On Saturday as part of the Melbourne Scarf Festival, we hosted a discussion about the iPod and its relationship to craft. Three speakers were invited, Associate Professor John Armstrong from the University of Melbourne Philosophy Department, Gary Barker Macwise columnist for The Age, and Abi Crompton, founder of Third Drawer Down. The discussion was prompted by an article in The Age featuring John Amstrong’s views on the way iPod reduced our appreciation of music by its sheer abundance.
‘Our actual need for interaction and support from other people would be damaged. We keep on thinking that if we get more pleasure, everything will work out. But imagine if you could watch television all the time with all the right programs sequenced one after another - you would do nothing else.
‘"Why is that bad? It's bad because when you get old you won't have anyone to love you."’
Unfortunately, Gary Barker was ill and unable to attend. But there was plenty of ideas to fill out the space. John Armstrong spoke intensely about an early childhood memory of a piece of blanket, and contrasted the singularity of this memory with the ever-increasing amount of material promised to fit into an iPod.
Abi Crompton argued that technologies such as the iPod can be empowering and she pointed to a number of young designers who were working within this kind of aesthetic. She spoke of:
In the end, John found hope that this new energy associated with the ‘knitting revolution’ would bring a sense of materiality to the world of the iPod.