Norwegian rigour

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I remember, at Improving Reality last year, Russell remarking that the important thing about Timo, Jørn and Einar is that their approach isn’t ‘Aren’t these new technologies and infrastructures scary?’ but ‘Aren’t these new technologies and infrastructures full of possibility?’ It makes for good, compelling work from lovely, smart people.

The Scandos have released a new thing, Satellite Lamps, an investigation into the material of GPS. It’s very good, again. It pokes the bruise from last year’s Brighton Digital Festival, that these networks and systems need to be more legible.

More than that though, it explores the process of making the lamps. There’s an excellent moment the essay leads you too, where the team realise;

We have made something that is beautiful, understandable and exciting.

Right after reading I got round to watching a Peter Saville interview Guy linked to a few days back. He describes the work of most design as;

Finding ways to cleverly articulate someone else’s message.

Which feels textbook, and probably spot on. Of course, he follows that up by talking about how his didn’t do that, but nevermind…

While the Satellite Lamps do cleverly articulate the ‘message’ of GPS, their process of ‘finding ways’ to do that feels like a mission. It’s driven by a desire to not just uncover the effect of a network, but represent it in a meaningful, legible and resonant way.

There are many, many ways they could have settled on presenting this work. Instead they took a stringent, academic route to find the right way of doing it. It’s rigourous. And that’s not something necessarily built in to most of the work I encounter, let alone do.