Community values vs. consumerist prizes?

This afternoon there was a satirical Short Story on radio about the launch of the iHole into the empty consumer-gadget market left by the break-up of Apple Corporation. As a pocket-sized black hole, its only function was to disposal of small objects; yet it immediately became so inexpressibly cool that it achieved vast global sales – Listen Again to continue (BBC Radio 4 on 28th October)…

Which prompts the question: why is this competition offering global consumer goods as prizes whilst it seeks to promote a local sense of place, a Carbon Footprint calculator etc.? Is this a cynical ploy to confuse the public or hasten the end of the world as we know it?

Well, No and No… for a start, the project is not nearly so ambitious. At the outset, the project team of organisers and sponsors decided to aim the prizes at technology-aware members of the public, especially to¬† include young and young-ish entrants.

So the Google tablet, the software items and the cash prizes are just a means to an end that fits with current values, starting with awards that people are used to and pointing to more local and personal values; in short, those of community and crowd-sharing.

The competiton closes at end October, but if you’re quick you can display your 3D digital modelling skills – and feel good about it! A ‘sustainable Letchworth’ building or scene would be especially welcome.

Web site with full instructions: http://competition.letchworthfestival.org/
Email address: competition@letchworthfestival.org
Showcase of 3D models so far (search on ‘Letchworth Herts’): http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/

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