Saturday, September 26, 2015

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] nature of tool

Dear Paul,

Thanks. Your blog entry on the nature of tools reminds me of Winston Churchill's speech on October 28, 1943 to discuss rebuilding the House of Commons following its destruction by fire during an air raid.

Churchill argued that Commons should be rebuilt exactly as it formerly had been. He felt that the division of parties across the aisle was crucial to British parliamentary democracy. And he felt that Parliament should not be large enough to hold all members, each with a desk. Rather, the chamber was more than large enough for ordinary business and minor debates. When momentous debates and great decisions filled the room, cramped space and standing members lent an air of urgency and significance to the occasion.

This was the occasion on which Churchill said, "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us."

The same is true of tools, thoughts, and theories. We make them, and then they make us.

Warm wishes,


p.s. I will attach Churchill's comments at the end of this post.

Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | Editor-in-Chief | 设计 She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation | Published by Tongji University in Cooperation with Elsevier | URL:

Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China ||| University Distinguished Professor | Centre for Design Innovation | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia

> Ken
>> I created a blog post a few days ago on "tool". I participate on several mailing lists, including this
>> one and two on digital humanities. The idea of technology as tool is only natural for us— tools
>> help us get our research and work done. What would we do without them? At the same time, though, we
>> should be sensitive to what lay beyond (or inside of) tool. Here it is:

> Paul Fishwick, PhD
> Distinguished University Chair of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication
> Professor of Computer Science
> Director, Creative Automata Laboratory
> The University of Texas at Dallas
> Arts & Technology
> 800 West Campbell Road, AT10
> Richardson, TX 75080-3021
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