Tag Archives: play

easter eggs at sxsw09

this year at sxsw09 tom and i decided to launch a little prototype qr code-based game, something we came up w o the saturday afternoon and deployed over the next 24 hours. our goals were primarily to test qr codes in a large-scale environment, and more than anything to see what would happen.

i shared an ignite presentation (heh… an adventure ;) with matt milan last week at a workshop here in toronto called situate.us – a day long session exploring the applications and design of situated computing. all in all an amazing day, and major props to matt, michael and daniel for organizing ( as well as the other participants for bringing diverse flavours of awesome).

the premise of the project was this: imagine you’re an intrepid explorer who has stumbled upon sxsw09 for the first time, and it is the technological equivalent of the galapagos islands. the media you discover are somewhat familiar, and echo that which you’ve seen before, but some are completely new species, and essentially you think ‘what the hell is this intarweb?’ and you communicate your discoveries via twitter.

the technical side was pretty lowtech – we wanted to use readily available tools due to time and $$ constraints, so twitter, a qr generator, tinyurl & fedex were the basic platforms, as well as qr readers available on smartphones. every time our explorer found something, he twittered about it and linked to the site via tinyurl. each tweet generated a qr code, which we printed out on paper and distributed across the conference.

the results? well, it sort of worked… it was a good learning experience, in that we found out that printing qr codes on glossy paper = reader FAIL. we used tinyurl, when really we should have used bit.ly for tracking purposes. also, we didn’t really talk it up, preferring to see how ppl would react to random qr codes distributed across the conference (taped on streetposts, tables, walls, etc). turns out, with no context, not very well. so it didn;t work as well as it could have, but that’s what experiments are for!

ps – the last slide w the T800 and lentils is from tom’s recent presentation on augmented reality.


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heading to LIFT08


v v happy to be flying back to geneva this year for the ever-awesome LIFT conference. huge props to laurent, nicolas, sylvie and the rest of the LIFT team for putting together another really fantastic program. bruce sterling, bill cockaynelee bryant, julian bleecker, fabien girardin, stephanie booth, henriette weber andersen and noel hidalgo will be among the many giving talks, leading conversations and workshopping. tom is also giving what looks to be awesome workshop on the future of wireless. oof, unfortunately with the conference last week and project applications all over the place, i missed the deadline to submit…

regardless, i’m looking forward to catching up with friends, meeting new people and having my mind saturated with absolutely fantastic conversations. a new element this year is the venture night – where new startups give us their pitch! and there’s the threat of switzerland’s biggest. fondue. evar. <cheese glee>

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studio n seeks new studiomate!

please pass it along! many thanks, michele

Studio N Seeks New StudioMate

Studio N is a shared studio of independent jewellery/metal/craft artists with varying careers and schedules. The studio itself is located at 44 Dovercourt, south of Queen St, and is approximately 750 sq ft, with a wall of south-facing windows. It comes equipped with a small kitchen, bathroom, a reception area and some storage.

This is a shared studio with 5 bench areas (one area is shared by 2 part time people). We each bring in and are responsible for our own benches, hand tools, torches, materials, hardware, etc, and contribute to larger items/ machinery/ tools where possible. The pickle pot is shared, as are vise grips, a shear, ultrasonic, polisher, hydraulic press, etc.

As a caveat, Studio N is not a residency, mentoring or educational facility – it’s a professional collective of individuals developing their studio practice and business. We don’t provide access to materials, clients or exhibitions, but are definitely about supporting each other when we can. Our works vary from the traditional to the conceptual, with lots of messy territory in between. We do hold open house exhibitions 2+ times a year, involvement is not mandatory, and some of us teach small classes.

What we’re looking for:

You’re friendly, reliable, professional and used to working in a shared, respectful, studio environment. You’re safe and savvy around tools, chemicals, materials and processes. You’ve got some learning in you regarding jewellery and metals, whether it’s through school, apprenticeship, etc, and you have a professional commitment to your practice, whatever that might entail. You’re in possession of tools, and are not averse to contributing when you can!

  • Rent: $200/month inclusive, last month deposit req’d, one year+ commitment preferred.
  • Other: a shared phone line at about $9/month plus any long distance; a $5/month kitty for baking soda, pickle, dish soap, garbage bags, etc.
  • Available: February 1st, 2008
  • Access: 24 hours. close proximity to Queen and King streetcar, Dufferin bus, Gladstone Hotel poutine.

Who we are:

  • Fiona MacIntyre
  • Lara McQuay
  • Michele Perras
  • Carolyn Scandiffio
  • Anneke Van Bommel

Please contact Michele at 416-805-8661, michele {.} perras {@} gmail {.} com

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scotchcamp tonite!

95524589_b04adf2594.jpgphoto by asmunder

the torcamp scotchcamp holiday social will be happening tonight at allen’s on the danforth, from 8pm onwards. stop in to warm up from the cold, and share a bit of cheer. as well, allen’s has a fine selection of over 160 scotches, whiskies and bourbons, and plenty of other options for those whose palate marches to a different drum. and also there’s great food! see you there!

  • when: december 17, 8pm
  • where: allen’s on the danforth, 143 danforth ave (just east of broadview, south side)

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i are dunecat, and necessary for space travel

so this was too funny to pass by – thx to michelle for the giggles!! and yeah… i really should be working too ;)

Your Score: Spice Melange

You scored 100% intoxication, 75% hotness, 100% complexity, and 75% craziness!

You are Spice.

You’re not from around here, are you? You’re extremely valuable. While you resemble mundane cinnamon, you are much more interesting. People fight wars over you, but your giant worms protect you.

You enlighten people; make them aware, prescient, even clairvoyant. Your pure essence can reveal people’s true selves, if they survive their encounter with the real you. You’re addictive, dangerous, seductive, and above all else, necessary for space travel.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test


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media lab toronto is born!


casecamp6 took place last tuesday at the century room, and was a really incredible night full of awesome cases, announcements and people. eli has really raised level of conversation and built a fantastic community around casecamp, which has now partnered with achilles media (the producers of nextMedia). congrats to all – and looking forward to the future. tom has some great notes on the evening as well!

media lab toronto also presented their inaugural project – TXTris, an interactive SMS projection where text messages sink down from the sky onto a hilarious toronto skyline made of tim horton’s boxes. congrats to patrick, gabe, michael and dory, and i can’t wait to see where this will go!!

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all this useless beauty

Sketch (leaves) 2005, blown glass, 15 x 23 cmcali balles, photo

i came across this paper* while researching for my project and prepping for the last lecture of the year before presentations, and it really highlights some of the ideas i’ve spoken about previously as well as given articulate phrasing to some really interesting connections in the relationship between craft, design and digital technology. craft and design have had a schism since the industrial revolution, when, for all intents and purposes, design was born. greg calls design ‘creation for reproduction’ – making with the direct intention of replicating, and thus requiring systems and standards to ensure exactness throughout that reproductive process. and most digital technology reflects this, presenting us with clean and simple efficiencies of form but very little humanity. i think that craft, however, embodies a bit more of our humanity as the unique experience of making by hand can’t be replicated and our tools and processes do not become extensions of ourselves, but rather interfaces in an empathetic relationship with the materials, the ideas, the user and ourselves. and beauty.

jayne wallace and mike press (the latter of whom is speaking this week in halifax at nscad university’s neocraft conference- i SO WISH i was there) express their thoughts on the role of beauty in craft, it’s approximation in design and it’s role in creating better digital technologies.

1st part of the excerpts below (2nd to follow shortly)

Beauty, we argue, plays a vital role in humanising technology and ensuring its cultural relevance… Industrial design can
employ the illusion of beauty to temper the beast of technology by providing a veneer of desire, seduction and usability. But let us not confuse eternal beauty with the passionate but fast fading blooms of desire. We enjoy the delights of the G4 Powerbook as much as the next fashion-conscious academic, but only as a well designed one night stand at the orgiastic party of our consumer culture.

moar Continue reading


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gva’s wiigrano

my colleague greg van alstyne has been up to trouble while pursuing his msc from the integrated digital media institute at brooklyn polytechnic university.

This gestural interface prototype, completed for one of my digital media masters courses, emphasizes an intuitive and performance-friendly interaction model. I’m exploiting the physicality of Nintendo’s Wii controller by aiming to drawing out visceral, subtle, and “quasi-analogue” possibilities.


Thanks and shout out to Professor Joshua Goldberg, Brian MacMillan and other classmates at Integrated Digital Media Institute, Polytechnic University, Brooklyn; Masayuki Akamatsu for the aka.wiiremote Nintendo Wii Remote Handler and Les & Zoax for the Granularized Max/MSP patch.

the hack is great, and the added bonus of tweakily conducting douglas adams, among other, is pretty sweet! yay greg!!

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el vampiro and intuition

in august i spent a couple of days in nyc, in search of conversations and connection. this post is a bit delayed, but such is the nature of being what tom calls pathologically busy. it was really fantastic to touchbase with friends and colleagues, old and new, and flow into the local velocity, and belated thanks is due to those who put up with my questions over lunch or dinner (thx scott, john, elena, baker!). nyc is one of the few places where i feel like the pace of the external environment is matched with what’s going on inside. it would more likely than not make me bonkers to stay for any extended length, but refreshing in short spurts.

i dropped by eyebeam research lab during their open studio hours and chatted with a few of the residents and fellows about what they’re up to. i highly recommend pinging them if you’re in the neighbourhood on tuesday afternoons. it’s a fantastic space, with really incredible people who are fully engaged in their work and totally open about what they want to do. amazing.

michael dila, a fellow overlapper and perpetual troublemaker, was also in the big apple that week and was kind enough to organize an nyc overlap meetup, as serendipity encouraged all those little ducks to line up. an awesome conversation with michael, dave walczyk, paul pangaro, vic lombardi and manuel toscano ensued – somewhat raucous and always inspiring.

conversation eventually turned to innovation, creativity, imagination, the strengthening relationship between business and design practice, and passion. what fuels these things? where do they come from, and what conditions encourage and cultivate them? a recurring conversation that i hope to continue having.

the gem in this conversation was this. to some degree, we are all guided by intuition, the immediate, somewhat difficult to communicate compass that shapes our behaviour in more ways than we perhaps are conscious of.

intuition is tacit knowing – it is an unmediated process of pattern recognition and a reconciliation of complexity (internal/external, systems, ideas, histories, etc, etc) that influence future perceptions and actions.

it is direct, instinctive, perceptive – a form of knowledge that can be fiendishly difficult to communicate or validate because of its resistance to analytical metrics or quantitative definitions. which i think emphasizes its importance in how we construct and share knowledge and ideas – we engage in multi-layered communication of which we’re only partly conscious, and our intuition picks up the subtleties as an unending flow of incoming signals, some strong, and some weak.

our discussion was fuelled by vampiros, the house specialty of a little place called paladar, on ludlow south of houston. perfect for fiesty conversations and exuberant autumn evenings.

el vampiro

  • tequila
  • hibiscus flower  nectar (bought at health food stores, fresh or brewed as tea from the dried flowers)
  • ground chili
  • salt

mix tequila and nectar, in proportion to evening’s intent.

rim  glass with mixture of chili and salt


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studio n open house


Clockwise from left: Logger – Anneke Van Bommel, Acrylic, Vinyl, Paper(2007), The Proximity of Twins – Lara McQuay, Ring – Fiona Macintyre, Sea Grapes – Carolyn Scandiffio

FYI if you’re in town September 16! my studiomates and i are hosting our semi-annual open house show the same weekend as the queen west art crawl. come and have a gander, a chat and perhaps walk away with something a little special. :)

ps: i’ll be showing the first round of work inspired by the ‘dead media’ project

To coincide with the Queen West Art Crawl,

The Girls of Studio N are hosting their Bon Voyage Sweet Summer Exhibition and Sale, in their working studio on Dovercourt (about 68 steps from Queen Street West). We are located in Studio N on the second floor.

Studio N residents will be showing recent explorations, including one-off exhibition pieces, handmade cards, drawings, sculptural interior objects, and Studio Jewellery. We will have some nibbly bits, and look forward to seeing those who can stop by to say hello and see what we’ve been up to.

Featured Artists:
Lesley Ashton
Fiona Mac Intyre
Lara Mc Quay
Carolyn Scandiffio
Michele Perras
Anneke van Bommel

Date: Sunday, September 16, 2007
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: 44 Dovercourt Rd @ corner of Dovercourt and Sudbury, South of Queen St. West. Studio N, 2nd Floor.
Toronto, ON

Phone: 416.536.2152

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