I took a long time to think about what to write for this post, and honest truth – I haven’t really came to any solid conclusion yet.
Norman’s essay on design of everyday brings about an interesting concept about material affordances; that the material itself has inclinations towards a certain action/use. At first it seemed really similar to Latour’s concept of agency, then I realised that there’s a crucial difference between the two: affordances deals specifically with material inclinations, while agency is more on object inclinations even though both deal with how things act. I think even more interesting is how Norman describes how some materials are ‘meant for’ – like the wood example and the glass example; if wood is meant for drawing on, does it mean the essence of wood is to be drawn on?
Csikszentmihalyi’s essay is really interesting, and it reminds me of this episode of Hoarders (I think it was the first ep?) when one of psychologists makes a comment about how ‘people need things to navigate’ and while Hoarders is an extreme case of this – I think it’s true for most people. I feel really uncomfortable when I’m in unfamilar surroundings, or faced with unfamilar objects or even unfamilar software. Even now, I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable writing on xcode or processing (like if I think too hard on it or someone is watching me, I’ll go ‘omg i’m not a programmer, why am i doing this?!’) and the unfamilarity will make me freeze and blank out. I guess it really depends on the individual, but I think most people require some form of stability to ‘set point’ or reference from. Like why do people use landmarks? Landmarks are basically buildings – or if you think about it, really giant objects where we can organise our paths around with. It’s one thing to say ‘new york is laid like a grid’ but in truth my first few weeks here, I used landmarks i.e. train station is at whole foods, left of whole foods is the school; 6 East 16 has a giant neon coffee sign at the street entrance etc etc to navigate my way around.
It’s also interesting to note that one of the first symptoms of dementia is the inability to recognise objects which *later* degenerates to a loss of balance/self – might that not be related to Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of schizophrenia?
Alan Kay’s talk is amazing, and I pretty much agree with everything that he;s said because I totally believe that too. The whole point of object-oriented programming isn’t so much creating an object, but using the object as a messenger across many many patterns. It reminded me of this debate that I gpt into with another classmate during bootcamp – both of us were coding our final projects, and [ ] was like ‘why not make classes for everything, so you can control each and every specification?’ and I was like: ‘why would you want to do that?’ I think sometimes people get too caught up with programming itself, instead of programming for – you don’t really need to control everything and put them all into seperate boxes (for instance each shape into a seperate class, each rotate/transform/whatever on a seperate class) when what you can do is create similar classifications (i.e. all the shapes into a single object/datatype) and then applying the movements all to the same class instead of seperating them – and if you have differences you can extend the class instead of creating seperate zillions of classes. You don’t really need control over every single thing, it’s really much more efficient to group stuff together, classify them and manupialate that instead of each individual object.
————–>>>>tl;dr version: I really like the guy, everything is so true and when he said ‘who here still uses compilers?’ and then I was thinking uh oh, doesn’t xcode/openframeworks require compilers before running?? only processing as a compiler wrapped in it!