Duncan Malashock
Since 2009
Works in Brooklyn, New York United States of America

Duncan Malashock lives and works in Brooklyn NY. Born 1982, San Diego CA. Graduated Bard College 2005, BA Integrated Arts. Member of <a href="http://www.computersclub.org/club" target="_blank">Computers Club</a>.
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My Broken iPhone

Thanks for this article, Joanne; it's nice to hear some personal thoughts on issues I'm sure we all think about, but I don't hear discussed too often.

So I've got to say, I'm no Apple fanatic, but I have to respectfully disagree with some of these ideas.

Personally, I don't think timeless designs come from careful planning so much as they come from tradition. That's, to me, why a compass or a spoon look like they belong in time period in Western history; they already have.

Dieter Rams, on the other hand, had a set of principles that defined his specific style. It's influenced a lot of people, not least of which is Jonathan Ive of Apple, and it may be because Rams's designs are very trendy right now (http://svpply.com/search/all/braun) that he seems like a good example of something that holds up. But I don't think I'd be alone in saying that his designs read pretty clearly as belonging to a (very successful) mid-century style. And Apple too -- look at an eMac from 2002 if you want see a 10-year-old Mac that looks good, but somewhat out of place today. I'm not trying to belabor the point, but I don't think successful design and timeless design are quite the same.

Your other argument is based around your "Star Trek" versus "Blade Runner" thing. It seems like you're making a "Birth of Tragedy" argument -- and don't get me wrong, I think it's a good point -- but I think you may be crossing some wires when you get to 1980s Steve Jobs and his New Age lifestyle; minimal possessions doesn't necessarily mean the minimal tolerance for human factors that you say the Apple designs imply.

See, whether it is now or not, back then, Apple wasn't shelling out this silent white-monolith utopian stuff. I'm sure you remember "the computer for the rest of us," their motto at the time. Their design was probably Rams-inspired, but not inhumane. That was the other guys, the ones with the DOS-based PCs and corporate mainframes. Apple's idea was to make computing friendly and relatable; that's what got them their place in the market today.

And I think some of that spirit is still there; the products are very user-centric in their design. I think it might just be the ridiculous price tag that makes people go all June Cleaver about keeping the dirt away. And on the other hand, their image has definitely become more corporate, and I'm sure you can find a hundred Wired magazine articles that compare Macintosh Apple with the Apple of today.

Again, thanks for writing on this; I appreciated it and I'm sure I'm not alone. I hope my comments are helpful.


It’s Only Humanist

As a point of interest, I think the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul was the inspiration for Angelo's piece: