The Week Ending 04092010

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It was an insane week on the side of things happening between homes..a move. Number 3 on the list of the most traumatic things that can happen in life, I’ve been told. ((I may’ve misheard, but it made sense at the time, so I’ve assimilated that as a part of the life’s-trauma-list.))

On the side of things happening in and around the Nokia Studio and the Home Laboratory there were some fun, curious things.

1. A Skype call about Drift Deck..iPhone edition with Dawn Lozzi and Jon Bell. That’s right. Dawn decided we should do an electron version of the previously print-only edition of the Drift Deck. ((Parenthetically, I found a couple more of the Drift Deck card decks after I thought they were all gone. Which made me happy. This is what happens when you clean things up — in this case my hyperactive desk at Nokia. It’s not a mess — it’s playful work.))

2. On Tuesday David A. Kirby came to the studio to give a talk on the very, very cool and engaging and provocative work he’s done on the relationship between science consultants and Hollywood film. It’s super cool work and if you’ve spent time here in the Laboratory’s online portal, or Google’d design fiction or listened to the recent panel a bunch of us did at SXSW you’ll find that Kirby’s insights on the relationship between science, fact and fiction and these epic, better-science-than-science science films do in the prototyping of ideas and technologies — then you’ll know David. Otherwise, you’ll want to. He’s got a book coming out soonish on these topics. There were some intriguing discussions after his talk, including ideas about how to use film and film tropes in communicating peculiar, near-future ideas; some talk about very active efforts to help NSF scientists *idea-place their science in popular entertainment — an effort run by a specific directorate at the NSF. Which is wild, if you ask me. I guess NASA does this quite routinely. I find this idea curious — placing ideas/theories/&c in a film through that bit of backroom product placement sorts of negotiations.

3. I met this curious fellow Nathan Moody while at SXSW. Just sitting around a table at the Hilton lobby bar with a bunch of folks and we struck up an engaging chat about film and film production. Turns out Nathan’s done a bit as a visual effects artist and keeps a blog called noisejockey on field recording, sound design, sound effects and music. It was a free-ranging chat and one we’ll continue. No specific vectors but of course I’m quite intrigued by genre conventions in film, especially sci-fi and he’s a great person to bounce these ideas off of. I’m also eager to learn about field recording — technically, creatively and as a way of capturing places. He also reminded me of an important film in this regard — The Conversation with Gene Hackman (which I’m pretty sure Enemy of the State learned from quite directly) which seems to be out of print, but still knocking around. What I enjoyed about the conversation was being able to ramble about half-cooked ideas and to be reminded of the role sound plays in creating a compelling story, which is relevant for this whole Design Fiction thing.

4. I did a lecture over Skype with Denise Gonzales Crisp’s seminar from the College of Design, North Carolina State University NCSU thingie. I’ve never tried to lecture over Skype. It was a small challenge but I think all-in-all at least partially successful. Part of the reason for doing these things is just to talk about them, even if I’ve talked about them before which always seems to help me sort the ideas out. It’s like practice but the practice is meant to try new approaches and angles and vectors into the concepts and principles to see how they sort themselves out.

5. I came across this lecture that Bruno Latour gave at a conference a fistful of miles from the Laboratory which bummed me out that I didn’t find out about in time enough to attend because, what? I don’t have the right *subscription or *search parameters or *colleagues to notify me that one of my favorite idea people was in town talking about stuff. Or maybe it was just a closed thing, who knows? But I might roughly consider myself an alumnus of the Annenberg Center, despite how much of a creative-productive pain-in-the-ass I was, but I guess I’m too far away by some measure to be engaged in what goes on there in a routine way. Oh well..It’s all online, which I guess is the bright upside.

Latour At Annenberg

That’s it.