“Is Steve Jobs an Artist?” asks a recent New Yorker article following the movie. It’s not the right question. What kind of art form is a computer? Now that would have been a better question. The closest art form we all recognize is architecture.
What is code? A language which creates the bricks of machine architecture, heating, plumbing, electric, to continue the analogy, the guts of the machine. What is the design and marketing of the object containing code? It’s the architect using those same bricks to build imaginary worlds.
Medieval people must have been struck speechless, seeing great cathedrals made by a groups of artists, rise up out of the mud of their times. The computer’s architectural shock, is the ability to connect the human mind and body, through building blocks called apps and media, which then interface with and create new worlds, in the real world. Add mobile devices, and you have an architecture that is ever moving and evolving all at the same time.
In this world wide architectural art form Steve Wozniak wrote code, he was a master brick maker. Steve Jobs was the maestro of a world wide symphonic architecture. He took the code and built things and relationships with it. Sometimes he created this art form in his garage, sometimes, on his kitchen table. His offices were just a temporary nod to the shell connecting one to past architectural forms. All the time he was creating inside himself. You too are encouraged to use these tools to do the same. Not everyone has a cathedral inside them. But everyone can contribute to the process.
Jobs revamped entire businesses and even created many new ones. Even advanced techies were dumfounded by his leaps. If anyone bought into a film/tv production based on earlier models of whiz bang, it was money wasted. Anyone with an iPhone camera, computer and software can now make feature films and tv from a suitcase, and do.
New architecture changes peoples relationships to old structures. Medieval people may have lived in hovels, but they now could visit a cathedral. Soon after the homes of the multitudes also changed. The Renaissance was all about a new use of space, both personal and public. The same can be said of computers.
So if the computer is the architecture of the future, now, what kind of artist was Steve Jobs? As anyone who actually knows a real artist understands, they “see things different.” Right.
Whether Jobs was “nice” or not, is also not the most interesting question. There are many people who are not what ever the going version of “nice” is, that don’t create what he created. A better one would be, are people in general “nice” to artists, visionaries, anyone who thinks different?
Even more rare than a cathedral, I say. Rare. Rare. Rare.
C A Hall, has been a techie since before she saw her first computer. An award Winning Writer for Film & Television, she Directs/Produces and Designs at Spellbreaker Studios and consults on media and education.
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