PLASTIK 10

 

while the iron is hot

 

I am sitting in my bedroom, and next to my bed, there is a MacBook, an iPad, a Blackberry, and three remote controls: one for the TV, another for the DVD player, and a third for the iPod dock. With a touch of a button, I would be involuntarily yet knowingly transformed into another world. We are a generation raised by the power of the remote control and taken by the theory that everything is within our grasp, thus our control. We want everything the way we expect it to be, and whenever something goes wrong, we panic, we malfunction, just like a machine.  It is an idea that has been planted in our heads by the monsters of technology – this delusional custody of power. The power of now. So we strike while the iron is hot, as if we are in a constant battle with time. It has taken hold of our life, so much that we don’t recognize the joy of life anymore. Because we are not human beings, we are consumers. We are always on the lookout for the new cell phone model, the new it-bag, the new it-story (…). Our time is lost in the pursuit of things. None is left to process them. For before you know it, there is a new “it” item just around the corner. And if you snooze, you lose. We strike while the iron is hot. That is exactly what is happening to the world today. The domino effect. One move triggers another. One uprising fuels another. Systems are falling with a touch of a button. Facebook and Twitter are more powerful than any political structure. Groups form online before they assemble on the streets, provoked, not by a “cause,” but by this very delusional possession of power. And with this power, they seek even more power. Until the day comes when they realize that the iron was so hot they burnt themselves. We are slaves to the rhythm: the “tick” that buzzes from our Blackberries, the “tweet” that peeps from our iPhones. The art of conversation has lost itself to the art of BBMing. The Hannah Montana generation has their thumbs always on the go. Like a synchronized event – heads down, eyes spinning left and right, back and forth – today’s kids learn texting before their ABCs. Their actual expressions are replaced by emoticons, and their smiles by LOLs (God forbid there is too many “O’s” in this one because that, my friend, is truly hitting rock bottom!) It really makes you wonder if they will ever stop and enjoy the essence of life, while they are Tweeting their way to college. If necessity is the mother of invention, how did we invent that many needs? So what if we don’t get 3 million “likes” on our profile picture? Would it kill us if we don’t Tweet Lady Gaga’s new video or Anne Hathaway’s dress at the Oscars just as she is stepping out of her limo? But then I look again at all the buttons in my bedroom and contemplate my options: I could escape, or I could live the now, “my” now, liberated from the chains of electromagnetic waves. With a touch of a button, I could escape. Yet instead, I lose my self to the good old-fashioned joy of reading a magazine. There is my power. The power of words. And there is nothing delusional about that! 

 
 
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BERNARD KHOURY

Interview

One of Lebanon’s most celebrated architects, Bernard Khoury, does not just talk the talk, but puts the money where his mouth is with cutting edge designs that at once blend in and stand out. Plastik asked him about the state of architecture within the rapidly changing landscape of modern day Beirut. A pretty picture?