Oct 12, 2009

life in the future


"Sustainability", by Mason Nicoll & Oh, Hello studio from Huitième Degré on Vimeo.


Though films about the future were made in the silent era, the Great Depression saw a real push in how bright the future will be and how we're making progress toward a life of luxury and simplicity, and this continued through the 1960's during the Cold War. Life was hard. Life was poor. But so long as we put our nose to the grindstone and worked together, we could expect to retire in a world of ease and prosperity.

Jump ahead.

Our lives are easier than ever: just last night I boiled some water in a microwave which made mash potatoes, chicken nuggets and jello for dessert (I was tired, Ryan was sick and yes we skipped our green vegetables. Fuck you.) We watch whatever we want to watch whenever we want to watch in our living rooms, on our laps, or as we walk to work. Every song ever written fits in a matchbox, and I can get up-to-the-minute news on whatever niche I want from any location in the world. This is now as awesome of a future as it's ever going to get. So what will our future films be about now?

Brands! Who's providing the products that give us what we want when we want it? The 1950's brought us the fireless food processor, the 2000's bring us the Kohler Chrome Convection Echo Wave. Which isn't a bad thing. In fact I much prefer a brand to be dipping its toe into these concept designs because that assures us they're that much closer to actually happening. How awesome were the Philips Magnavox ads of the flatscreen TV's and the touch-pad remote controls (with Gomez performing Getting Better)? Sometimes it can get a little carried away (did anyone else wonder who paid for those "Plastics Make It Possible" ads?).

Case in point: design house Oh Hello worked with Microsoft to bring us the future film of 2009- a piece that shows us a day in the life of school and business in a global scale with (as far as I can tell) all cloud-based mobile devices. Videos like this are the wet dream for an amateur motion-graphic designer like me. I've been wanting to make gesture-based computer consoles on video for years, even though it's been done a thousand times over. In fact this video really isn't as impressive as I think it is. 99% of this concept is the result of Gesture Studio's invention (or G-Speak or Oblong Industries, or something or other that Kevin Parent worked on [Brendan, if you read this, please inform me the correct chronology), which was first featured in Minority Report, and the interface design of Stranger Than Fiction created by MK12. It hasn't *really* changed all that much, it's just been a gradual evolution. But that evolution moved it out of the desktop (Tom Cruise's way in MR, and into every peripheral of our lives: where G-Speak was fully 3D manipulation, we have multi-touch and augmented reality in a deck-of-cards-sized that's affordable.

Where am I going with this? We're in such an advanced future now that we don't really care where things are going, we just want to know how to make our lives easier. We want to know how to send the TPS reports to our Japanese clients on-the-fly and that our house is running as efficiently (definition: affordable) as it can, and we don't even have to care. So long as I can watch my "paper" in my garden and know that my daughter's going to be more fluent in Arabic than me by next year, I'm content with where things are going.