Reading: Blogject

Why Things Matter by Julian Bleecker (2007)

This rather long reading that describes the Internet of Things: objects that are connected to the Internet bringing together the physical world and the virtual. He coins the term “blogject” – objects that blog, participating in social networks and have a sense of agency. Bleecker claims that they are predecessors to Bruce Sterling’s sci-fi idea, “Spime”: things that are searchable, track their location, usage histories and discourse with the other things around them. He goes on a bit of an egotistical rant of being an engineer and researcher that would allow him to produce blogjects and eventually “Spimey” things. I am trying to keep in mind that this article is from 2007.

His examples of blogjects, such as The Pigeon that Blogs by Beatriz da Costa, do not present a sense of agency to me. He says that bloggers have a personality, a niche, and in the future blogjects will participate in social web like humans do. Unfortunately, adding a GPS to pigeons to does not make them first-class citizen status. It gives one-sided communication like getting statistical numbers from a computer or getting spam from a bot.

I did enjoy his luggage example. As a traveller, I fully understanding the annoyance of watching your luggage go to another location and having to re-route or wait for it. The objects inside the luggage become an extension of yourself as it contains your possessions, such as clothing, makeup, etc. I don’t blame the luggage for going the wrong way, but the airline that handles the luggage.

Blogjects/Tweetjects have become a very common trend, mostly to make our lives more convenient. Plants that tweet to remind us to water them. We now have the easy ability to control objects such as lamps through apps and on the web. Some of Bleecker’s idea have been done and people are embracing physical objects that are connected to the virtual.

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About Cristal Sung

Cristal is a new media designer, who believes in the importance of feeding the soul with art, culture, and food. Her work focuses on themes of identity, sociopolitical problems and the concept of beauty. Cristal is from Hong Kong and studies in Toronto.

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