Do Workstations Dream of Virtual Sheep? (1995)

RUST, C. (1995) When Workstations Dream of Virtual Sheep. co-design – Interdisciplinary Journal of Design and Contextual Studies, July 1996

Do Workstations Dream of Virtual Sheep?
A digital/analogue fantasy (1995)

I wrote this piece of whimsy at a time when 3-dimensional CADCAM was a big question for designers. It explored some of the traps we might fall into and second-guessed the  alternative virtual lifestyle and economy that seems to be emerging today in SecondLife and World of Warcraft (I’m quite proud of that). It also introduced Zeke Conran, a multi-talented individual who seems to be leading multiple lives. If you followed the 1999/2000 debates on the PhD Design email discussion list you will know that he later turned out to be advisor on contemporary art to Queen Sabena of the Low Countries and a personal friend of Picasso many years before he enrolled at the university of Wigan, rather like T.E.Lawrence who joined the Royal Air Force as an ordinary aircraftsman long after he achieved fame as a military leader in the desert.

Download full paper from archive.org

I’m very grateful to Mike Ward, a very talented cartoonist, for his illustrations which transform the paper, in fact his drawings make a written abstract (and perhaps even the full text) irrelevant

co-design should not be confused with the journal of the same name launched ten years or more after this publication. The earlier co-design was an ambitious if quirky journal that had a brief period of brilliance and then disappeared more or less without trace. I have scanned two issues of the journal and hope to build up a complete set and make it available on the web, so if you have a copy that I could cut up I’d be very grateful.

Finally the title of the published version is incorrect. The editors did not recognise the reference to Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep (sigh).

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