Week Ending 04232010

Saturday April 10 17:30 Ver.1.01

Well, I missed the Week Ending last week so I’ll capture a couple of the things that happened then, now.

There were a cacophony of tasks to be done, some fun, some that should’ve been fun, and all that tipped me into a level of activity-stress that translated into too little sleep and various physical ailments. These aren’t complaints at all — just a note-to-self to either learn how to manage multiple concurrent fun commitments, or spread them out like butter on a baguette.

There was a Skype lecture between here and Seoul given for a design seminar at Art Center Nabi. That was a curious thing — to lecture with the audience *sort of* there. Basically akin to talking to yourself, or rehearsing a lecture. I’m not sure I could do that again, comfortably. Aside from the challenges of dialing back my weird circumlocutions and the litany’s I dispense midtalk while trying to remember what my next point should be, or might’ve been had I not forgotten it moments earlier — it’s just a bit impersonal. Or maybe it was just the fact that it was 11 in the evening after a proper day in the studio and I just wanted to have a belt and fall asleep.

It was a roilingly active week in the studio, with this sense that there was an intense and focused round of design work on the horizon, and the sort — systemically speaking — that Nicolas and I had pondered would be an ideal way of working, especially after we both made a turn from academic and formal approaches to making things. Looking at the world obliquely, learning from new perspectives and points-of-view, redefining or differently defining what *success and *achievement might be — not just up-and-to-the-right. Somewhat in line with this talk at Lift in 2008 7.5 Rules for Working Together. I’m quite excited by the prospect this bit of work allows for a more skunky/stinky untoward refrain to the normal ways in which things are done. A bit — tip-of-the-spear actions.

Via our weekly Skype, forward progress continues on the iPhone edition of The Drift Deck, with Jon Bell and Dawn Lozzi taking that bull by its horns. Of course, we’re all excited by the prospect of a second life for The Drift Deck — and curious by the translation of a physical deck of cards into its electronic kin. There are a couple of iterations already. Engaged simplicity is the goal. There were discussions that I prompted around game mechanics — don’t know why I, in particular, would be bringing this topic up — and I think the conclusion is that it is what it is. The deck, is the deck.

The Apparatus for Capturing Other Points of View was sent to LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, where it — and the material produced — will be in an exhibition next month. ((More on that in the appropriate week note)). That was an epic undertaking — I mean the operational mishegoss of sending an 8 foot pole to Spain. DHL took it in stride..literally.

@ibogost was a house guest as he had some weird lecture to do, and that meant snifters of Port in the kitchen talking about #OOO, the shapes of things and a discussion of knob-turned-to-11 materializations of social practices, which is something I’m trying to figure out how to talk about beyond just saying that and, as it turns out — it might make more sense to materialize the “talk” about that than to just talk about it. And he’s on this *Carpentry thing, which I think would be our point of contact on this whole Object-Oriented Ontology vector he and his 12 friends appear to be all hopped-up about. ((They had a seminar on it last week — I hope it was captured in something ≫ 140 character tweets. ((That’s the 12 other people all hopped up on #OOO, and I might be number 13 based on our boozy conversation.))

Saturday April 10 17:30 Ver.1.01

This actual week — all that except @ibogost’s visit was the week before — started off with performing the duties of guest critic for the Art Center College of Design’s Media Design Program’s thesis year projects. That was a completely full day — almost 10 hours — of crits. Good work all around, with some curiously strong failures and seductively tenuous successes. Despite the work, which I certainly enjoyed in total, the crits were lots of fun, tiring and engaged. That culture of this sort of design critique was something sorely missing at the Interactive Media Program, leastways when I was there and I reflected on that contrast in the back of my mind. It’s something that is a way of working in the studio, frankly and only adds to the work. Patient, mindful intervention; conscientious and respectful criticisms; hard intellectual and creative framing that is only meant to make the work better.

The rest of the week consisted of some low-key efforts to have Design engage Research differently. We’ve been doing roughly monthly, completely casual, completely self-initiated link-ups with the Research part of the organization, mostly because there are friends there and it’s nice to share and discuss projects. Never really looking for *actionable points of collaboration — the collaboration is in the discussions. For me professionally, The Laboratory is much more interested in finding ways of working than specific things to work on, although sometimes specific things to work on are the ways you understand how different disciplines do what they are disciplined to do. Later in the week when there was another link-up, I found myself a bit sensitive to these different ways of working — Research wants a particular kind of action to unfold rather than action-as-reflection. It’s all sorted out somehow — we just need to make it, and that will be that. Rather than the *crit and the conversations that wonder in the first instance — why this and in this instantiation? Or — let’s throw out all that *work and start fresh with the possibility that we will come back to it at some point. Or, the journey rather than the finalé.

It all ended with a confidential review and excitement about the approaching National Pretzel Day, as well as the book launch of Digital Blur at The Architectural Association on Tuesday evening.

Stifo@Sandberg Moving Movie Industry


I participated with a talk at this conference called Moving Movie Industry for the Sandberg Institute at the lovely new Amsterdam Central Library was a one day series of lectures related to this notion that the movie industry is “moving” onto some new and interesting territory. There were several very intriguing talks, which you can probably glean from the list below.

The people participating at the conference were some heroes already, and some new people who i finally get to meet face-to-face so I can knot them into my network without feeling like a stalker. For example Geert Lovink the well-known media theorist and activist who just introduced Video Vortex a new publication from the Institute of Network Cultures (available for free) and Ton Roosendaal, who is head of the Blender Foundation and showed some of the amazing films created with free, open-source 3D rendering software. It was also nice to hear from Floris Kaayk, who is the creator of the effective documentary Metalosis Maligna, about what happens when metal implants begin to take over your body. He also showed another documentary called The Order Electrus about an species of insects made entirely of electronics components. It’s a nice piece of Design Fiction, in my mind — an imaginative and visually evocative story about a possible future in a world of discarded industrial wastelands. Anne Helmond gave a funny and insightful talk about people and their relationship to their blogs, with some curious examples of people apologizing to their blog (not the audience who reads, but the blog itself — the software or something.) Bruce Sterling gave a talk about the future and ways we imagine it, which had my rapt attention as it helped me think through some of the early Design Fiction material, particularly on this topic of models by which we schematize possible futures worlds. I also enjoyed the talk by the Guerrilla Games guy Jan-Bart van Beek who talked about some of the production techniques and issues for their visceral, carnal hyper violent Kill Zone game. He showed one video of this Hummer commercial by Joseph Kosinski called “Selector” which used video game visual idioms to present the Hummer — a hideous vehicle for knot-headed buffoons with 8th grade mentality — as if it were a configurable vehicle from a video game. Which is about the only thing that piece of crap should be, ever. If even that. But, this selection along with a few others were intriguing as they were described for the way cinema and video game visual idioms cross back and forth (swap properties) perhaps on their way to establishing new visual languages.

The talk I gave changed from the title I originally submitted, which was to be something more related to real-world-analytics-meets-mobile-contexts, but when I looked more closely at the original conference description, I realize how badly I had misinterpreted the “moving” aspect as “mobile”, and I certainly wasn’t going to talk about movies on mobiles, which I think is pretty much the most uninteresting thing in the world. So, I did the third draft of Design Fiction (after Design Engaged at the beginning of the month, and SHiFT 2008 a week or so ago) which hopefully I’ll finish writing this weekend.

Where: Theater van ’t Woord
Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam
Oosterdokskade 143
1011 DL Amsterdam

Time: 9.30 hours – 17.00 hours

Entreance: Free

Reservations via conference@sandberg.nl
(obligated due to limited amount of seats)

09.30 – Registration & coffee
09.50 – Welcome by Mieke Gerritzen & Hans Maarten van den Brink

10.00 – Bruce Sterling (USA ) – Science fiction writer Keynote
10.40 – Julian Bleecker (USA) – Near Future Laboratory Mobile Means Mobile

11.20 – Short coffee break

11.30 – Jan-Bart van Beek (NL) – Guerrilla Games 1 Million Manhours : Making Killzone 2
12.10 – Steffen Pauws (NL) – Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven How TV Watching Will Become An Experience

12.50 – Lunch break

13.30 – Matt Hanson (UK) – Film Futurist Swarm of Angels
14.10 – Ton Roosendaal (NL) – Blender Free and Open Content media production with Open Source, presentation of a successful case study
14.50 – Floris Kaayk (NL) – Film director / artist Metalosis Maligna

15.05 – Short coffee break

15.15 – Luna Maurer / Roel Wouters (NL) – Designers Jubilator
15.30 – Geert Lovink (NL) – Institute for Network Cultures VideoVortex: The Politics and Aesthetics of Online Video Platforms
16.10 – Anne Helmond (NL) – Blogger Blogging, Software Standards and Template Culture
16.40 – Drinks & snacks

Moderator Koert van Mensvoort

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