Tag Archives: technology

fractal necklace

from core 77′s blog:

Even using “rapid” prototyping, it took French jewelry house Boucheron’s craftspeople 1,500 hours to produce Marc Newson‘s fiendishly complicated Julia necklace. The fractals-based diamond and sapphire piece will debut tonight in Paris, and unsurprisingly, it will likely be “one of the most expensive necklaces Boucheron’s ever made.”

newson's julia

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the limits of the imaginable..

bruce sterling has an extraordinarily thoughtful piece in interactions magazine where he writes about, among many other ideas, why our current technosocial space is limited by the paradigms of previous centuries in designing our collective futures. bruce’s writing and speaking of late has resonated pretty deeply of late, it seems he simultaneously mourning, rejoicing in wonder and worriedly glancing at the state of the world. some of my favourite pieces of the article are below, but you should really go read the whole thing..


What science fiction’s user base truly desired was not possible in the 1930s. Believing their own rhetoric, science fiction users supposed that they wanted a jet-propelled, atomic futurity. Whenever offered the chance at such goods and services, they never left science fiction to go get them. They didn’t genuinely want such things-not in real life.
What the user base genuinely wanted was immersive fantasies. They wanted warmly supportive subcultures in which they could safely abandon their cruelly limiting real-life roles, and play semi-permanent dress-up. Science fiction movies helped; science fiction television helped. Once massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) were invented, the harsh limits of the print infrastructure were demolished. Then the user-base exploded.
No sane person reads science fiction novels for 80 hours a week. But it’s quite common for devoted players to spend that much time on Warcraft.
This should not be mistaken for “progress.” It’s not even a simple matter of obsolescence. Digital media is much more frail and contingent than print media. I rather imagine that people will be reading H.P. Lovecraft-likely the ultimate pulp-magazine science fiction writer-long after today’s clumsy, bug-ridden MMORPGs are as dead as the Univac.
What truly interests me here is the limits of the imaginable. Clearly, the pulp infrastructure limited what its artists were able to think about. They wore blinders that they could not see and therefore could not transcend.
The typewriter limited writers. Magazine word counts limited writers. Even the implicit cultural bargain between author and reader introduced constraints on what could be thought, said, and understood in public. Those mechanisms of interaction-the letter columns, the fan mail, the bookstore appearances, the conventions-they were poorly understood as interaction. They were all emergent practices rather than designed experiences.

and


We have entered an unimagined culture. In this world of search engines and cross-links, of keywords and networks, the solid smokestacks of yesterday’s disciplines have blown out. Instead of being armored in technique, or sheltered within subculture, design and science fiction have become like two silk balloons, two frail, polymorphic pockets of hot air, floating in a generally tainted cultural atmosphere.
These two inherently forward-looking schools of thought and action do seem blinkered somehow-not unimaginative, but unable to imagine effectively. A bigger picture, the new century’s grander narrative, its synthesis, is eluding them. Could it be because they were both born with blind spots, with unexamined assumptions hardwired in 80 years ago?
There is much thoughtful talk of innovation, of transformation, of the collaborative and the transdisciplinary. These are buzzwords, language that does not last.
What we are really experiencing now is a massive cybernetic hemorrhage in ways of knowing the world.

and finally…


Rather than thinking outside the box-which was almost always a money box, quite frankly-we surely need a better understanding of boxes. Maybe some new, more general, creative project could map the limits of the imaginable within the contemporary technosocial milieu. Plug that imagination gap.
That effort has no 20th-century description. I rather doubt that it’s ever been tried. It seems to me like a good response to events.

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google and ge plug into the smartgrid

google.org and ge announced a partnership this week in creating a platform for measuring and affecting individual use of electricity with powermeter. using networked analytics that give detailed information on energy consumption as well as compare your usage with your friends or neighbourhoods, this positions google and ge to provide proactive green benefits to the consumer as they hack the grid, as well as creating a rich database of behavioural metrics that can and will inform the nature of near/far consumer products and platforms. from the site:

Our lack of knowledge about our own energy usage is a huge problem, but also a huge opportunity for us all to save money and fight global warming by reducing our power usage. Studies show that access to your household’s personal energy information is likely to save you between 5–15% on your monthly bill, and the potential impact of large numbers of people achieving similar efficiencies is even more exciting. For every six households that save 10% on electricity, for instance, we reduce carbon emissions as much as taking one conventional car off the road (see sources and calculation).

Google PowerMeter, now in prototype, will receive information from utility smart meters and energy management devices and provide anyone who signs up access to her home electricity consumption right on her iGoogle homepage. The graph below shows how someone could use this information to figure out how much energy is used by different household activites.

h/t to @avantgame

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ip neutral and why the ceeb will NEVER be the beeb. le sigh.

***update

the cbc does indeed fund and partner certain initiatives in this regard, such as the digital development initiative with nmbc and bc film: link
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reading up on the bbc innovation labs, which were recently relaunched after a hiatus of sorts in the uk. it’s highly awesome, and fills me with a sense of envy towards the monarchy, a bit of frustration to know that our own people’s-history-of-hockey-cbc doesn’t have the resources nor would ever do anything as risky/dare i say innovative as this, radio 3 aside. interesting that the bbc, a state-supported organization no less, is fostering this type of exploration and experimentation, and providing the resources to make ideas fly. mmmm!

the deal with the bbc innovation labs is this:

The Innovation Labs are a series of creative workshops for interdisciplinary teams of professional creative technologists, application designers, software developers and interactive media designers, working across both Future Media & Vision platforms.

We are inviting independent companies from across England, Scotland and Wales to pitch ideas in response to a briefs set by New Media & Vision commissioners across the BBC.

moar…

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media lab toronto is born!

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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.

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value of nature

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from henri lefebvre, the production of space, 1974; 1991

[...] natural space is disappearing. granted, natural space was – and it remains – the common point of departure: the origin, and original model, of the social process. granted, too, that natural space has not vanished purely and simply from the scene. it is still in the background of the picture; as decor, and as more than decor, it persists everywhere, and every natural detail, every natural object is valued even more as it takes on symbolic weight (the most insignificant animal, trees, grass and so on).

as source and resource, nature obsesses us, as do childhood and spontaneity, via the filter of memory. everyone wants to protect and save nature; nobody wants to stand in the way of attempting to retrieve its authenticity. yet at the same time everyone conspires to harm it. the fact is that natural space will soon be lost to view. anyone so inclined may look over their shoulder and see it sinking below the horizon behind us. nature is also becoming lost to thought. [...] even the powerful myth of nature is being transformed into a mere fiction, a negative utopia: nature is now seen as merely the raw material out of which the productive forces of a variety of social systems have forged their particular spaces.

i was lucky enough to grow up in the niagara peninsula (well, really an isthmus), a fertile microclimate in southern ontario famous for tender fruit, vineyards and the rusting remains of a once-thriving auto industry. historically inhabited by first nations and then settled by the united empire loyalists and the site of the war of 1812, the niagara region birthed 4 incarnations of the welland canal, is one of only two regions in canada that can produce grapes and peaches, and the home of the spectacular niagara falls. it has always been valuable for it’s natural resources and political geography, .

why lucky?

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what i learned from the arts & crafts movement

241598686_dd3ae61ab8_o.jpgphoto by 3blindmice

from my post from last week, and some really inspiring conversations since, these are some of my thoughts and a bit of rationale of the connections that’ve been flitting thru my head over the past few months…

  • people are happier when they have control over the nature and outcome of what their goals, as well as the process in which they can work. the desire to make is innate – we desire to be heard and to leave a trace of our voice, in materials, events, systems, etc, and i think we strive for integrity in our tone of voice.
  • objects/services that represent the values and integrity (or the brand, if you will) of the maker have a stronger attraction and potential for engagement.
  • objects that retain traces of those who made them speak not only of the context in which the thing was made, but also create a sort of relational continuity with the maker*. our perception of objects and their social systems is intersubjective, and the flavour added here becomes personal and human, providing space for social practice, creating narrative and future legacies.

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stealing what’s real?

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this is a fascinating signal – a 17 yr old kid is arrested by dutch police (and 5 others are detained for questioning) for allegedly stealing over 4000 worth of furniture from Finnish SNS Habbo Hotel. From the BBC:

The six teenagers are suspected of moving the stolen furniture into their own Habbo rooms. A spokesman for Sulake, the company that operates Habbo Hotel, said: “The accused lured victims into handing over their Habbo passwords by creating fake Habbo websites.

“In Habbo, as in many other virtual worlds, scamming for other people’s personal information such as user names has been problematic for quite a while. We have had much of this scamming going on in many countries but this is the first case where the police have taken legal action.”

Virtual theft is a growing issue in virtual worlds; in 2005 a Chinese gamer was stabbed to death in a row over a sword in a game. Shanghai gamer Qiu Chengwei killed player Zhu Caoyuan when he discovered he had sold a “dragon sabre” he had been loaned.

that line between on and offline implications is getting pretty fuzzy – yikes!

also gizmodo is covering the story

thx to kyle for the fyi

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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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