocratic way of designing I imagine creative satisfaction, the feeling of control, being in the moment, making by hand and crafted quality. A down-side of this artocracy in todays society is low-productivity at high costs. An artocratic world view means using tools to enhance creative expression, human interaction, bodily movement and returning to our nature. Of course some of us experience creative advantage when designing with a mouse and a keyboard, but it could be that we just don’t know how to familiarise us with other tools.
We see technocrats taking a stand and digital tools turning into go-to solutions. This digital culture feeds a digital way of thinking, turning into habitual actions that create seeds for even more digital tools. We need to slow down and find a way to balance technological innovation with human nature. We need tools that give us the choice to move away from a mega-digitalised society towards a more humbly digitalised society.
I plea for an artocratic perspective, and I will continue to debate and discuss the meaning of it through my articles.