Sometimes the West is obsessed with the idea of progress, sometimes
with the idea of decline, and sometimes both notions fall
off the radar entirely. The bakery that served my neighborhood
in the small Italian town where I grew up was called, I remember
vividly, Il Forno Moderno (The Modern Bakery). Italy was highly
confident of its future in the late fifties and sixties; that general
optimism evidently included the expectation that modern technology
would deliver more and better bread. Later the mood
changed. As far as I can remember, the bakery went out of business
in the early eighties, and after a while someone reopened
it under a new name—L’Antico Forno (The Old Bakery). When I
last visited the place the bakery had disappeared, and the site was
occupied by a cell phone store. It wasn’t called either modern or
old; the apparent name of the business, or at least the only visible
name in the shop window, was “Global Roaming” (in English).



The Alphabet and the Algorithm

Mario Carpo


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