Author/Futurist Bruce Sterling

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, science fiction author, futurist and activist Bruce Sterling will speak at NC State. The talk, sponsored by the English Department's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium in Kamphoefner Hall. Sterling teaches design as a visiting professor at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Sterling will speak about the intersection of fiction with the future, and how that engages scientific policy and design. Attendance is free and open to the public.

posted by Tony Brock on February 2, 2005 | comments: 1 | post a comment

WOWWWWWWW!!!!!! Bruce Sterling is just so amazing, smart, articulate, and amusing. I cant even begin to write anything because he practically overwhelmed me, but in a good way. I took 6 pages of notes because I am going to write a one page extra credit paper on him. But Im not sure how Im gonna exactly narrow down everything he said in one page. Oh well, I am going to attempt to highlight some of the areas that I really thought were pretty cool.

First off, Im not so into sci-fi and "Lord of the Rings" type stuff, so I thought it was interesting that he is a science fiction journalist but in a different way that contradicted my biases of what a science fiction author would be like. He described himself as a rare example of a novelist and design teacher and that the cross-disciplinary is what really makes him unique. He is really into the interplay of technology and society, the tangible, working with the people that are actually doing the work in technology and coming up with ideas. I loved the way he compared a scientist to a designer. How a designer can tell you about human interface, relationships, affordances, problems, one's desires, wants and even repulsive qualities of a human relaiton with real objects. The quality that you miss out with a scientist is that they will never talk about one's desire and what a consumer wants. He sees science fiction and design as sister disciplines because of MAYA-thinking(Most Advanced Yet Acceptable) The fact that people like him can have crazy ideas and science fiction related concepts but then the designer can put it into affect and make it.

I cant really go into everything, but another thing that fascinated me was the idea of objects being tagged, like his example of the chair. The existing chair that you have in your house can speak to you and tell you where you got it what its made of, what other chairs you may like etc etc.The chair is simply a hard copy like the hard copy of a chair on a website. And you could order another chair by having a conversation with the existing chair. Crazy, but he predicts that this could be happening in 30 years. I mean, how can he just predict what will be happening???? Just crazy to me.

To sum it all up, I loved his response to why this interests him. He loves the genuine physical phenomenon, the facts, and the human relationship to technology. Working with all types of people because there are no boundaries between disciplinaries anymore. We are all bits of technology, car exhaust, shoes, sony walkmans etc, simply by bioaccumulation. And thats what gets him out of bed in the morning.

Posted by sarah on February 24, 2005 03:56 PM