A mental revolution

Artists have always exploited the conditions for technological change, applications and services, from the pencil onwards. In the move towards ubiquitous computing – from the Internet to the ‘Internet of Things’ – the poetic process of making meaning and creating experiences is no longer only productive at the level of design, but it lies at the heart of the IT architecture of the system, its standards and protocols. In a pervasive computing environment, distributed security – which is the key to digital systems that are focused on control – will halt innovation, emerging uses and services, and launch and learn scenarios. Resonance, not interaction, is the design principle in environments where connectivity is everywhere yet not always accessible to individual users.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a new actualization of subject-object relationships. Me and my surroundings, objects, clothes, mobility, whatever, will have an added component, a digital potentiality that is potentially outside of ‘my’ control. Every generation builds its own add-ons to the notions of reality, to what it believes are the foundations of the real. What makes this move so different?

There is a table. On the table a glass. A glass of tea, Jasmine? Jasmine tea. Hmm, good tea. I reach for the glass in a hurry, I gotta run. My hand, it feels like sweeping it off the table yet gently grasps it. I am not in a hurry at all. I can take it in my hand and admire the engrav-ings. I can see drops of condensed water gently not quite sliding over the edge. I am not in ahurry. I pour you a glass. I offer it to you. Here, a glass of Jasmine tea. There are a great number of ways to reach out for a glass. And now this glass is the one your grandmother
gave to you on her dying bed. You put it on the table. Pour out Jasmine tea. The affordances of a lifetime, the scope of a generation, as you reach out for the cup, the gesture itself become the reality that bridges worlds.

What is most likely to happen in my opinion? A child will grow up and see a glass on that table. She will put her mobile phone/device/cuddle next to the glass. She wants to find out what it is, what it means. She will for evermore and from the beginning of her time do this with and through mediating devices. And lo and behold, a movie starts playing on its cuddle, triggered by the tag embedded in the glass. The movie is scripted by the Jasmine tea providers who tell the stories they want to tell. Finally the real has become scriptable and the scriptable becomes the real.