Saturday 30 August 2008

The Rehabilitation of the E

Thanks to Pixar, the tilted ‘E’ has been straightened out and its upright character finally restored once more. Hanging off its principal axis, it has been a key signifier of the Bright Labyrinth, which can be characterized as an environment that functions both through humans and despite them. The tilted E can clearly be seen in the logos for Dell computers and collapsed US power-traders Enron. As such, it will always remain a nostalgic reminder of a time when things were happening so fast in the digital regime that logos, brands and icons were getting caught in the slipstream. Back in the 1990s it was all about Electronics, Electricity and Ecstasy: words that came to contain so much power that they could barely contain themselves.

Enron actually managed to combine all three in the slogan for their TV commercials: ‘Ask Why’. This was always the tripped out, metaphysical, ultimate question that used to reduce computers to sparking piles of scrap in sci-fi fantasies about the return of human agency in the future.

Now Wall-E has come along to clean up and sort through all that futuristic junk, straighten out the E once more and re-assure us once again that machines don’t kill the environment – people do. We salute every pixel of his being. Robot Power. Robot Pride.

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