I completely devoured this piece on Disney, data, and design fiction from Ian Bogost. It starts with a look at Disney’s new data tracking bracelet, MagicBand, but gets into all sorts of interesting territory on Walt Disney and his visions for the future:
But MagicBand isn’t like any old data gathering practice, because Disney isn’t like any old company. And not just because Disney is a giant conglomerate that has good reason to collect as much information about you as possible. Rather, because Disney’s theme parks don’t have the same relationship to reality that Google and Costco and the NSA do. They are hybrids of fantasy and reality.
Walt Disney embodied two unlikely ideals. On the one hand, he was a traditionalist, fond of railroads and small town main streets of the nineteen-aughts, of classic adventure and of folktales. But on the other hand, he was a futurist, encouraged by the idea that technology could and would produce a more prosperous and equitable “great big beautiful tomorrow.”
This piece is also one of the first essays from re:form, a new publication on Medium that looks at design’s periphery “finding the outlets where it meets technology, urbanism, science, food, business. It’s at these thresholds where design is most interesting, as a frame for thinking about why the world is the way it is, and what might come next.” I’m excited for to see where this goes.