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ESCALANTE: Matt Webb for BERG gave the keynote at Web Directions on 8 October 2009. A 50-minute mp3 at the link.

The long run to the turn of the millennium got us preoccupied with conclusions. The Internet is finally taken for granted. The iPhone is finally ubiquitous computing come true. Let’s think not of ends, but dawns: it’s not that we’re on the home straight of ubicomp, but the beginning of a century of smart matter. It’s not about fixing the Web, but making a springboard for new economies, new ways of creating, and new cultures.

The 21st century is a participatory culture, not a consumerist one. What does it mean when small teams can be responsible for world-size effects, on the same playing field as major corporations and government? We can look at the Web – breaking down publishing and consuming from day zero – for where we might be heading in a world bigger than we can really see, and we can look at design – playful and rational all at once – to help us figure out what to do when we get there.

Science fiction, hiking, squirting information into people’s brains, media design and cultural invention. Is very good.

Published in people I know researchmaterial


  1. There’s a fascinating synchronicity here, at least from this individual perspective, given that I happened to read the above almost immediately after reading Alan Moore’s comments about his upcoming magazine, which touch on the similar ideas but project a notably different outlook:

    “We want to provide something that is going to illuminate the rather dismal times that we are currently going through – and which I tend to suspect will be getting a lot worse…”

    “Cute, insulated future, good to hear from you, how have you been; oddly enough I just got off the phone with Grim Meathook Future.”

  2. Dan Hill’s closing keynote makes a wonderful companion piece to Webb’s opener: I was blown away by it.

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