Containers

Paul Raven @ 04-10-2014

Staying untypically on-topic, the good folk at Rhizome are doing a series of future fictions under the banner Dystopia Everyday, using the software-dev format of the “user story”. The latest one is “Containers” by Adam Rothstein, and I commend it to your attention:

I woke up at the chime, looked at the mobile. New work available. I clocked in, made coffee, sat at the desk. Two hours of work right away, even before Twitter. Felt accomplished. I invoiced, and collected.

I met Sandra for breakfast. She’s in Miami. She had the ceiling open to let in the sun. She got into a new task queue, editorial work. It’s good work, she said, even though the pay isn’t quite as good as advertising. What’s the difference, I said, sipping my Bloody Mary. Different algorithmic authors, same algorithmic grammar problems.

It’s brief, bleak, and on-point — a great demonstration of the provocative mode in design fiction. I also like the way the user story format reads like a sort of day-job Hemingway, and wonder whether it’s an artefact of the style so much as Adam’s interpretation of it…

BONUS RELATED MATERIAL: how many shipping containers really get lost at sea? Quite a few, it turns out.