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Alas, it’s been over a year since my last post, and so much has changed since then. Mostly in that I hardly focus on longform writing anymore, being firmly embedded in the microstream of content that flows past in waves of links, gestures and other semi-distracting relationship management tools…

I’m officially, at least for now, closing up shop here. All the posts will remain public, commenting will be shut down and if you want to reach me Twitter seems to be the best forum. Or email, my name at gmail.

Adios, and see you on the tubes.

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about a dress…

this year has flown by with a swift velocity, and i feel like there are multitudes of moments to share. meic will be launching this fall as a non-profit organization and we have an incubator going live in about 4 weeks, i’ve visited the southern hemisphere for the first time and have spoken at some really great initiatives and met some incredible people. as well, my honey and i went on a lovely sailing trip in may and came back engaged!

tom and i are in the midst of wedding planning for early next year, and one of the things we’re trying to do is bring our friends and family into it as much as possible, through design of all of the stationary and desserts, to having a custom dress made by a good friend, taessa chorny.

after meeting to discuss concepts (i was teased a bit about the google powerpoint dress idea board i made, thank goodness she hasn’t seen the gantt chart…), we met again earlier today to chat about designs and fabrics. she presented a look and some sample fabrics that are amazing and gorgeous and i can’t wait to actually see it made.

the first draft of the design is lovely (though we’ll prob go with something a bit more a-line)

and the fabrics we’ve decided on are a lovely vintage-y silk lace for the bustier, a little ribbon of dark grey chiffon for a break and layers of swoopy chiffon for the skirt. i am in love!


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Beyond the Desktop – SXSW 2010

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to present at SXSWi 2010 with some fantastic people. The panel was called Beyond the Desktop: Embracing new Interaction Paradigms and was moderated by the ineffable and brilliant Peter Merholz. Co-panelists were Johnny Lee of Microsoft’s Applied Sciences, Nathan Moody of Stimulant and David Merrill of Sifteo.

From the description:

Thanks to the success of Wii and iPhone, the public is getting more familiar with interaction paradigms that go beyond keyboard+mouse. We need to embrace gestures, accelerometers, sensors, and more. This panel will show you where things are headed and what do you need to be ready for them.

Big thanks to Peter for rallying us together, SXSW is always an amazing amazing time, and this time was no exception.

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futurestates: play

lovely and intriguing video by david kaplan and eric zimmerman, one of a series that imagines the future. behaviour driven scenarios, playful and delightful. highly recommended!

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transitioning material loyalty

I came across a great article on the art jewellery forum that responds to this year’s SNAG (Society for NA Goldsmith’s) annual conference, and speaks a great deal about the language and material transitions affecting contemporary craft, or rather anything made by hand.

Jewellery as an Art-with-a-capital-A form tracks closely parallel to the major contemporary art movements of the past century, becoming a forum for political, conceptual, material and embodied discourse and reflecting the issues of a material society. The rich histories of traditional techniques and contextual use have been appropriated as commentary and innovation seek out new platforms of expression. And new technologies have helped transform the industries and practices of makers with greater efficiencies and capabilities.

However the discourse and means to describe contemporary jewellery and the practices of making have not transformed. The author (who unfortunately remains anonymous) comments:

…a chronic nagging question was amplified. What, exactly, is it that I do? In passing conversations I never seem to be able to explain it to any acceptable degree without endless digressive hurdles. In the simplest terms I set out with the word “jewelry” though even this is a personal conversational concession. The litany of descriptors we can now alter jewelry with can leave a person breathless – art jewelry, contemporary jewelry, sculptural jewelry to name a few. Casual conversations always include “no, I don’t make that kind of jewelry”. And when I start using phrases like “abstract life forms” and “composite resin” people’s faces screw into frustration. When I’m feeling less motivated I just say “I make jewelry out of plastics . . . various plastics”. But it feels condescending both to whomever I’m speaking with, and what it is I like about my work. I’ve spent nine years and borrowed tens of thousands of dollars for two degrees – a BFA with the words “Metalsmithing and Jewelry Making” at the end and an MFA with the alternate “Jewelry and Metal Arts” attached. But I find none of this mixing and matching of terminology to be of any help when trying to actually articulate what it is I do with all of my time.

The challenges facing the author and their contemporaries is not uncommon – what language to we use to accurately describe the full rich emerging new 21st century spectrum of practice when the language is appropriate for traditional practice? Where’s the neologism that speaks qualitatively to the essence of practice in 2010? What is the relationship to the pop culture craft resurgence and DIY hacking? How does sustainability factor into a culture or material expression? Or class and the social strata?

As well, how does the identity of the maker change when the linguistic focus is on the materials vs the work itself? Material loyalty is valued for the connection to the earth, enabling participation in the somewhat tenuous thread of human continuity and history, its relatively analog capacity for recombination and invention and the rich availability of terminologies and taxonomies. Jeweler, silversmith, weaver, potter – these are neatly described occupational slots with comforting specificity. many makers now use general terms to describe their practices: artist, designer, hacker- that describe the active practices of making as opposed to any material loyalty or predilection. This ambiguity serves a boon to a transient industry and seemingly unending possibilities for expression.

I wonder what we lose in this ambiguity, in this liminal place between taxonomies. And what we retrieve in the emergence of new terminologies and neologisms. A great blog that I read regularly, Paleo-Future, explores failed historical visions of the future – I am waiting for the curator of lost or failed practices of making.

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Upcoming Talks and Events

This fall continues to be batshit busy, and as usual I’m posting about events… Here’s a few that are coming up – if you’re in Toronto you should definitely check them out!


Ignite! TorontoPeter Horvath and I started the Toronto chapter in August, and edition #2 is coming up again on November 25 at the Drake. If you missed the first one, videos and content are here. We’re hoping for another speaker to be featured, as Mark Argo was, on O’Reilly TV. Also, follow us on Twitter, and RSVP here!

MEIC5 is coming up on November 26 – we’re still firming up the schedule but check back to the RSVP for updates!


LIFT@HomeTom, Mark, Fran, Milena and I are thrilled to be co-chairing the travelling edition of our favourite conference. Date: November 17, 6-9:30pm, Cdn Corps Hall. Topic: DemoCamp 2019. More deets and tix here.

And for a more current version of DemoCamp, #24 will be held on December 3, at the Rogers Theatre. Tix are here.

I’ll also be speaking at a few places as well, w00t!


UCLA: Mobile Media Symposium – Friday November 13
Geospatial Media, with Julian Bleecker, Mark Hansen and Ben Hooker.

Canadian Marketing Association: Experiential Marketing – Tuesday December 1
Mobile Futures, With Tom Purves and David Elchoness

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BIF5 – Session 2

Don Tapscott – Net Generation

Kids of the Baby Boom are bathed in bits. Talks a bit about Growing Up Digital, etc.

In the late 90’s he had an interview w Pamela Wallin – 60minutes of internet surfing on TV. Don’t kid wasn’t so thrilled – ‘Dad’s going on TV to use the internet for an hour? Why would anyone want to do that? Stupidest show ever. I’m so embarrassed, all my friends are going to see this.”

Interview with his son later – “Dad, you adults are obsessed with technology. It’s sort of like a TV show where you check out the refrigerator ‘technology’. Oh look, Dad found some content – it’s called meatloaf.” Kids are the authority on new technology. (heh)

Facebook group started for Wikinomics over 24hrs – growth of community and expectations demonstrative of self- organization. Build platforms to enable collaboration and creativity.

Joe O’Shea – Rhodes Scholar doing his Masters ot Oxford, President of the Student Council ot FSU, sat on 18 ctes + chaired 6, setup a health clinic in the 9th Ward on NOLA after Katrina, developed a Global Peace Exchange with 14 countries + a summit, etc. Doesn’t read books.

How you spend your time between the ages of 8-18 influences and affects your synaptic pathways and behaviours for the rest of your life. How does this portend what Millenials will be doing in 10yrs?

Bruce Nussbaum +
Talk about the good, bad and ugly of open innovation (buzz word that ppl have created when they are full of shit.)

We’re all ppl at the end of the day, and we can’t do things as we’ve always done. Open means opening the spirit. At NEstle, 37% of company works in R&D – 50M ppl in the world who are equally smart. Looking outside can be way more beneficial.

Despite the buzzword, they still represent change, and a committed to change.

BN: What kinds of problems are best solved via open innovation?

Example: Need to create an ice cream that maintains texture and taste but is not frozen until delivered to the consumer/retailer. (saves on costs, refrigeration, etc). Problem contextualized and put out to an integrated network of other business and academia – leveraging the network of expertise.

[battery time prohibitive for further blogging of this session, more soon!]

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