Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Mary Poppins and the weather

A recent article by Dan Hill (sigh) in Domus on BERG's Little Printer captured two connected ideas from designer Jack Schulze that I really love.

Early sketches for Little Printer, which at that time had a Little Shredder attached

The first is Schulze talking about the movie Mary Poppins as a kind of cross between model of how the world works and inspiration for what he makes:
"She is omnipotent. She can conjure up an army of parkour chimney sweep ninjas! But she also has to come and go with the weather, and where there is technology, if you like, it does not always do what it should. It plays up. The umbrella handle is a bit shitty with her. The toys don't always clean themselves up at her command."
The final version of Little Printer

The second is one of those metaphors that will change the whole way I look at my operating environment (by which I mean, work, and where work happens):
BERG have a particular phrase for the conditions of a particular technology, and how you work with its potential and its limitations. "We're interested in this idea of 'the weather', of the inherent conditions of something. You can think of things having a weather, just as places do, and you usually just have to work with it. If you're a coder, you have to work with the weather of the Amazon S3 server. You just get on with it, working within it."
Mary Poppins and the weather. I love it. (Mary Poppins, the books, hold up surprisingly well too. Mary is a fascinating character.)

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