There is No Spoon

Dutch product designer Niels Datema made a set of spoons for baking bread at home.

When I look at them, I immediately think about modern apps. Not because Datema’s spoons are thin and shiny like mobile surfaces and interfaces (though it also adds to the mood), but because they are following the same paradigm, the same design intention to give users one tool for one task. This spoon is for flour, that one is for sugar. This is app is for writing poems, that one for writing prose. No ambiguity, no place for user improvisation.

These beautiful spoons will probably look very good in one’s kitchen. They can bring somebody who is afraid to make bread herself to the kitchen. But those spoons also suggest that there is only one recipe for bread or that you have to buy another combination of spoons for another formula. The same happens with apps. they are optimized for particular tasks and particular vendors.

Sorry for comparing software with cutlery. Couldn’t resist, since its appearance in Vachkovskij’s film, the spoon is a powerful symbol for imagining an algorithmic world, generated reality, cyberspace — for describing the Matrix. “Don’t try to bend the spoon … there is no spoon.” — Neo was advised and understood that everything is possible in the world inside the computer. It today’s matrix of adjusted and invisible interfaces there is again no spoon, and no need to try to bend one. There are myriads of spoons, pre-bended, ready to be installed.

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