As a society we have always tried to understand the meaning of what we create and accomplish. It is my take that we often look past the most obvious connections in a search for deeper meanings. I was particularly taken by the section of McLuhan’s writing were he began to discuss IBM and AT&T. We often look at them as either a computer chip company or a phone company, however IBM is in the business of processing information and AT&T is in the business of transferring it. Going back many years, the birth of technology came from the need for tools, to aid us in what our bodies could not accomplish. Now, with technology growing exponentially, the argument is made that technology is now extensions of our bodies. A few questions that we could ask a large majority in the country I would assume to yield the same answers. What would you do without a cell phone? Car? Computer?
Another part of the argument is to consider how we actually view or perceive these “tools”. The example used in McLuhan’s writing says that such objects or things like firearms or smallpox are not good or bad when viewed as only an object. Our perception changes when they are used or affected by society. The physical gun itself does not necessarily create violence, however it reflects a societies message, that being one of violence or potentially something else, depending on where that message is coming from. ( i.e. we view war and inner city violence very differently)
The point of all this to me is that we use these objects or creations all as means of expressing ourselves. Yes we need light bulbs to keep our home lit at night, but what kind of message or environment can you create with the light bulbs you choose to put in your home? Are they colored or tailored to give off a certain affect? Are they CFL’s? Why do we customize our phone cases? All these questions reflect the very nature of why create almost everything that we do as a society, so as designers, when we approach a new project, we often task ourselves with making the architecture communicate the clients’, or societies wants/needs/feelings and so on.