Playing around with Pantheon – MIT Media Lab’s ambitious effort to visualize cultural production across history – I pulled this intriguing comparison of the most culturally significant industries in various countries before the Middle Ages and after.
On the vertical axis, countries are plotted in descending order of cultural power – fewer countries existed before the year 1500 – and on the horizontal, each country’s cultural production with the listed occupations and fields.
One of the most obvious patterns is the decline of religion as a domain of cultural power and the rise of the natural and social sciences, as well the emergence of the creative arts, from film and theater to design. Philosophy appears to have endured with little fluctuation – it’s no surprise, given the staying power of ancient wisdom. Curiously, writing appears in neither plot, even though the written word is arguably the single most powerful and effective carrier of cultural wisdom.
Explore Pantheon for yourself here.
A short compilation about the visual concepts of volumetric display systems from 1955 to 2012
broken prototypes turned art. e-ink displays from the embodiment labs
Thoughts on retro futurism
Predictions of the future from the past always leave me thinking that we are so utterly wrong in so many ways.
"Data storage costs are so negligible that in late 2010 the U.S. Library of Congress entered into an agreement with Twitter to archive every public tweet ever sent over the social networking website.
'Plummeting digital storage costs will soon make it possible for authoritarian regimes to not only monitor known dissidents, but to also store the complete set of digital data associated with everyone within their borders,' Mr. Villasenor says.
'Captured information will create what amounts to a surveillance time machine, enabling state security services to retroactively eavesdrop on people in the months and years before they were designated as surveillance targets. This will fundamentally change the dynamics of dissent, insurgency and revolution.' “
younger generation […] in the way that space and time are conceived […] simultaneity, not order, is of essence. They do not see the
world in terms of events laid out on a map, but in terms of the time of the media events, and their own location when they found out about them”
21st century: that we—individual users—now control the means of production, distribution, and access to information, communities, and online worlds. While the capitalist grids and surveillance systems sustaining the digital remain, if anything, stronger than ever, the egalitarian and even revolutionary promise is compelling.