It’s been enormously enjoyable – and great to learn a new tool / learn in general. Although as fun as making my final sketch above futzing about with skyboxes, particle systems and physics was – I certainly won’t be giving Tobias Revell anything to worry about any time soon!
If it is coming, and if it is a big deal, then surprisingly few have paused to carefully consider the actual source of the metaverse, an undertaking which seems like a good idea, especially because that source is a deeply dystopian novel about a collapsed America that is overrun by violence and poverty. The metaverse was born in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 Snow Crash, where it serves as entertainment and an economic underbelly to a poor, desperate nation that is literally governed by corporate franchises.
You will see no trace of the metaverse’s origins in these strategy announcements, which so far seem to hint mostly at creating and uniting more immersive digital environments in which entertainment might be consumed and work carried out—and advertising displayed, workers surveilled, and branded NFTs and loot boxes sold. No trace, that is, unless maybe you read about it on your Twitter feed, where a news item about a metaverse product is likely to be sandwiched between stories about crushing health care debt or anecdotes about rampant inequality.
You don’t really expect to see energy company CEOs interviewed in Dezeen, so it’s a nice to surprise to see one of the founders of Bulb (where afewfriends of mine work) quoted there this week.
The founders also felt that eventually, homes would become energy producers as well as consumers. By installing solar panels, anaerobic digesters, micro-CHP (combined heat and power) plants or any other small-scale clean-power generator, householders could sell surplus energy back to the grid, using home-storage batteries or electric cars to store the power until it’s needed.
“It wasn’t really happening at the time, but we thought that homes could become a source of energy,” Wood explained.
“If people had solar panels on their roof, or if they had a battery in their home or an electric vehicle and those batteries were plugged into the grid, the homes could at times be providing energy into the grid.”
“Also, the grid becomes more efficient when the electrons travel a shorter distance,” he added. “If you have generation embedded within the grid locally, then the whole system becomes more efficient.”
It has taken a while for this “two-way grid” to become a reality but Wood believes it is now poised to take off.
“That’s one of the things we’re quite excited about now that there are more options available to consumers for solar panels, electric vehicles, heat pumps and batteries.”
In the article he stresses that the architecture and design profession are central to making this happen in the next decade – connecting back to my post earlier this week featuring Saul Griffith’s exhortations to redesign and electrify our domestic lives. I’m hoping to write more about this soon.
But thinking about the home as a machine not just for living in, as Corbusier had it, but also a machine for generating, regenerating, recycling, re-using… That would have been a fantastic opportunity – that I’m sorry to say I missed. This time!
Owning a house is a position of huge privilege of course – as is being able to make alterations on your own terms to where you live.
Designers and architects must also look to provide for those who rent and share buildings – and give them innovative tools/services that increase their agency to save and generate energy.
Thinking about places in the pace layers to make design interventions that are practical, portable, affordable – and make some impact on our climate emergency.
Rounding off the week though with another approach to the urgent problem of decarbonising our way of life – and longer term heading toward a Kardashev Scale 1 civilisation.
From Ravensbourne’s excellent archive of BBC motion graphics:
A series of ten programmes about improving your thinking skills. Dr Edward de Bono showed that thinking, rather like cooking, was a skill which could be improved by attention and practice. The idea was to symbolically represent the scrambled brain, which then unscrambled and revealed the name of the programme. The artwork was done by hand without the aid of a computer, as this was created in the pre-digital era. The artwork was produced as black on white drawings pegged together in register. These were then copied photographically and printed in negative on Kodalith films and shot on a 35mm rostrum camera with red cinemoid gel behind the liths to add colour. The artwork had to be exceptionally precise, as if computer generated, in order not to shimmer and wobble. The glow was achieved by using a filter in the lens of the camera.
Take all your hate and all your fear with you And blast them into the blue
Building your walls to keep them out Building your stash to wipe them out You staked your claim on planets new You built your ship and up you flew Looking back on the world below Safe from the damage and woe But you cannot play golf in space
Take all your hate and all your fear Take all your hate and all your fear Take all your hate and all your fear with you And blast them into the blue
Platinum club for psychopaths Draining the tank with dirty maths Plundering all to gild the few You built your ships and up you flew Infinity pool on Ganymede You took so much more than you need But you cannot play golf in space
Take all your hatе and all your fear Take all your hate and all your fеar Take all your hate and all your fear with you And blast them into the blue
Perhaps it will survive the new dark ages and be sung acapella – a ‘Gaudete‘ for the 24th Century – by our descendents in Jupiter space.
I wish Mr Bezos well, and hope that perhaps he gives the track a listen.
Platinum club for psychopaths Draining the tank with dirty maths Plundering all to gild the few You built your ships and up you flew Infinity pool on Ganymede You took so much more than you need But you cannot play golf in space.
As I spotted them, the Jump bikes resonated with this – a fleet of physical objects in the city that had moved from one distant company to another beneath the API, probably re-branded and maintained by humans beneath another…
The first thing I would do is hire a team of DOE artists in residence. We need ideas and creativity. These artists would fulfill a role similar to the NASA art program that began in 1962 which was critical to filling the American imagination with the possibilities of space travel, the adventure, the future, the wonder. In the 50 years since Earth Day, an enormous number of column-inches have been written about our deteriorating environment (and more recently deteriorating climate) but not enough about visions for what success looks like for humanity. The DOE artists-in-residence would go to work showing us what the future of cleaner electrified building stock would look like, how much cleaner our streets and air will be with electric cars and new electric transit modes, including electric flight. We’d see verdant pictures of the future of regenerative agriculture and an even more productive carbon sequestering food system that also makes more space for wildness and national park and recreation areas. You might find it odd that the first thing I’d do at DOE is make art, but this is critical, we need a shared vision of where we are going, one of abundance and success and of the U.S. winning, if we are to get the popular buy-in and acceptance we need to address climate change in earnest and at scale.