Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'General Motors' keyword pg.1 of 1
17 JANUARY 2014

Energizing corporate culture through industrial musicals



1950s1954aesthetic spectacleautomaker • awayday • boom time • business contextChevroletcollective values • company loyalty • corporate Americacorporate behaviourcorporate culturecorporate events • corporate image • corporate musical • economic boomenculturationenergizing corporate cultureentertainmentGeneral Motors • industrial musical • industrial propaganda • industrial show • industrial theatre • internal marketing • internal songbook • marketing practicesmusical theatreorganisational culturePrelinger Archivespromoting shared business contextpropagandasales and profitshow (spectacle) • song-and-dance • team day • team motivation • team-buildingtrade convention


Simon Perkins
30 APRIL 2012

Pictures Under Glass: sacrificing tactile richness

"As it happens, designing Future Interfaces For The Future used to be my line of work. I had the opportunity to design with real working prototypes, not green screens and After Effects, so there certainly are some interactions in the video which I'm a little skeptical of, given that I've actually tried them and the animators presumably haven't. But that's not my problem with the video.

My problem is the opposite, really – this vision, from an interaction perspective, is not visionary. It's a timid increment from the status quo, and the status quo, from an interaction perspective, is actually rather terrible. ...

I'm going to talk about that neglected third factor, human capabilities. What people can do. Because if a tool isn't designed to be used by a person, it can't be a very good tool, right? ...

Do you see what everyone is interacting with? The central component of this Interactive Future? It's there in every photo! That's right! – HANDS. And that's great! I think hands are fantastic! Hands do two things. They are two utterly amazing things, and you rely on them every moment of the day, and most Future Interaction Concepts completely ignore both of them. Hands feel things, and hands manipulate things.

Go ahead and pick up a book. Open it up to some page. Notice how you know where you are in the book by the distribution of weight in each hand, and the thickness of the page stacks between your fingers. Turn a page, and notice how you would know if you grabbed two pages together, by how they would slip apart when you rub them against each other.

Go ahead and pick up a glass of water. Take a sip. Notice how you know how much water is left, by how the weight shifts in response to you tipping it.

Almost every object in the world offers this sort of feedback. It's so taken for granted that we're usually not even aware of it. Take a moment to pick up the objects around you. Use them as you normally would, and sense their tactile response – their texture, pliability, temperature; their distribution of weight; their edges, curves, and ridges; how they respond in your hand as you use them.

There's a reason that our fingertips have some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body. This is how we experience the world close–up. This is how our tools talk to us. The sense of touch is essential to everything that humans have called 'work' for millions of years.

Now, take out your favorite Magical And Revolutionary Technology Device. Use it for a bit. What did you feel? Did it feel glassy? Did it have no connection whatsoever with the task you were performing?

I call this technology Pictures Under Glass. Pictures Under Glass sacrifice all the tactile richness of working with our hands, offering instead a hokey visual facade."

(Bret Victor, 8 November 2011)




Simon Perkins
14 FEBRUARY 2012

A is for Atom: atomic giants released from within the atom's heart

"Although the 'Atoms for Peace' campaign was formally launched in 1957, corporate America began to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy as early as the first few months after Hiroshima. A Is For Atom, an artifact of this effort, takes this highly loaded and threatening issue straight to the public in an attempt to 'humanize' the figure of the atom.

A Is For Atom speaks of five atomic 'giants' which 'man has released from within the atom's heart': the warrior and destroyer, the farmer, the healer, the engineer and the research worker. Each is pictured as a majestic, shimmering outline figure towering over the earth. 'But all are within man's power – subject to his command,' says the narrator reassuringly, and our future depends 'on man's wisdom, on his firmness in the use of that power.'

General Electric, a long–time manufacturer of electric appliances, power generation plants, and nuclear weapon components, is staking a claim here, asserting their interest in managing and exploiting this new and bewildering technology. Its pitch: this is powerful, frightening, near–apocalyptic technology, but managed with firmness, it can be profitable and promising. This 'Trust us with the control of technology, and we'll give you progress without end' pitch resembles what we've seen in films like General Motors' To New Horizons (on the Ephemeral Films disc). But the automobile, of course, wasn't a weapon of mass destruction.

In its first two years of release, A Is For Atom was seen by over seven million people in this version and a shortened ten–minute theatrical cut. In 1953 it won first prizes in both the Columbus (Ohio) and Turin (Italy) Film Festivals, the Freedoms Foundation Award, an 'oscar' from the Cleveland Film Festival, and a Merit Award from Scholastic Teacher. In 1954 it won first prize in the Stamford Film Festival, a Golden Reel Award from the American Film Assembly, and a second Grand Award from the Venice Film Festival. The film was remade in the mid–sixties and is still available for rental.

Like other John Sutherland films, A Is For Atom presents a portentious message in a visually delightful and often self–deprecating manner. 'Element Town' and its quirky inhabitants, including hyped–up Radium and somnolent Lead, is unforgettable, and the animated chain reaction manages to avoid any suggestion of nuclear fear."

(Internet Archive)



19572D • A is for Atom • animated presentationanimationapocalypticatomatomic energy • atomic giants • Atoms for Peace • automobilechain reactioncorporate America • destroyer • eduction campaign • electric appliances • electricity • electricty • Element Town • engineer • Ephemeral Films • farmer • future • General Electric • General Motorsgiant • healer • Hiroshima • humanise • Internet Archive • John Sutherland • lead • mass destructionnew horizonsnuclear fearnuclear weapon • portentious • power • power generation • progresspropaganda • radium • science • Sutherland Productions • technologytrusturaniumvisual representations of scientific concepts • visually delightful • warrior


Simon Perkins

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