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Read Me

As I work on the final stages of a paper for my IDMI History of Media class it strikes me that I ought to collect in one place my thoughts about material to read, going forward.

Here is that list, in no particular order.

  • Schrödinger, Erwin, What is Life? Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1945
  • Something about autopoesis, such as Maturana, Humberto and Francisco Verela, Autopoesis and Cognition. D.Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland, 1980
  • Something about actor network theory and/or something by Bruno Latour such as We Have Never Been Modern.

Report from Massive Change Global Visionaries Symposium

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Just returned from the Massive Change Global Visionaries Symposium in Chicago. As a co-creator of the Massive Change exhibition I wanted to see it in the first US showing. Another aim was to study the public event and possibly seek out some of the speakers for a symposium I'm co-organizing with colleagues at the Beal Institute. The event was eye opening and highly enjoyable.

Overall my favorite speakers were Stewart Brand, futurist and author of the Whole Earth Catalog, The Clock of the Long Now, and How Buildings Learn; Gunter Pauli, founder and director of Zero Emissions Research Initiative of the United Nations University in Tokyo (Zeri.org), founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, and Mary Czerwinski, cognitive psychologist and principal researcher at Microsoft. Brand and Pauli were certainly the most dynamic.

Privacy isn’t dead -- it never lived.

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Privacy isn’t dead -- it never lived. Personal information is currency in a consumer society. It allows for prediction and strategy. Rewards cards, credit cards, contests, transponders, websites, subscriptions, donations, investments, bill payments; they all require of tracking. Whether or not this is bad thing is the issue. If you look at your life as property, something you own, then you could classify this as theft. However, if you look at your life as a natural phenomena then observation can only further progress.

The more we learn about how people live, the more insight we will have on how we can change and grow. Unfortunately, most people take the ownership approach to their personal information. Even the phrase “personal information” sounds like a very private thing, which is why the issue is so deceiving. In a small town everyone knows your business. This is what allows for town meetings, participatory politics, and culture in general. When a population grows beyond a certain size, around 150, it becomes less of a cohesive unit and begins to rely more on institutional rather than communal organization. This is necessary for a large community to maintain it’s order.

“Theoretical Primer for Emergent Media” presented at Enterprise 2.0 event

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I'll be giving my Hyperpolis presentation and leading a discussion on the idea of "emergent media" as part of a Toronto event beginning 6:30 tonight at the Gladstone Hotel.

Hosted by Tom Purves, the gathering will feature speakers and general discussion on the idea of "Enterprise 2.0" The idea is to look beyond today's mostly consumer-oriented applications of "Web2.0" and "social media" and ask, What do these same technologies portend once they infiltrate the business world? How will these new media forms change everyday work, the structure of firms, and the way companies innovate?

The event has attracted a lot of interest from the Toronto area tech community who are plugged into these ideas, and has been scaled up from a smaller venue to the stately Gladstone.

For more information or to sign up for (free) attendance, visit this wiki: http://barcamp.org/Enterprise20Camp

Designing Systems with Emergent Behavior at BayCHI

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A recent Bay Area ACM SigCHI panel on "Designing Systems with Emergent Behavior" featured Tim Brown (IDEO), Peter Merholz (Adaptive Path), Larry Cornett (Yahoo), and Joy Mountford (Yahoo), and was moderated by Rashmi Sinha.

Peter Merholtz blogged his thoughts here: www.peterme.com/archives/000793.html

Core77 offers a rundown of the event here: http://www.core77.com/blog/events/design_for_emergent_systems_4821.asp#more

And the organization's event page is here: http://www.baychi.org/calendar/20061010/

Waste > Food

The Living Planet Report, released yesterday in Beijing by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), says in plain language that "people are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources."

If everyone consumed as much energy, food and other resources as the average Canadian, humans would need more than four Earths to support their lavish lifestyle, says the report. Per person, Canada ranks fourth behind only the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Finland when it comes to using resources. To view the report, visit panda.org/livingplanet.

Lineup for IDMI’s Hyperpolis 3.0 conference

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Below are the themes and speakers of a conference, hosted by the Integrated Digital Media Institute and Othmer Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, where I'll be giving a presentation based on the ideas in my paper with Robert K. Logan, "Designing for Emergence and Innovation." More background may be found at http://idmi.poly.edu/

The Production of Politics Thursday October 19th 11am to 2pm

Richard Rogers, Director, govcom.org, University of Amsterdam

Tom Keenan, Director, the Human Rights Project, Bard College

Karen J. Hall, Humanities postdoctoral fellow, Syracuse University

Atopia (Jane Harrison and David Turnbull), Urban research and design office, New York

The Art of Work in the Age of Post-production Thursday October 19th 3pm to 6pm

Rev. Luke Murphy, Artist, VP of Technology, MTV Networks

Greg Van Alstyne, Senior Research Associate, Beal Centre for Strategic Creativity, Ontario College of Art & Design

Ruth Ron, Architect and new media artist, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Florida

Blogging: around the table Friday October 20th 11am to 2pm

Jodi Dean, Teaches political theory at Hobart-William Smith colleges and maintains jdeanicite.typepad.com

Geert Lovink, Media theorist and activist, University of Amsterdam

McKenzie Wark, Author of the Hacker Manifesto and teaches media studies at Lang College, the New School

Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University

The Politics of Production Friday October 20th 3pm to 6pm

Michael Liegl, Ethnographer, University of Munich

Eric Redlinger, Musician, network administrator, member of Share collective, New York-Montreal-San Diego-Wiesbaden

Michael J. Schumacher, Composer, performer, director of Diapason sound gallery, New York

Katherine Carl, Co-director, the School of Missing Studies, New York-Sarajevo

Sterling, Greenfield, and the Patchy Internet of Things

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I've heard Bruce Sterling taking issue with Adam Greenfield over the title of his book, Everyware (in this great IT Conversations podcast). I was a bit surprised, then, when in our OCAD lecture Sterling gave a big boost to Greenfield's book and said that they talk all the time and are now good buddies. Hey, things change. In any case that's not why I'm writing.

At some point I plan to take up Sterling's original argument, and maintain that the arrival of dataspace (as we call it at the Beal Institute) AKA the Internet of Things will not involve "everything" and "everyone" and "everywhere" -- it will be patchy and spotty. And I agree with Sterling that it may take 30 years to arrive. But I'm not writing about that either.

Actually I'm writing to point out a hard to find and thin but interesting discussion board about the emergence of ubicomp in Greenfield's site. Some nice examples of weak signals or whatever in there -- so, like, check it out.

A Science of What Can’t Be Done

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My friend David Coole recently took his masters in architecture and has been advising me about the graduate degree experience. After building an impressive career in film and video production, including supervising post production for Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, he decided to enroll in architecture school.

In a recent discussion he proposed a necessary new science: a science of what can't be done. After decades -- centuries really -- of the science of what might be possible, its time, he thinks, for a science of the not possible.

Alchemists for centuries attempted to turn lead into gold. Others attempted to create a perpetual motion machine. For years the belief exceeded the practice. Only after a scientific theory proved it wasn't possible did the resignation sink in.

“Designing for Emergence and Innovation: Redesigning Design” Accepted for Publication

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Along with my co-author, Robert K. Logan, I'm pleased to report our theoretical research paper "Designing for Emergence and Innovation: Redesigning Design" has been accepted for publication by the journal Artifact.

The reviewers said the paper makes a significant contribution and found it "challenging and thought provoking... I really enjoyed the acedemic style -- it got my brain cells working."

With editors from Copenhagen, Illinois and Indiana, Artifact is an international peer-reviewed academic journal targeted to researchers, practising designers, and manufacturers. It is focused on the vast changes that computers have brought to design.

McLuhan reverses our intuition about sound + vision

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We tend to think of visual information as instantaneous or simultaneous, and audio as time-based, linear, successive. I do, at any rate.

To underscore this assumption, let's say I'm reviewing a designer's portfolio. I can "read" a visual image almost in a moment -- I make a snap judgement much like that analyzed in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink.

I see a cassette, video tape, quicktime file, or what have you, however, and its a different story -- I know I need to make a time investment. I immediately have expectations for what I want to get out of it. Call it experience economy "ROI". Actually, Bruce Sterling, who incidentally will be speaking at OCAD on October 2 (yes, you heard right), puts it best in Shaping Things: he says in an age of 'Gizmos', our relationship with objects is governed by the "opportunity costs" and "cognitive load" of the user.

SHARE: supporting collaboration in new media communities

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Here's a reference from one from my fellow grad students:


* new york
* montreal
* wiesbaden
* san diego

SHARE is an organization dedicated to supporting collaboration and knowledge exchange in new media communities. Local SHARE groups hold free, open jams and workshops in their communities. Participants bring their portable equipment, plug into our system, improvise on each others' signal and perform live audio and video. SHARE furnishes the amplification and projection. SHARE happens weekly to monthly in cities around the world.

Nice compendium of location-based games

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Here's a nice compendium forwarded by David Frackman, a fellow student in my Integrated Digital Media program:


“Design is creation for reproduction”

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Note to self: complete this post by quoting my original post from massivechange.com: http://forums.massivechange.com/viewtopic.php?t=15

The Birth of “Interaction Design”

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The term "interaction design" is attributed to a number of different parents, some from the academic and theory world and others more rooted in client practice.

Another example comes from the recent book Designing for Interaction by Dan Saffer. There is also a "Definition of Interaction Design" post in Saffer's blog. The book offers the following account:

Back in 1990, Bill Moggridge, a principal of the design firm IDEO, realized that for some time he and some of his colleagues had been creating a very different kind of design. It wasn’t product design exactly, but they were definitely designing products. Nor was it communication design, although they used some of that discipline’s tools as well. It wasn’t computer science either, although a lot of it had to do with computers and software. No, this was something different. It drew on all those disciplines, but was something else, and it had to do with connecting people through the products they used. Moggridge called this new practice interaction design.