Then and Now


IBM c. 1963. Parallel Communication Paths -> management, as a process of communication, was to be inseparable from its environment -> an empty hallway, neat rows of desks, slick shiny surfaces reflecting the same message as a memo -> they told us -> don’t hang your jackets on the backs of your chairs -> your body should be in statis with the environment -> but -> some people just aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. Apple c. 2020.

IBM c. 1964. Here, we tend to our bodies -> with hands rummaging through lunchboxes, then lifting to open mouths -> here, we find other bodies (bodies like ours) -> sidestepping past tables of golden hair boys, their smiles ringed with sandwich crumbs and spread open with the generous naïveté of never having heard no -> here, the ones who aren’t afraid come to find you -> you can talk (but not too loudly) -> here, we watch ourselves and one another. Amazon c. 2017.

IBM c. 1964. this space was designed as a projection of the new, modern world -> mediated by technology -> where businesses become homes, their leaders our parents -> (welfare capitalism) -> in this space they say they care -> but -> (profit > people) -> companies say they are sui generis -> (innovative, futuristic, moonshot thinkers) -> but really it’s the same old future we’ve seen before (right down to the furniture) -> and in the meantime we’ve forgotten the ones who said, ‘no thank you’ to the same old future (sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly) -> and so we go around again -> in our the comfortable chairs -> designed for this space. Google c. 2017.

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