Action Sharing 2 Creative Competition


Ambling around Medieval Torino with @bruces during the 2008 Share Festival.

The fine folks at Piemonte Share in Torino are doing a creative competition called Action Sharing 2!

Here’s the Call for Participation. Deadline is November 30th!

Winner can supervise the planning and *production of the project itself, so it sounds like their angling for something that is smart, creative and manufactureable, which gets closer to the honey-pot of creativity and production. ((All of you who think its easy to get something produced — and I mean the people part of enrolling folks into your vision, which is why it’s often easier to just sit by yourself, make something in your studio and be a quiet, sullen, earnest artist — it ain’t. But the folks at Piemonte Share are giving you a chance to call the shots!
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Weekending 10172010


Well, got about half way through the new Steven Johnson book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation and still going. He tells a good story and I believe much of it. There’s something funny going on in there, though. I’ll sort it out. Seems maybe a bit simple in its argument — things alongside of things, or the adjacent possible. It makes sense and I don’t want to do the typical academician’s “but it’s more complicated than that.” As an alternative to the more popular imaginary of the genius in a basement working alone when inspiration strikes, this is much better.

So..there was that. Then lots of work and time in the studio corralling several (not a few, several) projects into their present state to be shared. Shared, not finished off or anything — but raked and slightly burnished to a semi-finished finish. It’s a good exercise to begin to bring that level of overview and organization to the work. And it’s all good stuff, all well-done. ((I’m slightly eager to get into the material more tangibly. More on that in the coming weeks, I suspect. Or, wait. Not “I suspect” because I can if I want to, so it’s more like — I will make the material more tangible, and make the time to do such. Except — oh, bugger. Look at that calendar for the coming months.))

Anyway, there was also some preparation for the upcoming Design Fiction components of the 6th Annual Swiss Design Network Conference. I’m excited. The line up for both Friday and Saturday look great. I’ll be there with earballs wide open. In preparation, aside from the paper I prepared some months ago, I’ve been continuing my process of cataloging Design Fiction in Science Fiction Film for the DVD collection the Laboratory will be releasing.

I was thinking about what possible projects either way on the back burner or up front, sizzling right now that I could send off to a design project *challenge. Thought about that back and forth wondering what the consequences might be of doing so. Best case, I get to run the project. Worst case, I still get to run the project, but maybe in another context or just *later, at some other time. Should it be something I’ve always wanted to do or force myself to think about enough to put it before someone. Or something to make a point, even if I never get to say anything more about it because, *shrug*..someone’s going to look at it and think, why’d he put this in front of us, anyway?

I had flounced off of the skate photography thing, but that didn’t last long and it was more of a joke to myself, but not doing it for 10 days made it seem like I hadn’t been doing it for months. Went to the indoor ramp around the way. With the winter light setting so much earlier, a drive-by the park becomes less possible these days. Anyway.
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The Faint Scent of Brimstone with Notes of Sulfur

Note to Self

A hand written note to remind me to stop and make a call at 2p. That’s all. I’ve been thinking about notes and reminders lately.

If I followed this to its logical yet design fiction-y conclusion, I’m sure I’d find the devil himself. <a href="The New York Times does a slightly fluffy anecdotal piece on toddlers strangely addicted to iPhones. If I were in charge I’d consider legislation to slap little warning labels on these damn things. Apple lovers — many of whom have fancy jobs enough to afford a new iPhone to replace the perfectly good one from last year — are probably huffing with hands-on-hips (thumbs forward) dismissing the early warning signs which I am sure are weak signals of a species transformation of the sort that shifts the gray matter around in a horrifyingly Crichton-esque fashion.

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I Quote: ….

Friday October 08 13:37

Integrity, clarity and honesty.

And Warren schooled me about SciFi writers – they don’t do prediction, they do extrapolation. And he should know, he’s one of the best.

The only thoughts that have occurred to are these:

1. Warren is, of course, right. But SF Writers saying they don’t do prediction is like Leonard Nimoy saying he’s not Spock. It’s factually true, but it’s not culturally or emotionally true. It’s not true enough to overturn the fact that we take them as predicitions, however they actually generate them. And we want predictions.

2. The SF I really like (recently: Makers or The Caryatids, eternally: Neuromancer or Planetary) shows me a world I can believe in and imagine being in. They’re worlds full of recognisable people, however much they’re not like today’s people. And they’re worlds I can imagine building. Sort of. When there’s an absence of those worlds, set a few years off, I think culture gets a bit thinner.

3. I bet this somehow connects to ideas about Design Fiction, Gear Porn and Concept Products. Our fictional itch is being scratched by actual technology companies but they’re not that good at it. (Not really sure about this one, might be another red herring, NOT like rugby league.)

((via @russelldavies from his post here.))

..They are not that good at it.

This remarks gets to the substance of one thing at least — technology companies are technology companies. They are burdened by an inability to think about people who are no longer concerned with feature lists and scales of things that continually go up and to the right, like the endless chase for more better and bigger or smaller.

I get Russell’s metaphor here, but maybe it goes the other way — technology companies are like mosquitoes nipping at us, causing us to itch, which feels satisfying at first but gradually becomes not such a good idea. The momentary glee of imagining a better little corner of experience that has been fictionally cast in the form of an advertisement about a new glowing thing but that lacks the integrity and honesty that most advertising lacks in that it’s just the vision of some marketing wonk who has no connection to the principles and logics that are embedded in the design and engineering work. Advertising is probably the worst kind of SciFi in this regard. No integrity. No expectations that what is being presented has any relationship to possibility. Maybe SciFi as it was has switched places with advertising: Warren Ellis says SciFi does extrapolation. Advertising-as-SciFi does..what? Dishonest predicting? When it isn’t connected to the principles of the thing, when it’s just that marketing guy who dreams up a selling point, then it is certainly lacking in honesty, whatever the sincerity of that marketing guy’s dream of what he’d like.

((c.f. Timo’s remarks.))
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Weekending 10032010


Well, probably the most intriguing thing that happened last week was the unexpected conversations that started up around the graphs of the future presentation I gave (all of 15 minutes) at the University of Michigan last Saturday the 2nd. It wasn’t unexpected in the sense that it was an award-winning 15 minutes of fame at all — just that it was more legible to people it seems than I had expected. The surprise might be that I had sorted out what I wanted to share in a low-level panic. When I first started thinking about the design fiction stuff and shared it at Design Engaged 2008 in Montreal I had this idea that was super formative about showing representations of the future. And because Design Engaged was a place wher eyou could show things that were still busted up and incomplete, I went for it, and basically showed three kinds of futures from three different thinkers/writers/futurists. But — I didn’t really have good representations so I found some stand-in photos that showed them. Like..for the William Gibson the-future-is-here-its-just-not-evenly-distributed I showed sandwich spread — peanut butter, I think — on a piece of bread to give that sense that the future can be spread about. It didn’t really work. This time, I drew in my wobbly drawing way, the graphs I wanted and I guess it worked because in contrast to the very sophisticated renderings of the surrounding presenters (architects, mostly) it was low-res and low-fidelity which provided a nice contrast, I suppose.

I still want to find a good Latourian graph of the future. Something knotted and gnarled with multiple intersections and conclusions. Inadvertently, Sascha may have given me this when he shared this Tim Hawkins piece “Wall Chart of World History from Earliest Times to the Present” (1997) shown at the top of this post. I wonder if anyone knows how I can obtain detail photography of this?

Aside from that, I have been assembling collections of movie clips for the evolving series on Design Fiction Chronicles. I hope beyond possibility that Volume 1 will be available for the upcoming Design Fiction Swiss Design Network conference at the end of this month.

Also, I owe a call to Nicolas for preparing our workshop on Failures at the same conference.

That’s it.
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