Tag Archives: data

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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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.

moar Continue reading

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stealing what’s real?


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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i’m super excited that prime gallery, canada’s oldest gallery for craft and the decorative arts, is now carrying my work. check it out! stop by if you’re in the neighbourhood – they carry some of canada’s most renowned artists and have a pretty awesome exhibition schedule. i’ll also be participating in a group show there running from 1-dec to 22-dec, called around the neck. :)

as well, in october i attended two workshops offered by interaccess electronics arts centre as part of their fall schedule. in terms of awesomeness, they were off the chart!!


intro to electronics was a 2-day weekend workshop that, true to its name, covered the basics of electronics, which is great for someone who only sort of understood how the toaster works – ohms and resistors, current, voltage, how breadboards work and how to make motors spin and LEDs blink. taught by rob cruickshank – an awesome guy with tons of knowledge!

intro to microcontrollers was also very cool – tom came to this one to, and learning how to make a series of LEDs blink like KITT with the arduino platform was enough to totally make our day! a fairly simple platform with tons of online resources, i like arduino because of its accessibility. i don’t know squat about programming or building chips/boards, and it’s sort of a tough thing to dabble in, but gord hicks rocked the workshop and i’ll be looking forward to many winter nights spent in the interaccess studio (available to all studio members 24/7), experimenting and making stuff.

they also have a really cool blog!


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canadian digital information strategy

kudos to the peeps at civicaccess.ca for circulating this in their mailing list!

Arising from a 2006 National Summit on the future of digital content and the public/private infrastructures needed to support it, Library and Archives Canada has released the Canadian Digital Information Strategy for public commentary. The strategy is extremely interesting and full of insights regarding canada’s digital situation/future! Available for download here, they’re inviting comments and suggestions, please forward your thoughts* and engage in this debate! The resolutions generated here could have a HUGE impact on canada’s performance in r&d and innovation.

The Canadian Digital Information Strategy is currently issued in draft form for comment by any interested person or organization. Please note that comments are due by Nov 23, 2007.

Digital information and networked technologies are key drivers of economic growth and social well-being in the 21st century. It is clear that the nations that nurture their digital information assets and infrastructure will prosper; those that do not will fall behind. Canada must act quickly and decisively. We must ensure that the needs of all Canadians-private citizens, scientists, creators, industry, students, and workers-are met. We must also make certain that the fundamental values of our nation, such as bilingualism, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, and equity, are reflected in the digital realm. This can only be accomplished with a strategic approach; one that is highly coordinated and involves all of those engaged in the creation, preservation and dissemination of digital information.

* We welcome your comments on the Canadian Digital Information Strategy by Nov 23, 2007. Your feedback will be used to finalize the strategy.

To guide your response, we would ask you to consider the following questions:

  1. Do you agree with the overall vision, scope and challenges outlined in the strategy?
  2. Are the objectives and actions set out in Part II the right ones? Which do you view as the most important or pressing?
  3. What do you consider to be the critical next steps to advance the strategy? What role can you or your community play?

Unless specified otherwise, we will assume that submissions to this consultation are not made in confidence and that we may reproduce and publish the submissions in whole or in part in any form.
By online form
By e-mail:
By post:
Canadian Digital Information Strategy
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0N4
By Fax:
(819) 934-5839

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