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.


Dead Space: The Shock Doctrine Goes Interplanetary

Jonathan McCalmont @ 26-05-2010

Blasphemous Geometries by Jonathan McCalmont

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Video gaming has something of a reputation for numbskullery. Guardians of higher culture look down upon gaming as the preserve of fat indolent children and brain-dead adults who would rather fantasise about killing things than read a book.

Of course, they are wrong. In truth, gaming is an activity comparable to wine tasting or fine dining: it is all about palate.

Let me explain what I mean – your average punter on the street might be able to tell you the difference between a bottle of wine costing £10 and one costing you £2 but they would not be able to tell you the difference between a bottle costing £50 and one costing £500. They lack the palate to appreciate the subtleties, the eye for differences. They could not tell you why lamb from Wales is better than lamb from New Zealand. They could not tell you why the painstakingly sourced and morally immaculate coffee I drink in the afternoons is better than the freeze-dried rocket fuel I pour down my throat first thing in the morning. This is because it takes time to build a palate. It takes effort to fully appreciate the little differences. This is true whether you are drinking wine, whether you are attending the opera, whether you are viewing paintings and whether you are virtually dismembering the undead. Continue reading “Dead Space: The Shock Doctrine Goes Interplanetary”