SXSW: Kafka Didn't Have Tumblr

Posted by Tejus Parikh on March 13, 2012

I decided to drop into an arty session since it was near where I found parking. The topic was how the digital world is shaping how designers present things in the physical world an it’s implications.

The panel included a few artists that use art to question morality. These people generally annoy me and this session was no different. The single dumbest comment was what to the speaker was the very profound question of “if a google street view car sees something awful happening, will it stop?” Even she had the remarkable insight that cars have drivers. I get that the (Panopticon)[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon] is a chilling concept, but the core of it is that some judgmental being is watching. I think this analogy breaks down with the sheer amount of image data being produced.

Other than the panopticists, the rest of the panel was entertaining, if not interesting. One presenter made a compelling comparison between the commercial imagery during the space race and what we see today. Those images look dated today precisely because they captured te public imagination at the time.

One presenter built his presentation around a sign that read “this restaurant is now close.” he was fascinated by a set of small musical segments that when played in shuffle mode created new music. I believe his concept is called a “composer.”

The final presenter and the organizer of the panel was the best. He brought into question how much of traditional philosophy and thought is applicable in this constantly connected environment. He related what is happening in the sharing-internet to what the scientist are doing at CERN with the LHC. Like pictures of cats or Tom Selleck with a waterfall and a sandwhich finding the Higgs Boson does not have any practical application today. However, that does not mean finding the Higgs Boson has no value. Likewise, this whole social sharing, micro-blogging, silly picture culture of today may seem pointless, but it may lead to a more compelling or interesting future.

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Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: