The carpentered world of technology

Almost forty years ago, geographer Yi-Fu Tuan used the concepts of ‘carpentered’ and ‘noncarpentered’ to distinguish between natural and built environments. He said “The carpentered world is replete with straight lines, angles and rectangular objects” whilst nature and the countryside “lack rectangularity”. He believes that these differences can have a powerful impact on the way we perceive and measure our environments. (Tuan, Y.-F. (1974). Topophilia. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. pp. 75-76)

I've been thinking about the fact that one of the problems of cyberspace as a biophilic space lies in its dependence upon rectangularity. We are squeezed into cyberspace through carpentered screens on hard-edged devices. However, Sharp’s Touch Wood SH-08C cellphone is an attempt to address that problem and last year they promoted it with this mesmerising video*. Sadly the phone is only available in Japan and in a limited edition. Intriguing though. Read more about it at

* Ironically, the machine featured in this video is actually highly-carpentered (!) but in a biophilic kind of way. See what you think. 


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