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Living Technology: la(te)st installment of Wii Max Granu Boids tomfoolery

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This piece shows the latest and last of my experiments in Wii-based gestural control of image elements (MaxMSP-generated pixels swarms using a modified version of Craig Reynold's venerable boids algorithm).

The soundtrack features complexity theorist Norman Packard speaking about his work and views regarding synthetic biology -- the creation of life from basic elements and information. Created for Professor Joshua Goldberg's class in physical interactive media production at Brooklyn Polytechnic (now part of New York University).

Wii Max Granu Boids gestural interface demo (featuring Howard Rheingold on Cooperation Theory)

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This performance demonstrates my evolving Wii-Max/MSP gestural interface prototype.

Beginning with Howard Rheingold's brilliant interview on cooperation theory, I used the Wii controller to manipulate audio with a granular synthesis patch, and filled the video track with flocking pixels based on Craig Reynold's famous Boids algorithm in an OpenGL Jitter implementation.

Closer to e-book reality: Amazon Kindle

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Just announced last month is the strangely styled and potentially disruptive new e-book reader from Amazon, dubbed "Kindle." I don't know about you but that title makes me think of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451... Get video, images and blurbs from Amazon or google it for alternate perspectives.

Chief on the features list is wireless connectivity -- with no monthly fee -- using Sprint's high-speed (EVDO) network, more like an advanced mobile phone than a laptop with wi-fi. The gadget sells for 400. USD and early sign seem to suggest success -- it's sold out between now and Christmas....

designswarm | Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino | Interaction Design

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"Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, freelance interaction designer. I am interested in the way service design ties product design and interaction design together to create meaningful experiences for people both in the virtual and tangible worlds."

ACADIA 2007 : Expanding Bodies : Metabolic Network sensory workshop

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Metabolism, in living systems, has two aspects: anabolism (building up), and catabolism (breaking down). This two-day workshop in electronic sensing in art and design has a special focus on textiles and architectural-scale applications.

Kitchen Budapest

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"New media lab for young researchers who are interested in the convergence of mobile communication, online communities and urban space and are passionate about creating experimental projects in cross-disciplinary teams."

Architectures of Control v. Designing for Emergence

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In the course of research for my Media Law paper, on Creative Commons and designing for emergence in law, I came across this excellent blog. In many ways this site might be considered the opposite of "designing for emergence":

Architectures of Control

What are Architectures of Control?

[example images - Audi A2: The user cannot open the bonnet; Bench designed to prevent lying down: 'redesigned to face contemporary urban realities'; printer: Some HP printers shut down the cartridges at a pre-determined date regardless of whether they are empty]

Short and sweet: succinct definitions of design

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I wrote my own shortest definition of design as a personal challenge to express the term in a manner that was brief, robust and circumspect. The result (discussed elsewhere in this blog):

"Design is creation for reproduction."

Another short definition that I greatly admire was sent to me by Richard Thomas, a colleague at the Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity. Ricky said:

"Design is the process of initiating and representing relationships."

Doug Chapman, whom I know as an actor, environmentalist, former director of research at William McDonough + Partners, and graduate of the Institute without Boundaries program I directed until 2003, recently offered this very concise statement:

"Design is the line between idea and result."

In Toothpicks and Logos: Design in Everyday Life (2002, Oxford University Press), John J. Heskett highlights the multivalent senses of the word "design" by offering and analyzing a bewildering sentence:

"Design is to design a design to produce a design."

"Design," says Heskett, "has splintered into ever-greater subdivisions of practice without any overarching concept or organization, and can be appropriated by anyone."

While I don't consider this situation to be alarming, I do believe in this time of great change and great opportunity that practitioners and theorists of contemporary design will benefit by having a sense of what they have in common with those flying the same colours.

Are Designers the Enemy of Design?

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Patrick Keenan from The Movement sent me this provocative link, which underscores the arguments Bob Logan and I are making in the Designing for Emergence papers:

Nussbaum on Design

March 18, 2007
Are Designers The Enemy Of Design?
Bruce Nussbaum

Here's the speech I gave at Parson's on Thursday that deals with the backlash against design. I've edited it just a bit. It's designed to provoke design management students and show how I've redesigned my job at Business Week from the Voice Of Authority to the Curator of the Conversation on Innovation. We all live life in beta now.

“How to Realize a Gallery Exhibition Based on Design-Oriented Content”

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I was recently contacted about the Massive Change project by Matt Garmon, a student of OCAD where I'm currently teaching design. Following are his intro letter and interview questions, along with my answers.

"Hi Greg. I am currently in Todd Falkowsky's 3rd year Thesis Prep class at Ontario College of Art & Design. I am working on a case study based on the Massive Change project and was wondering if I could interview you to gain some personal insight into the project.

Specifically, I'm using the Massive Change exhibit as a model for how to effectively organize and realize a gallery exhibition based on design-oriented content. Your expertise and personal experience with this project would definitely help me generate a content-rich study and would be greatly appreciated. Would you be available to answer the following questions?"

1) What was the biggest obstacle/hurdle that the team encountered while working on the project? How did you overcome it?

In writing, curating and designing Massive Change, the biggest challenge was the overall ambition of the project. By this I mean the implications and reach of the critical questions, the sheer number and variety of deliverables, and the magnitude of the stakes.

“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:

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

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

Richard Rogers, Director,, 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

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.

“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.

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:

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