The Little Printer by BERG

Berg London, “is a design consultancy, working hands-on with companies to research and their technologies and strategy, primarily by finding opportunities in networks and physical things.”

Their work brings together the physical and digital spaces. One project I found interesting is “The Little Printer” available for pre-order for mailing in November 2012. The cost is $259 to get your digital news feeds printed out on paper to read. This printer will bring together your social media from your smart phone and print out a “little newspaper” for you to read, pin-up on your refrigerator or tack to your desk so you never skip a beat again. I find this very “retro” as the GQ editor mentioned in an articled I posted below would say, since it is using technology to spit out lists that we could easily create by hand. Rather than reading something on-screen, supposedly the best part of being online, it does the opposite and prints out what we create online. I like that. I am not sure how sustainable this is, but it’s a move backwards to understand our actions going forward.

I am now wondering how the digital in a physical form can be represented in another way? Maybe for my next prototype.

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What do we lose with new media?

Doing everything on the screen makes us lose touch (literally) with traditional forms of media. We focus on the visuals, not the act of making. I am interested in going back to old media. Bringing pen to paper and eyes to pages of a book. Keeping in touch with reality.

Precedents

These projects bring the digital space into the physical space. Maps intrudes the physical space with this very “life-size” marker but the Media Surfaces explores how seamlessly our virtual world can be placed into the physical.

Aram Bartholl, Maps, Public Installation 2006-2011

“The design of the virtual map pin seems to be derived from a physical map needle. On one hand the marker and information speech bubble next to it cast a shadow on the digital map as if they were physical objects. When the map is switched to satellite mode it seems that they become part of the city. On the other hand it is a simple 20 px graphic icon which stays always at the same size on the computer screen. The size of the life size red marker in physical space corresponds to the size of a marker in the web interface in maximal zoom factor of the map. Where is the center of a city?”

Media Surfaces, Incidental Media, London (UK, founded 2010) and BERG (UK, founded 2005)

A suite of projects. “All surfaces have access to connectivity. All surfaces are displays responsive to people, context, and timing. If any surface could show anything, would the loudest or the most polite win? Surfaces which show the smartest most relevant material in any given context will be the most warmly received.”

https://vimeo.com/16423199

Print can be quick: This sequence shows a common receipt from a coffee shop and explores what happens when we treat print as a highly flexible, context-sensitive, connected surface, and super quick by contrast to say video in broadcast.

Questions

On Human Relationships

  • How is technology intrusive on relationships?
  • Do we suffere from information overload? How do we deal with it?
  • What are the nonverbal cues that we get when talking to someone in person that we miss when talking to someone digitally? (sarcasm, sadness, you can’t relay tears through a text, or tone of voice)
  • Does technology separate people in real space?
  • What is lost through virtual communication that can’t be replaced?
  • How is digital culture is subversive to human relationships?

On Consumer Culture

  • Why do we accept every new technology with open arms?
  • Do we think everything is good for us?
  • What does it say about how technology relates to status?
  • WHY are we using them?