t h e w r i t t e n w o r d  o f   m a x s h a r a m

The Luminary and the Luddite.

Geek girl talks with self-confessed Luddite.
Luminary: Luddite, can you touch type?

Luddite: No. When I went to school typing was for girls only.

Luminary contemplates how different Luddite's world may be if he had been allowed in that class with all the girls.

Luminary: Do you have a computer at home?

Luddite: We have three PC's in our house and I have just learned how to locate the button that switches them off.

Luminary asks herself, 'How can a man so geometrically opposed to the incessant and irritating hum of computers - the Ned Lud of the millennium - live with three!? Is he  holding computers captive, committing some kind of obscene  computer cruelty behind closed doors or is the PC his idea of modern sculpture, ornamental - there to impress the quests?

Luminary: You must have children.

Luddite: Yes I have three children. The two girls use them mainly for games and homework. My son uses his incessantly. He makes websites and has some programming skills. He is also extremely fast at the touch typing. If I am a computer luddite he is the opposite - this facilities the appropriate inter-generational friction.

Luminary imagines the Luddite household being something like The Simpson's.

Luddite: A computer is a television full of books. Access to those books is complicated and requires patience and mathematics.

Luminary: Do you have a fax machine?

Luddite:  Yes, and a scanner.

Luminary:  Then you would have a fridge?

Luminary wonders what the Luddite fridge might look like.

Luminary: Do you have a web-site?

Luddite: Somewhere out there. My son put one together but while we were putting it up the computer crashed and we lost the password. I spent twenty minutes on hold to Network Solutions in the states to try and get a new password...they're impossible to get a hold of.

Luminary: So registering a Luddite.com company and selling your work over the net is not on your horizon?

Luddite: I exhibit and sell my artwork at Galleries.

Luminary: But there must be a massive Luddite following in other parts of the world.

Luddite: They can get my work through other means. I'm comfortable with that - it's relatively stress-free, I don't think I'd like to run a company. I exhibit in London and Milan – and am very popular in Italy - there's an exhibition in Milan sometime in June/July.

Luminary: Is there any chance that Luddite might come out with the next design for a computer - could you not submit some of your hand drawn designs to the mastermind behind the I-Mac - Mr. Steve Jobs himself, and create the next line of computers with personality?

Luddite: It would be fun to come up with regional designs - one with rusty corrugated iron and bricks...

Luminary:  The Outback-Australian design...You could create the leaning tower...

Luddite: Computers are an excellent repository for the masses of useless information. Some of the artwork and music produced with the aid of a computer is technically dazzling but often lacks the roughness or clumsiness that lends a human touch to organically produced materiel.

Luminary: Without that organic 'human touch' there would be no Luddite, the world wouldn't have seen your helium-filled houses bouncing around the Olympic Stadium at the closing ceremonies. How many of those inflatable characters were there?

Luddite: Twelve. We had an eighty foot kangaroo too and a massive fly that was supposed to attack Jimmy Barnes, but it was a little too dangerous to bring some of them out in the windy conditions.

Luminary:  That's a pity. So computers don't play a part in the art of the Luddite?

Luddite: My wife uses the computer to do the book-keeping. Computer generated art quickly acquires a predictability that comes from everyone using the same software programs.

Luminary:  Like signing a cheque in Helvetica or Times New Roman. The banks' wouldn't buy it.

Luddite: One of the predicted advantages of computers is that they would facilitate greater freedom of choice and affiliation and this is occurring to some extent, particularly in countries with repressive governments. Theoretically if everyone on earth had access to a computer terminal and could make their opinions known instantly you would have the ultimate democracy, but that is yet to happen, and most people would probably rather play games or look at pornography than exercise any political responsibility.

Computers have failed to produce a happier more peaceful world...

Luminary: But Mr. Luddite...my computer is everything to me - Post-office, radio, secretary, movie theatre, teacher, lover...he speaks numerous languages...How likely am I to find a guy that can bring me this many endless hours of intellectually stimulating pleasure?

Luddite: ...computer's have created more work and stress and competition for people rather than the utopian leisure world that technological sophistication was supposed to deliver.

Luminary: I'm waiting for my computer to propose.

Luddite: Until computers acquire the magical powers and the ability to alter the laws of physics possessed by the creator of the universe I will remain less than impressed with them.

Luminary: I'm looking forward to the future when I can computerise my entire house and hang art of the Luddite.

 ©Max Sharam


©Max Sharam.  All rights reserved.