According to Wikipedia, [the] office cubicle was created by designer Robert Propst for Herman Miller, and released in 1967 under the name “Action Office II”.
However, the first famous use of the concept of the cubicle did not occur until 1984. That would be George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1948).
It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate.
The cubicle is mentioned thirteen times in Orwell’s 1984 and at times is a major plot device. Then as now the cubicle was/is a cramped, privacy-free, dehumanizing, uniform workspace where your every move is open to observation and your every word can be heard by all.
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So the next time you report to your cubicle for work, just remember, Big Brother is watching.
I am currently re-reading George Orwell’s 1984, published interestingly enough in 1948. There is talk of yet another remake of the novel into a movie (see IMDB), the first being in 1956, the later in … conveniently enough … 1984.
A world constantly at war, justifying constant surveillance, sound familiar?
In truth, it appears to be modeled more after the worst (truth and fiction) of the old Soviet Union, yet it could easily be remade to reflect more modern times (even down to the flat panel vid screens hanging on the walls and cubicles for the workers, except that the cubicles of Orwell’s 1984 appear to be bigger than the ones I am used to seeing).
If you had to read it in grade school and have long forgotten it … or have never read it … go get a copy and read it. Amazon, iBooks, used book stores – all good places to buy it on the cheap.
1984 may not have been like “1984”, but 2014 has just enough similarities to make one ever so slightly uncomfortable if one thinks about it too much.
Also just over 30 years ago …