Arthur F. Pease recently retired from Siemens, where he was Executive Editor of the English edition of the company’s award-winning international research and innovation magazine, Pictures of the Future. Born in Florence, Italy in 1952, Arthur grew up on Beacon Hill in the historic center of Boston, and graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas with a triple major in English, Philosophy, and Italian. He subsequently earned an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. Before moving to Germany to join Siemens in 1985 as Editor of the Siemens Review, Arthur pursued a deep fascination in medicine, first as Editor of the Stethoscope magazine at New York City’s Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and then as Director of Publications at New York Medical College.
What drives you, Arthur?
As a child, I was driven by a desire to write and paint. For fun, I wrote horror stories, created pictures of demonic creatures, studied anatomy books and medical magazines which I purchased from a nearby second-hand bookstore, and made detailed copies of bones and organs. From my little study on the third floor of our house at the top of Beacon Hill I remember looking down at the Massachusetts General Hospital on snowy afternoons and wondering what went on there. It was a fascination that never left me. When I joined the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in NYC in 1980 as Editor of the Stethoscope I began photographing and writing about groundbreaking operations and research projects.
Painting and writing have always been my hobbies. And in both cases, the relationships between present, future and memories play a fundamental role. When painting, I am drawn toward images in which a disaster is unfolding but is nevertheless invisible to the protagonists, thus the name of my favorite painting, “The Mystery of Innocence.” The explanation for this juxtaposition of threat and obliviousness is that the disaster is, in actuality, in the future. Thus, only the viewer – powerless of course to alert the painting’s protagonists – can see this.
The Mystery of Innocence / Arthur F. Pease / 1987
In writing poetry, I have returned over and over again to the subject of time and memory, as in this stanza from my 1995 poem “A Game of Memories”:
And you, my son, my little one, You stand there all alone – A barely decipherable pattern, An image scratched in stone. Erased? Forgotten? Transformed to dust by time? Yet here you are, My blond-haired son, Your little hand in mine.
In my career as a technology journalist, my fascination with the subject of time – in particular, the future – has been fundamental.
One of the many things I enjoyed immensely about my work at Siemens’ Pictures of the Future magazine was writing scenarios, essentially short stories about how a technology such as additive manufacturing or molecular diagnostics might change our lives decades from the present.
Although I have now been retired for several years, my deep interest in technologies and their effects on economics and societies remains undiminished. I now work as a freelance technology editor and most recently collaborated with the head of a major corporate research center to produce a book on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Lives of Memories /Arthur F. Pease / 1982
As for the past, part of my family history traces back over 1,000 years, and I have spent much of my time since retirement restoring what is left of an ancient estate. I am also translating and editing (from Italian into English) a book about the family and its many tragic turns of events that my mother wrote.
For more information on Arthur F. Pease visit his LinkedIN Profile. Editor of: Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution: A Guide to Tomorrow’s Technologies and Business Strategies