Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg
August 26, 2012 5:35 PM   Subscribe

It is proposed that a memorial to Steve Jobs be erected in St. Petersburg, Russia. The entries are in and you can vote for your favourite online.

A sampling of the entries (using Google Translate).
No 1086 An old Steve Job's sitting on a bench eating an apple. You'll be able to sit next to him and get your picture taken. Features free Wi-fi too.
No 1068 an interesting tableau based around the apple: Adam tempting Eve; an apple falling from the tree on Newton's head; and the surprising information that Jobs named the company after a visit to an apple orchard in India.
No 0010 features: A shuttle coming out of a garage representing Jobs' debut; Moses leading his followers just like Steve: A hand and electricity socket combining to generate power for an iPhone; A craniotomy that reveals that Steve had a normal brain; A guitar symbolising his love for The Beatles and the creation of the iPod and iTunes; The universe, which is also tied in with his open brain; A pirate ship; A traffic sign with an arrow indicating that you go straight ahead and don't stop; People on a bridge holding hands (communicating); Rainbows, because freedom of thought and hunger for change are hipster features; A chopped down tree representing the wisdom that was struck down by his cancer.
posted by unliteral (59 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I imagine that Steve Jobs' own preferences for this would be a polished slab of dark marble or something.
posted by Spacelegoman at 5:42 PM on August 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


Whatever design they go with will be obvious and Samsung will come out with the same memorial three months later. Of course theirs will honor their current CEO.`

I imagine that Steve Jobs' own preferences for this would be a polished slab of dark marble or something.

Gotta bring enlightenment to the primates somehow.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:43 PM on August 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


The Russian government's going to be really confused when the winning entry is "Vote Ron Paul!"
posted by leotrotsky at 5:45 PM on August 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


No 1086 An old Steve Job's sitting on a bench eating an apple. You'll be able to sit next to him and get your picture taken. Features free Wi-fi too.

This reminds me of that statue of Einstein near the State Department and the Fed. Except with Wi-fi. And Einstein's rather larger than life size.
posted by hoyland at 5:46 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


...carved in gold, of course.

"But that's really impractical!"
"Have you ever met a libertarian?"

posted by leotrotsky at 5:47 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


How about a walled garden that people are arbitrarily kicked out of?
posted by srboisvert at 5:49 PM on August 26, 2012 [35 favorites]


A big painting that gets you sued for 1 billion dollars if you take a picture of it.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 5:50 PM on August 26, 2012 [18 favorites]


and the picture is actually of Geesung Choi.
posted by boo_radley at 5:51 PM on August 26, 2012


How about three roaring matryoshka cats behind bars.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:52 PM on August 26, 2012


Well crap, now what I do with the shrine I've already built?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:54 PM on August 26, 2012


I have no idea why, but the first thing I thought of was a statue of Razor "Hard Gay" Ramon, pelvis thrusting, with a plaque that read "Steve Jobs". No idea.
posted by jpolchlopek at 5:55 PM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just do a giant iPod, where the album art is see-through so tourists can photograph their stupid friends acting like idiots, and the track name is 'St. Petersburg' and the artist is 'Steve Jobs'. Done.

Where's my damn iPad, Russia? Where is it?
posted by mannequito at 5:58 PM on August 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


People want to memorialize the skinny ascetic-looking Jobs of later years. I still think of him as the smug young fucker. Why not go with that?
posted by benito.strauss at 6:15 PM on August 26, 2012


Finally, a real reason to visit my birthplace.
posted by griphus at 6:18 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Steve Jobs would be a bit taken about by a Jobs memorial in St. Petersburg (or anywhere else in Russia) given his record on LGBT rights.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:19 PM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I imagine that Steve Jobs' own preferences for this would be a polished slab of dark marble or something.

And a lawsuit against the Kubrick estate.
posted by kafziel at 6:20 PM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I vote for the giant asshole.
posted by philip-random at 6:28 PM on August 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


benito.strauss: 0109 looks to be your choice, then.
posted by BiggerJ at 6:29 PM on August 26, 2012


Oh, and you can choose up to five.
posted by BiggerJ at 6:30 PM on August 26, 2012


I vote for the giant asshole.

Full reveal: my MacBook's keyboard is f***ing up on me as I try to wrie this. I mean to sae Giant water buffalo
posted by philip-random at 6:30 PM on August 26, 2012


Somehow 'Hitler did nothing wrong' will end up winning.
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 6:31 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Steve Jobs had a litmus test for evaluating workers: it was a lot like a literal litmus test.
posted by evabraunstein at 6:38 PM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Spacelegoman: "I imagine that Steve Jobs' own preferences for this would be a polished slab of dark marble or something."

With rounded corners.
posted by octothorpe at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


To paraphrase Sibelius, monuments will never be built to haters.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:57 PM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Steve Jobs had a litmus test for evaluating workers: it was a lot like a literal litmus test.

An article with interesting ideas that forsakes any nuanced understanding of its subject for vitriol.

Jobs was a deeply flawed human being. At his worst, he was shameful. At his best, he helped create incredible things that could not have existed without him, and popularized some terrific ideas that I'm glad are better-known now.

I didn't know a thing about his weird aversion to surgery until he died; that was a private strangeness that he didn't spend any of his time promoting. Nor did I know about his sordid personal life, and to the best of my knowledge, when he spoke about his life, he avoided promoting his lifestyle as a desirable one. Instead, the legacy of Jobs is the idea that if you give people a way to do something, and if you make that way as easy and accessible as possible, then they will do incredible, unexpected things. My high school love of the then-new iPhone introduced me to Dieter Rams, to a world of design and user-comes-first theory that I hadn't known existed. Design has almost become a fetish now, and that bugs me, but it's preferable to outright user unfriendliness.

There're legitimately sucky things about both Steve Jobs and the company he created. For a man with ties to Buddhism and anti-consumerism, he made some nasty business choices that make me occasionally uncomfortable to be an Apple fan. I think Apple makes some fantastic computers, and I am not enough of a programmer to regret the freedoms it denies me, yet I feel there must be better ways to ensure usability without completely walling off the people who would like their iDevices to be freer. Ultimately it doesn't affect me, and the policy results in some fantastic app developers who occasionally make my life noticeably better and happier... but it comes with a cost, and there's a chance that that cost will lead to bad things down the road.

But when all's said and done, Jobs did some incredible things for the world that I think outweigh the bad ten to one. He created tools that emphasize the beauty of technology, spoke words that inspired me and millions of others to learn things we'd never have bothered learning otherwise, and is responsible for the machines that've let me make and learn and connect with people in ways I couldn't have otherwise. I noted years ago that my favorite web developers, my favorite programmers, and many of my favorite artists lean towards using Apple products to make their thing, and it's no coincidence: they feel the same connection I do.

He deserves a statue, and I hope it will be one that commemorates the good in him, the potential, rather than the uglinesses. Not for the sake of propaganda, but because his best qualities were truly amazing, rare traits that I'd love a generation to be inspired by. And certainly we'll learn from the worst of him too, and try not to be him; but the legacy is more important than the man now, and that's what this statue should commemorate.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:05 PM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


http://www.dmc.tv/pages/en/Where-is-Steve-Jobs/20120822-The-Hereafter-News:Steve-Jobs-where-is-he-now-Part-1.html

There he is.
posted by swooz at 7:12 PM on August 26, 2012


He deserves a statue, and I hope it will be one that commemorates the good in him, the potential, rather than the uglinesses.

Yes, and to be fair, so do many of the pioneers and titans of industry who launched the digital era. A Woz in bronze should be next to him. Gates and Allen can have their own. And Page and Brin, and Bezos, and Zuckerberg, and more importantly figures such as Tim Berners-Lee and K&R. Disney should invest in a new Hall of Technologists exhibit at Tomorrowland. It would be both educational, flattering, and uncanny valley.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:36 PM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's odd. I has thought a Pyramid and in China.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:36 PM on August 26, 2012


But when all's said and done, Jobs did some incredible things for the world that I think outweigh the bad ten to one. He created tools that emphasize the beauty of technology, spoke words that inspired me and millions of others to learn things we'd never have bothered learning otherwise, and is responsible for the machines that've let me make and learn and connect with people in ways I couldn't have otherwise.

I'm well aware that this will sound harsh and dismissive, but it is not intended as such -- furthermore, I honestly cannot think of a better metaphor for the situation. That said:

I think your high esteem for Steve Jobs is an example of "first favorite band" syndrome. It seems like no other band (or Consumer Electronics Exec) would ever have been so influential, so important. And further, your First Favorite Band always seemed to come up with their music ex nihilo. But everyone else can trace the predecessors, and they remember when those predecessors were influential and important (Dieter Rams : Steve Jobs :: Leadbelly : Led Zeppelin).

While Jobs was a hugely influential consumer electronics exec, had he been simply lifted clean from history and forgotten (say, had he died in a car accident when young), our electronic/computing world would look different, but we'd be having the same ideological battles. Someone would have invented a really awesome phone. Someone would have been building computers with a high emphasis on good design.

From the 70s to 90s, the brand that was the real cutting edge of consumer electronic design and function wasn't Apple. It was Sony. Sony the innovator (Trinitron, Walkman, the democratization of miniaturized electronics), Sony the design powerhouse -- look at some of the really functionally beautiful designs of many of its products during its heyday -- nobody was keeping up until a few key execs retired and the company went down hill. A little over a decade ago, if you wanted the best TV, you got a Sony -- and you paid a premium for it. Sound familiar?

I won't guess whether the good outweigh the bad by any ratio or other. Jobs built up a cult of personality, and for people of the right age, Steve Jobs became their First Favorite B(r)and. But ultimately, he was merely (if you can say "merely" at such heights of success) one of the 10 or 20 most influential movers in consumer electronics in the last 30 years. He wasn't the savior of electronics that his cult of personality made him out to be, and he wasn't a monster.

He was just an asshole who never learned to stop being an asshole because his creativity and drive and success gave him enough license.
posted by chimaera at 7:38 PM on August 26, 2012 [21 favorites]


But when all's said and done, Jobs did some incredible things for the world that I think outweigh the bad ten to one. He created tools that emphasize the beauty of technology, spoke words that inspired me and millions of others to learn things we'd never have bothered learning otherwise, and is responsible for the machines that've let me make and learn and connect with people in ways I couldn't have otherwise.

I don't mean to pick on your particularly Rory, or the notion that people can form strong attachments to inanimate objects, or the way they enhance their everyday lives, but I do find it a fascinating aspect of consumer capitalism, that products are encouraged as cosigns for emotions, for learning, for beauty etc. Products becoming the things they facilitate.

I mean, shit, I understand people interact with Apple products on a daily basis, so it's easy to see how the weave into the tapestry of life. But honestly, the above reads like something more appropriate for, I don't know, Florey, or Fawcett, or Marconi, or someone. Not a latter-day Vanderbilt or Ford.

I can't help but feel such a view is tremendously ahistorical and also culturally myopic. Everyone is always talking about the way Jobs was unique - another important facet of latter-day capitalism. No one is talking about the ways he was the same, no one's bundling him in with the CEOs that presided of over Nokia, over Kellogs, over the East India company. Those organisations all did what Apple did, and more.

Jobs, his PR, people and the media encourage/d this notion of him as Outsider, but he was no outsider in any meaningful sense of the word. But of course, he has to be an outsider, so if you buy his products it proves you are an outsider, or you will become one.

Like his products, canonisation of Jobs is more about our desires and wishes, than anything to with his products or his life. I personally think it's a bit sick - though, of course, not uniquely so, and far from the only modern example. It's just a particularly relevant and widespread one.
posted by smoke at 7:43 PM on August 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


Steve Jobs left the world a brighter, better, more interesting and more fun place than when he came into it. If you use a computer of any stripe — Windows, Linux, Android — you are using the direct offspring of ideas he filtered and pushed into coherent ideas of how technology should work and how people should interface with it, and you're one among millions of others who have benefitted from his vision, creativity, and perseverance in the pursuit of excellence, in the face of some pretty substantial personal and professional odds. His impact on how we use technology is mostly positive, certainly unique and without a doubt unmistakable.

Monuments aren't built to honor the recipient so much as to put into physical form that which we value as a culture. We'll not see his greatness and originality again in humanity for some time, I suspect, and as threads like this clarify, we just don't know how to value the best in ourselves. So on that level, I don't think we really deserve a monument to Steve Jobs. Maybe in 50-100 years, humanity will have the emotional distance and rational clarity to understand exactly what he did and how he made the human race better off. For now, not so much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:58 PM on August 26, 2012


So on that level, I don't think we really deserve a monument to Steve Jobs.

We're not worthy?
posted by adamdschneider at 8:32 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


hoyland: "No 1086 An old Steve Job's sitting on a bench eating an apple. You'll be able to sit next to him and get your picture taken. Features free Wi-fi too.

This reminds me of that statue of Einstein near the State Department and the Fed. Except with Wi-fi. And Einstein's rather larger than life size.
"

I sat on that statue for a picture when I was a kid. It's one of my favorite pictures from that trip. :)
posted by dejah420 at 8:35 PM on August 26, 2012


Nor did I know about his sordid personal life, and to the best of my knowledge, when he spoke about his life, he avoided promoting his lifestyle as a desirable one.

Er I hate to be this person, but what is this in reference to?
posted by whir at 8:37 PM on August 26, 2012


We're not worthy?

Not if we can't value what made him great, no, not really. The hate for him is still freshly political, at this point, so I suspect we'll have to take Max Planck's advice and wait a few decades for the old generation to die out, before the human species understands what was lost when he passed away.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:41 PM on August 26, 2012


Blazecock, I seriously don't mean to needle you, but have you ever had a wistful chuckle over something silly you experienced with a Mac operating system or program?
posted by benito.strauss at 8:46 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't wait until Stephen Colbert weighs in on this...
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:26 PM on August 26, 2012


I hope they use the rainbow-coloured Apple logo.
posted by docgonzo at 9:30 PM on August 26, 2012


Steve Jobs left the world a brighter, better, more interesting and more fun place than when he came into it.

Yeah, not so much. I mean, I love my iPod Touch and, in fact, as soon as it broke, I bought another one to replace it. First time I've ever done that. But, then again, his main impact was to package existing technology very well for marketing purposes. I had an mp3 player long before the first iPod came out, and when the first iPod came along it was inferior to what I had been using and cost more. But with time, Apple figured out that the technology they had developed for the iPhone would be a great way to deliver the iPod. The iPhone itself is a nice bit of technology, but I like Motorola's implementation of the smartphone concept better. And any Apple computer I've ever used I've had to walk away from in frustration with the limited flexibility enforced by some of the cutesiness Jobs insisted on. The Touch suffers from some of this as well. Jobs's main skill was in marketing/packaging, although it was informed by his techological savvy. So I feel your encomium is a little over the top.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:35 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Steve Jobs would have loved these all.

Especially this one.
posted by mazola at 9:41 PM on August 26, 2012


What mp3 player did you have that was better? I went from a nomad with 32mb with a $128 32mb backpack to a 5GB player and while it cost twice as much I could run 6 miles and never hear the same song twice which was not possible with the Nomad.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:43 PM on August 26, 2012


Like his products, canonisation of Jobs is more about our desires and wishes, than anything to with his products or his life. I personally think it's a bit sick - though, of course, not uniquely so, and far from the only modern example. It's just a particularly relevant and widespread one.

Don't we canonize Disney and Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller, Stark and Donaghy already? What's another industrialist mogul to add to our modern hagiography?

It may be unfortunate, but I suppose those who excel at the capitalist system are equivalent to the great hunters and warriors who dominated the myths and legends of our ancestors.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:30 PM on August 26, 2012


Maybe in 50-100 years, humanity will have the emotional distance and rational clarity to understand exactly what he did and how he made the human race better off. For now, not so much.

Steve, is that you?
posted by benzenedream at 10:33 PM on August 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


A young Steve Jobs holding a Soviet knockoff of an Apple II, next to an older Steve Jobs holding a Samsung Capitulate S III 4G Sprint (or whatever).
posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:11 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know, but there's something about this one.

№ 1113 Hairy Apple - maximum installation
Installation - holds the largest of the earlier created - for the book. Guinness: - there is a lot of photos - Steve Jobs with "hairy unshaven", therefore, "furry Apple"! - Apple has a diameter of approx. 10m, performed by the type of Fuller's domes of bars and planks on the outside - a layer of straw and hay. The top layer - colored food dye in company colors Apple (environment). Apple cavity - empty, with a podium in the level of his round, "gnawing" - is used as a music venue - on the podium - live music, in the images of Steve Jobs all ages - with the performance of his favorite music.
posted by Prince Lazy I at 1:33 AM on August 27, 2012


I had a 1 Gb iRiver with an FM tuner & voice recording. That original iPod interface drove me crazy. It was so anti-intuitive with the "wheel" performing perversely different functions. Plus, it was bulky and had an odd shape, to my hand, and no tuner. About the only thing it had going for it was bigger storage.

I recognize that many people loved the original iPod and my opinion seems odd to them.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:39 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't we canonize Disney and Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller, Stark and Donaghy already?

Wait, when did Steve Jobs repel an alien invasion? (Jeff Goldblum helping doesn't count.)
posted by kmz at 2:09 AM on August 27, 2012


In the patent verdict thread, I said
I have a fervent hope that history will judge Bill Gates and Steve Jobs by what they did with their money and their lives, but every time I see the line outside an Apple Store on release day, I despair at the thought that their version of evangelicals will probably end up rewriting that history, too.
This statue and the statements about how world-changing his totally original inventions are, that everybody else has been just stealing or copying them for 30+ years, and that most of us mere mortals are too crude or irrational to see his true greatness really underline this. Neither of them is a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but to claim that Jobs' good qualities outweigh his bad by ten-to-one? C'mon.

Steve Jobs built a company that usually took the innovations and inventions of hundreds that came before him, and combined them in admittedly new and interesting ways to make good-looking, accessible devices for the what is basically the world's 1%, and is now using underhanded bullying tactics to make sure his company dominates as many markets as it can. He chose to use his money to better his company and little else (eve going so far as to eliminate corporate giving when he took over again in 1997), often at the expense of workers around the world, then went to the President of the United States to decry that taxes, unions, and regulations were the reasons why he didn't build his products in the US. All the while, he was refusing to advocate for better working conditions (here or elsewhere) or investing in educating Americans to meet his exacting standards. Apparently that's good enough for canonization?

By comparison, Bill Gates built a company that made (for the most part) unoriginal or unexciting products and used underhanded bullying tactics to dominate a similar market. That made him, like Jobs, richer in a given year than most people can think of in their entire lifetimes. But he has been using that money to push for actual change in the health and education of millions of people around the world, many of whom will likely never have enough money to purchase Jobs allegedly world-changing devices. A lot of it he invested in the country he lives in to educate the innovators and artists of the future. He's already pledged to give half of his wealth over his lifetime to causes to further these goals, and upon his death he's likely to leave a good deal of his fortune to the people who want to continue that. And yet, he's just another troll who never recognized Jobs' and certainly never left the world a brighter and better place.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:29 AM on August 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


That should read "...never recognized Jobs' greatness and..."
posted by zombieflanders at 5:32 AM on August 27, 2012


I think you people are reading way too much into this statue. What it really seems to be is just a cheap publicity stunt by a St. Petersburg IT company attempting to appear cool and innovative. Except instead of having their engineering department come up with something actually cool and innovative, they've delegated the task to their PR department, who have apparently had a collective brainfart and have done something more reminiscent of the Soviet times: they've proposed to build a statue. A statue for someone they deem to be a cool and trendy IT person. And they've handled it in a manner typical to a large and unwieldy organization - by announcing a competition and promoting it through a "trendsetting" - that is, paid - blogger (who happens to be one of the most notorious paid blogger in Russia). I guess the results speak for themselves. The statue will, no doubt, eventually be built, though not in the center but in an ugly and grey suburb, and it won't be a huge monument but a small, boring bronze bust.
posted by daniel_charms at 6:40 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


A visionary technologist and brilliant businessman and not a very good person. I don't particularly case if someone private group somewhere wants to build a statue of him. Honestly, it will say a lot more about them than it will about Steve Jobs.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:29 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whether the statue be gold or bronze or titanium, make sure the feet are made of clay.
posted by meadowlark lime at 7:33 AM on August 27, 2012


All the while, he was refusing to advocate for better working conditions (here or elsewhere) or investing in educating Americans to meet his exacting standards.

An iPad stamping on a human face, FOREVER.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:12 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It should just be an enormous black turtleneck collar.
posted by Kabanos at 9:25 AM on August 27, 2012


Nor did I know about his sordid personal life, and to the best of my knowledge, when he spoke about his life, he avoided promoting his lifestyle as a desirable one.

Er I hate to be this person, but what is this in reference to?


It might have to do with the decades of being a deadbeat dad. Or driving around with no plates on his car, parking in handicapped spaces, because he could just have his assistant pay the tickets.
posted by kafziel at 9:36 AM on August 27, 2012


Maybe in 50-100 years, humanity will have the emotional distance and rational clarity to understand exactly what he did and how he made the human race better off. For now, not so much.

Or maybe in 50-100 years, we'll have come to a sort of consensus on the means BEING the end. That is, maybe we'll have learned that justifying bullshit behavior by pointing at some vaguely glossy end product only encourages more bullshit behavior. I appreciate that I live in a world that has been somewhat positively enhanced by innovations that have come through Mr. Jobs' initiatives. I've also worked for megalomaniacal assholes and seen the poisonous damage their actions cause to individuals and their families (and thus our communities). And I'm far from convinced that the former justifies the latter.
posted by philip-random at 9:49 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jobs, his PR, people and the media encourage/d this notion of him as Outsider

The spectacle is a thing in itself of course. How can you strip away the mythology to reveal things "as they really are" when the mythology itself is the thing under consideration? To say that Jobs is just like other people when you strip away the adulation is to remove precisely that which made him Jobs.
posted by deo rei at 3:39 PM on August 27, 2012


Thai Group Says Steve Jobs Reincarnated as Warrior-Philosopher
posted by homunculus at 10:41 AM on September 1, 2012


And the winner is, "Sunny QR, QR code image is formed in a special time. Each day, the figure changes, we have the new code." Unfortunately all the entries have been deleted so I don't have any more details, e.g. where the QR code would link to.
This google translate of the announcement is problematic,
The monument looks like a stand, top design solar QR-code. The design is as follows: even white surface and exited the vertical pins, whose height can be programmatically controlled. QR code image can be read only around noon, when sounds shot at the fortress. Each day, the figure changes, gets a new one.'
Any Russian readers want to provide a better translation? 'Sounds shot at the fortress' would be cool though.
posted by unliteral at 7:41 PM on September 24, 2012


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