This blog considers obsolescing as an active stage of life for any useful object or technology. We are interested in investigating how we look at, think about, and use objects of everyday life as their usefulness begins to wane.
What are the objects and experiences disappearing from our daily lives?
What language do we use to talk about those technologies as they are vanishing?
What new uses and expressions are possible as artists and others reinterpret old technologies now liberated from their original function?
We are not so much interested in wringing our hands over what we are losing as in considering the experience of loss that has always been a part of technological change.
David Comberg and Ann de Forest publish Obsolescing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
David Comberg is a graphic designer and teaches design and typography in the Fine Arts program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He co-teaches Cultures of the Book with Peter Stallybrass and has recently developed a course on information design and visualization. He is a member of Class Action, a design collective and worked with Penn’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Kelly Writers House to establish the Common Press. He’s written observations, reviews, and profiles for Print, ID Magazine, Roadside, and Graphics International (UK).
Fiction writer, design critic, journalist, and teacher, Ann de Forest has a longstanding interest in attitudes towards technology. She wrote a master’s thesis on the Machine Aesthetic of the 1930s, receiving an M.A. in art history from the University of North Carolina. Since then, she has taught 20th-century design history in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s graduate program in Decorative Arts, served as contributing editor for ID Magazine, and written “Hi-Tech/Lo-Tech,” a monthly column for USAirways Attaché magazine. She continues to write frequently about design, architecture, and the built environment, and teaches narrative structure in the graphic design department of the University of the Arts.
Ann’s fiction has appeared in Cleaver, Hotel Amerika, The Journal, and Pif, among others. She is on the editorial board of New Door Books, a press committed to publishing innovative, original book-length fiction. She has also recently completed a novel, the first book in a time travel trilogy for middle-grade readers involving old maps.