Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand

Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand

Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand

Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand

Synopsis

In this investigation of the possibility of craft in the digital realm, Malcolm McCullough observes that the emergence of computation as a medium, rather than just a set of tools, suggests a growing correspondence between digital work and traditional craft. McCullough builds a case for upholding humane traits and values during the formative stages of new practices in digital media. He covers the nature of hand-eye coordination, the working context of the image culture, aspects of tool usage and medium appreciation, uses and limitations of symbolic methods, issues in human-computer interaction, geometric constructions and abstract methods in design, the necessity of improvisation, and the personal worth of work.

Excerpt

Unless the distinction vanishes in some cyborg future, people will always be more interesting than technology. People have talents and intentions that technology may serve. People also have much more immediate requirements, such as for food, clothing, and transportation, which modern technology has provided quite effectively. But when these material needs are mostly met, continued industrial production increasingly depends on invented needs and induced demands, which are neither satisfying nor sustainable. People cannot endure as "consumers," but must actively practice at something, however humble. This means that the ultimate significance of postindustrial technology has to be in serving the need to work well-- and not in automation. Here at the close of this very technological century, even the most hard-nosed technologists have begun to admit this. For example, the computer industry now advertises not computers, but human- computer partnerships: it matters less what the technology can do alone than what you want to do with it.

This is especially true in design. Consider how antiquated the philosophy of automatic design computing has become. Back in the space-age . . .

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