Curious Rituals

Curious Rituals is a project about gestures, postures and rituals people adopt when using digital technologies. It’s both a book documenting gestures we observed, and a design fiction film that speculates about their evolution

Location: Los Angeles, USA
Years: Summer 2012
Leader: Nicolas Nova
Method: Ethnography and prototyping

Curious Rituals was a research project conducted at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena) in July-August 2012 by Nicolas Nova (The Near Future Laboratory / HEAD-Genève), Katherine Miyake, Nancy Kwon and Walton Chiu from the media design program.

The project was about gestures, postures and digital rituals that typically emerged with the use of digital technologies (computers, mobile phones, sensors, robots, etc.): gestures such as recalibrating your smartphone doing an horizontal 8 sign with your hand, the swiping of wallet with RFID cards in public transports, etc. These practices can be seen as the results of a co-construction between technical/physical constraints, contextual variables, designers intents and people’s understanding. We can see them as an intriguing focus of interest to envision the future of material culture.

The aim of the project was to envision the future of gestures and rituals based on:

  1. A documentation of current digital gestures in a book format
  2. The making of a design fiction film that speculate about their evolution

“Curious Rituals” was produced as part of a research residency in the Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Upload Cinema – Visions of a Future

via erwinvanderzande

An interesting proposition — show shorts that are found online, like on YouTube or Vimeo or wherever in a proper, normal, human bricks & mortar theater. That’s what Upload Cinema in Amsterdam does and, darnit..if I was there, I’d go every month.

Update: The viewed films can be seen online now.

On February 2, 2009 they will be showing short films and clips according to the theme “Visions of a Future” which I had the good fortune to be the guest editor and curate, along with a few other folks. Part of the duties I agreed to was to provide some introduction. As I’m not in Amsterdam and am someplace rather warmer and drier, I cobbled together a rash-dash video introduction which doesn’t say much, but sets the mood.

Upload Cinema Visions of a Future Intro from Julian Bleecker on Vimeo.

I had an evening, after a day in the studio, to put this together and I really have no video production skills and, on top of that, my aspirations were pretty high. I thought about what I might say that would tie the event to my design fiction thinking, but that’d mean pulling together a few remarks and I thought it’d be more fun to be fun.

The high concept, which — after a few test compositions and some editing and rendering I realized would take me into the wee hours of the morning — is that the Odyssey from 2001: A Space Odysseyhas a custodian/superintendent who is called Hal and misunderstandings between him and HAL evolve from there when Hal, the Super, overhears Dave and Frank talking about disconnecting HAL.

Anyway..I blame the Porto.

Continue reading Upload Cinema – Visions of a Future