July 8, 2013
A Romantic View of Technology Design

Tech-loving romantics aren’t operating in the same environment as Goethe or Delacroix, though, arguably because virtual reality has created a new layer of separation between the tech user’s everyday world and the untamed wilderness Romantics so admired. As our sensory environments get flooded with more and more digital information, does that mean the world around us is less “real”? Yao thinks so. She explained that her work is “really an effort of trying to go closer to the spirit of nature, which is simplicity. If you look at all the projects, what we do is really try to create this visual perception for people to see the real world. On the other hand, [digital] perception is fake. But if you look at nature, nature never cheats. When I was a kid I used to run into the forest every time after rain because the air is fresher, I can smell the sun, I can touch the leaves and even feel the soil under my feet. It’s a multi-sensory experience which exists in the real environment.”
This brand of tech-driven neo-romanticism, then, exists in subtle contradiction: Even as Yao and her colleagues at MIT, along with inventors at Google, GE, and others, dream of a completely digital world, this kind of world seems less “real.” According to tech romanticism, the more pervasive technology becomes, the more it needs to look like it’s not technology at all.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

A Romantic View of Technology Design

Tech-loving romantics aren’t operating in the same environment as Goethe or Delacroix, though, arguably because virtual reality has created a new layer of separation between the tech user’s everyday world and the untamed wilderness Romantics so admired. As our sensory environments get flooded with more and more digital information, does that mean the world around us is less “real”? Yao thinks so. She explained that her work is “really an effort of trying to go closer to the spirit of nature, which is simplicity. If you look at all the projects, what we do is really try to create this visual perception for people to see the real world. On the other hand, [digital] perception is fake. But if you look at nature, nature never cheats. When I was a kid I used to run into the forest every time after rain because the air is fresher, I can smell the sun, I can touch the leaves and even feel the soil under my feet. It’s a multi-sensory experience which exists in the real environment.”

This brand of tech-driven neo-romanticism, then, exists in subtle contradiction: Even as Yao and her colleagues at MIT, along with inventors at Google, GE, and others, dream of a completely digital world, this kind of world seems less “real.” According to tech romanticism, the more pervasive technology becomes, the more it needs to look like it’s not technology at all.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

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    Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the Sea Fog
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    lol @ hudson river school
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    I didn’t really read the article to be honest. Nostalgic for Mount Holyoke and this painting will always remind me of...
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    The relationship between technology and nature is so interesting to me, and it’s wonderful to see that it’s interesting...
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