March: Technological relations, the world’s oldest social housing complex, and faux marble

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Since I started cycling to work, my phone usage has gone down about one hour per day. In March, I spent over a full day—roughly 26 hours—on trains. That gave me the chance to catch up on some podcasts and articles I saved within the last weeks.

In context of the Apple/FBI lawsuit, I really enjoyed this story by Loney Abrams called “Larping off the grid”. Set in 2020, where wearable devices are mandatory for every citizen, she explores the idea of disconnecting yourself from constant connection. While just a couple of days ago the FBI claimed to have hacked a terrorist’s locked iPhone (after fighting Apple who refused to create a back door to access the data), the story considers the necessity of hacking yourself OUT of technology, rather than IN to it. Which, I think, is an interesting idea, and I can relate to it: Who doesn’t know the urge of setting the phone to flight mode and hide it in the drawer for a couple of hours, just for some peace and quiet?

Technology is so weird: We created something that stands in a constantly oscillating relation to ourselves. My friend’s parents bought a robotic vacuum cleaner. When I joined them at the dinner table, they were talking about it, about it’s efficiency and noise, how it knows where the stairs are, and how it makes the edges of the carpet uneven. As I missed the beginning of the conversation, I did not realize immediately that we were talking about a machine, not a human.

Later this month: Over easter, I visited my parents in Augsburg. Seven years ago, I could not wait to leave it behind me, but now, with a certain distance (and my parent’s new flat much closer to the city center!), I can see it’s beauty. Augsburg is known for the Fuggerei, the world’s oldest social housing complex, located right in the middle of the old city. People still live there, for 88 cents rent per year, with the requirement to be catholic and to pray three times a day.

When we visited the Fugger chapel close to the amazing weekly market, I noticed the beautiful walls made out of some sort of “faux marble”. Created with the Scagliola technique, a mixture of minerals, glue and pigments, it features vivid patterns and a shiny surface. The creation process makes the material much more precious than real marble, and that alone is a reason to love it.

I started being more cautious when it comes to surfaces and materials. Working in the digital field, my main fabric are pixels, and there’s not much variety to them. Getting inspired by textures from fashion, paper (remember the paper grain web design trend a couple of years ago?!), and nature helps refreshing the eyes. Nature always helps. Spring is here. Happy April!

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31. März 2016