13 July 2014



MORE THEN 95 THESIS / Alan Jacobs:

"In Martinique, I had visited rustic and neglected rum-distilleries where the equipment and the methods used had not changed since the eighteenth century. In Puerto Rico, on the other hand, in the factories of the company which enjoys a virtual monopoly over the whole of the sugar production, I was faced by a display of white enamel tanks and chromium piping. Yet the various kinds of Martinique rum, as I tasted them in front of ancient wooden vats thickly encrusted with waste matter, were mellow and scented, whereas those of Puerto Rico are coarse and harsh. We may suppose, then, that the subtlety of the Martinique rums is dependent on impurities the continuance of which is encouraged by the archaic method of production. To me, this contrast illustrates the paradox of civilization: its charms are due essentially to the various residues it carries along with it, although this does not absolve us of the obligation to purify the stream. By being doubly in the right, we are admitting our mistake. We are right to be rational and to try to increase our production and so keep manufacturing costs down. But we are also right to cherish those very imperfections we are endeavouring to eliminate. Social life consists in destroying that which gives it its savour."

via Daring Fireball

The design of things (of course this also applies to cities!), in their requisite 'purification', can make for utter code-enforced banality. That is, the act of making things over and over again, in some kind of administered system, renders those things into something that is not awful, but also something without character Yet there are always exceptions! The iPhone, manufactured by the millions, is also a wonderful example of craft. They are everywhere, yet they are still a joy to behold.
It may come down to this: who purifying the stream that we have this obligation to? The craftsman, or the administrator?

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