Thursday, 11 January 2007

The Mobile device and hedonism.

I wasn't planning on making this subject my first port of call, however, with the announcement of the Apple iPhone and other well designed and implemented pieces of mobile technology, such as the Nokia N76 at CES, I've decided to go ahead with it.

The nature of aestheticism, its pursuit and application in someone's life, is pivotal to hedonism. Tracking the beautiful and exquisite, hunting the spectacular and stunning are pre-requisites for people who wish to devote themselves to a hedonistic lifestyle, leading an intense life in the pursuit of beauty. Now, although aestheticism is perhaps a dated concept and has since died a death, I believe its key lines of philosophy are still relevant today. With the philistine hunt for celebrity and other such dullard pastimes, the search for beauty in something with no need for any didactic meaning or prevalence is perhaps more relevant than ever.

Although, perhaps I’m mistaken. The technology I’m calling into question here is, in many cases, aesthetically attractive, following precise lines and an evolution of design, but it does have meaning; it has purpose and conceivably without the ability to fulfil this purpose the object will lose its beauty.

The Apple Iphone for instance.  Following from Apple’s previous design technique it follows a simplistic curve that balances practicality with an ergonomic sense of place. Its smooth exterior and rounded shape will, I believe, feel natural in the hand and carry the ability to fit easily on the body. It glistens like a ruby or diamond, and catches onto that innate human susceptibility for all things shiny. It retains a beauty in itself, as an object it is refined, doubtless it would fool an asethetist of old into making them think it was a precious stone or some such. For arguments sake, it is an eye catching and pleasing piece, and hedonistically sound, from a traditional standpoint at least.


However, the debate questions whether the exterior alone carries the hedonistic attributes of such an item. Would a hedonist, in the true sense of the word – defined simply as a person in the pursuit of pleasure – encase the product in a glass sphere of some kind simply to look at and, like the traditional aestheticism forerunners, reject its meaning and purpose simply to behold its beauty? Or would they use it, believing the pleasure that can derived from the object is in fact a combination of its aesthetic beauty and its technological prowess, its functionality and practicality. I believe they would opt for the second, at least in this day and age. As pleasant as the device is to the eye, its real power for the creation of pleasure lies within. Technical specs are dull, but sound in the knowledge that it has an extensive practical use, I believe it is a great example of how in the 21st century, technology and hedonism are combined, are one with each other.

Which one carries the most weight though? Functionality and technological dexterity or design and aesthetic beauty? Indeed, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet using averages in order to make some progression, I believe most would side with functionality, purpose and utility over aesthetic looks when it came down to which one would allow more pleasure to be derived from the device. The iPhone treads a fine line between the two, with possibly the greatest amount of skill seen in recent times.

An amateur, when asked, would probably tell how companies such as Vertu produce the most hedonistic mobile devices. With their gold trimmings, titanium cases, diamond encrusted pieces of flash; they certainly are extravagant on one level. However, hedonism is not derived entirely from a large price tag alone; perhaps a costly item will often deliver large amounts of pleasure, but not always. The practical functionality of a device, which can be priced as high as £20,000 in this instance, is paramount to its hedonistic qualities. When on a specification list the company has to mention that the device has a calculator, it immediately becomes apparent that once purchased, there is little pleasure to be derived from your diamond encrusted Signature Verto Phone, other than its sparkly nature.


And there are devices that take the other step, away from elegant, exotic and often eccentric design, further into the realm of functionality. The newly announced Nokia N76 for instance takes this step, whilst maintaining a decorum and aesthetic presence on its flip-side that the Vertu devices fail to do with itself. Treading lightly between refined design and polished practicality it meets somewhere in the middle, alongside the iPhone, which is truly the better, or in the realm of this discussion, is the most hedonistic, is a question for another time.

Aestheticism originally grew out of symbolism and decadence; art for arts sake with no moral meaning or use. A pure quest for beauty, for pleasure from art and nothing else. Technology cannot fall into this category, it cannot be art for arts sake, or technology for technologies sake; correct there are masses of gadgets and gizmos that look splendid but have day-to-day practical use, but they do have a use none-the-less. This however, does not by any means bring technologies hedonistic values into question. Where beauty and functionality combine perfectly in the 21st century to bring pleasure through whatever it may be, highlights its importance in a hedonistic lifestyle.

So I say fuck the ones with their stupidly expensive devices that have all the pizzazz but none of the practicality. And fuck the dullards who fail to realise just how important technology is to hedonism in the 21st century, the blockheaded fucks who are stuck in the past chasing cheap drugs when it has been seen and done, to great extent so many times before. Embrace the poly, take hold of the silicon, and chase the dream of attaining hedonism through the perfect combination of function and design.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , ,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

top [url=]online casinos[/url] check the latest [url=]free casino bonus[/url] unshackled no set aside reward at the best [url=]free casino games