Digital Revolution

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Technology affects every aspect of our life so much that the way we consume information now often defines our thinking. So how do we understand the impact of technology?

For Digital Natives, like the majority of students, it’s a given. They were born into it and they live it. But for others, like myself, the very idea, scale and its omnipresence is a truly remarkable, if not scary, process without an obvious conclusion.

It was not until a couple of years ago when I consciously realised the true scale and impact of technology in my life.

I had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the natural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. I began to feel that my mind was changing, that I wasn’t thinking the way I used to think.

I noticed that I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book or a lengthy article but now my concentration started to drift after a page or two. I would get fidgety, lose the thread, or begin looking for something else to do.

So I went ‘un-plugged’ for a week and then started thinking, looking for answers and I turned to Google for doing some research. And it’s what and how I found it that made me realise the obvious that so frequently we tend to forget.

It’s the way we consume information now provided by technology, its instant accessibility and already defined content that enriches or inhibits our thinking.

When we absorb information our independent thinking is often led by technology and so there’s a danger we’re subconsciously guided by it, and relying on what Stanley Kubrick would refer as “artificial intelligence”.

“As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence”.

When we outsource our memory to a ‘machine’, we also outsource a very important part of our intellect and even our identity. It’s harder for us to lock information into our ‘biological memory’.

Kubrick’s dark prophecy still remains to unfold but there’s no doubt that in the creative world digital convergence is now happening fast making visual communications a challenging creative space incorporating, ideas, moving image, sound, 3D, interactive design & story telling and more. So, whether you’re a digital native or not, it’s important to remember where ideas or stream of consciousness are born.

Smell Taste Sight Touch Sound

In our own “hard drive”, our brain where we have “plugins” - our five senses (computers only give us two senses: sight & sound).

Technology is a great source of inspiration but let’s not forget that we can get more inspiration from elsewhere. We’re not “alone together”.

The Fabrics of Design

Throughout the digital revolution, I have kept my design process as organic as I possibly can. I like to be able to start my thinking by being in touch with real materials and things, which allow my five senses to send information, back to my brain for further analyses and assessment. Starting in such a way puts me in control as the further creative and production processes unfold. I mention this above as an introduction to two aspects, which creatively still rely on working this way – Interior Design and Production Design.

One encounter early on in my career was meeting and working with the late production designer and art director Anton Furst, on the set of the first Batman film and in those days analogue technology was all we knew. I could see even then while watching and talking to Anton how at one he was with his craft. He and his room at Pinewood Studios looked like something out of a ‘Charles Dickens’ novel. Drawings in thick 6B pencil on large pieces of paper of his vision of Gotham City. Materials, sections of plaster casts of shapes etc covered the room and walls, it looked at first hand more like chaos. But when I asked him about how he worked he said that he simply worked from what his thoughts told him and then he made them real in the world. I needed to know more evidence on how I should work no matter how the technology would evolve in the future.

So when we embarked recently of the title sequence for Day of the Flowers for John Roberts, we wanted to source real wallpaper and fabrics which would be in keeping with Cuban interiors of the 70s. I didn’t have to look far because only a stones throw away is Skinners of Tunbridge Wells, where I can delve into a rich world of fabrics, papers and paints, which cover a wide spectrum of interior design styles and tastes.

John Roberts Day of the Flowers

In this warm friendly atmosphere I can be left alone to just flick through fabulous designs with no intention or purpose, only to look and occasionally stroke the resident Pug Ester.

Skinners have also played a valuable role in my art collection © Cut UK, where they have used my art within their interior design projects. Skinners was established in 1886 and the present proprietor Jane Stollery is the owner of a special one-off Cut image Human five, which is displayed in her own home as seen in the picture below.

Jane Stollery

Jane Stollery says “As a designer I appreciate the talent captured in the 'Cut' images - they are in a class of their own and each with a story. Paintings, Art and image based Wallpapers play an important role in the finish of an interior and with ‘Cut’, there is something for everyone.”

© Cut UK has also featured recently in films as part of the room settings. John Paul Frazer production designer on ‘Progression’ which is currently in postproduction from Shooting Movies, used various 'Cut' images as part of his production design.

Shooting Movies

Without meeting Anton who knows if my future would have been and continues to be so rich - inspiring people is a gift to us all.