See, used to be I was enthralled with the magic of that twenty-first century counting machine we call the computer. I adored its ability to compile strange syntaxes into software programs that made marvelous experiences appear on (and off) screen.
One memorable experience was an autonomous street-art making machine. While studying New Media in Toronto, myself and former-classmate John Morgan rigged up a longboard with four cans of spraypaint controlled by 3D printed actuators that responded to an onboard microprocessor synced to a smartphone. The machine combed the Twitterverse for local quips to spray onto pavement. Neat stuff.
Today, this experience, and countless others, remain only as stray traces—strands of code (and webs of memories) so tangled by technological development they no longer function (or can’t be found). Not that they were ever intended to be preserved like jam in a jar stored in the cupboard for safe keeping. The work was for the fun of it, just to see that spraypaint canisters could be controlled from a phone. Just to prove to ourselves that we could realize something. We could make magic happen.
At some point down this road I blew a fuse. Watching (and participating in) what was becoming of our high-tech world, I developed a nostalgia for the old and forgotten gadgets, machines, and electronics that could be found be-low. Old typewriters (another century’s type of computer) were especially enthralling; and, in my own opinion, superior to computers as instruments for creative writing.
Today, by a grand stroke of luck, I have found myself in the printing trade. I use machines that were made well before computers, when humans were still the central processing unit, conducting their own progression of if statements and for loops. I’m happy here, even if I have become (ironically) now nostalgic for the boundless potential of digital electronics and computer programming. Funny how that happens…