iPod shuffle banner on John Rylands Library Deansgate, Manchester, during construction work.
I came across this photograph today and couldn’t help overinterpreting: the iPod as a collection of songs mirroring the collection of books that is the library, whereby the randomness of the shuffle mode, its undermining of taxonomy and order, corresponds with the precariousness of a collection that is being re-organised (see the scaffolding).
I also thought, while the iPod shuffle slogan “Enjoy uncertainty” has prompted many ironic comments on the reliability of the device, for me it’s pure genius. It succinctly captures the nature of random song choice: unpredictability and the pleasure afforded by the element of chance and surprise. I’m pretty sure that at some point, in retrospect, the iPod shuffle will be considered the icon of an age characterised by insecurity and the uncertainty of knowing.