Tag Archive for 'creativity'

15MarThese little things in the dark …

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Our childhood was filled with creatures hidden in the dark. The feeling of them existing outside of our imagination was a source of interaction with the physical world, creating places for them to live. Our imaginary friends were sharing our secrets, they were our closest partner in the world discovery. One book that I recommend on the subject is The House of Make-Believe: Children’s Play and the Developing Imagination by Dorothy G. Singer and Jerome L. Singer, one of my favorite book on imagination and child development.

Children interacting with Kage no Sekai

When I discovered Kage no Sekai, I immediately felt in love with it. The piece projects cute tiny creatures on shadows -and only on shadows- so that anyone can play with them, try to grab them, make them exist in specific places with shadows created just for them, or even trap them (see video of the children interaction with the system).

Photo by the authors of Kage no Sekai

“This device expresses this perspective not by using existing media but in the real world itself. The mechanism is concealed, giving the device the appearance of an ordinary piece of furniture. Although at first glance it looks like a regular wooden table, if you look at the shadows on its surface you’ll see the movement of mysterious life forms. When you approach it to have a better look, they sense your presence and hide away. They do not emerge while human shadows are cast over the table, but the life forms hiding within a distant shadow are watching them.”


29FebImpossible things? Negative Capability and the Creative Imagination

I came across an intriguing paper written by Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, researcher that I admire. She reviews the history and contemporary understanding of the concepts of creativity and the imagination, referring to poetry and visualization to explore the role of the imagination, and to reflect on the concept of creativity.

Excerpt from her paper
I challenge the popular view of the Romantic poet as “mad, bad and dangerous to know”, and propose instead that these artists were committed to the project of understanding the creative imagination and being attentive to its modes of operation. Indeed many of their poems, such as Coleridge’s Kubla Khan (Coleridge, 1996, pp. 229-231), are expressions of their research. The Romantic project can be seen therefore as an attempt to understand the creative imagination through its own operation, and to articulate this in artistic expression. Poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge were interested in how we see the world, and they proposed that the first act of the imagination was perception itself.

Summary offered by the Creativity or conformity conference:

Using examples from art, psychology and science, she illustrates a number of ways in which we have ‘imagined the imagination’. She proposes that education, with its increasing reliance on the jargon and practices of business and bureaucracy, has lost sight of its central role in developing the Keatsian concept of a ‘negative capability’ which is the basis of creativity: Negative capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

This ‘negative capability’ is the ability to deal positively with complexity, paradox, and ambiguity in processes which have uncertain contexts and outcomes. This capacity is increasingly of value in a world in which the contexts and fields of operation of academic disciplines, governments and businesses is expanding. Indeed, industry, whose leaders work within ‘wicked environments’ characterized by increasing complexity and change, is recognizing and rewarding this ability.

Professor McAra-McWilliam proposes that the current educational milieu, with its ‘final vocabularies’ of business and bureaucracy, is placing a relatively higher value on positive capabilities which lend themselves to measurement. Students’ and teachers’ negative capabilities are thereby marginalized or excluded, along with their ways of thinking and making, and their languages of expression.

She suggests that current educational models are driven by inadequate and outdated models of business which focus exclusively on productivity and results while, ironically, industry and management research is increasingly defining negative capability as essential to innovation in uncertain business environments. The presentation concludes by offering some insights into research practice in art and design as a means to reaffirm the role of education in the development of negative capability, and in imagining solutions to ‘impossible things’.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

10DecPoetic chairs

I stumbled upon Stuhlhockerbank by Yvonne Fehling and Jennie Peiz. For a public use of architecture merging chair and stool into seat elements, the life of the sitting place becomes engraved in the artist’ sculpture. The chairs are discombobulated.

By Architectradure


Talking about fashion, this garment is absolutely awesome. Pillowig by Joo Youn Paek.

“Pillowig” is hand made wearable pillow comforting trieness of people in daily lives, enabling users to sleep comfortably whenever and whenever they’d like. When user test is done in public spaces - subway, airplane, library, class room and laundromat, viewers commented: “I would like to have it for my trip.”, “Very funny.” “This is practical, but a laugh, too.” I made 50 limited editions and sold 47 pieces at the exhibition of the work and gained “Pillowig” fans. Two months later fans did a group performance piece at the Old Palace, Seoul.

02AugDigital, mechanical and eletronic fashion show

Amanda Parkes just gave me the booklet she designed for Unravel, a technology-driven fashion event at Siggraph 2007 this year. A premiere. I am so lucky to share an office with the curator and fashion chair of this event!

“Unravel” brings together the works of international designers and artists to present innovative and interactive works in computational and conceptual couture, socially conscious fashion, science-inspired from, and new technologies in textiles.

If you attend the event in San Diego, California, you will see:

· Solar Bikini by Andrew Schneider. A solar film bikini that charges your iPod! (With a USB connection!) The suit is a standard medium-sized bikini swimsuit retrofitted with 1″ x 4″ photovoltaic film strips sewn together in series with conductive thread. The cells terminate in a 5 volt regulator into a female USB connection

Solar Bikini

· Walking City and Index of Indifference by Yin Gao, projects that I particularly love! Dresses respond to their physical and acoustical environment, the ethereal garments just breath …

Walking City

· Intimate Controllers by Jenny Chowdhury. A platform where video games are played by couples touching each others.

· Smoking Jacket by Fiona Carswell. The jacket has a built-in pair of lungs on the front. As the wearer smokes, the lungs fill up with the exhaled cigarette smoke and begin to gradually darken over time.

Smoking Jacket

· Hacking Couture, a web portal that allows the launching of new fashion aesthetics by the continuous contribution of users of the site, giving an exploratory spin to the traditional design process in fashion, allowing a collective collaboration in means of self-expression and the enhancement of creativity by the application of the concepts of Open Source.

· Self-Sustainable chair by Joo Youn Paek, a conceptual garment that motivates users to consistently switch between walking and sitting as a loop behavior on the street. The balance between exercise and rest would be maintained by wearing this suit.

Self-Sustainable chair

· Muttering Hat & Talk to Yourself Hat by Kate Hartman.
Muttering Hat A pair of muttering balls are tethered to the hat. They may be stuck to your ears, so that all other noise is obstructed by the mutterings, or they may be detached, providing the opportunity to escape from the mutterings or to share them with a friend.
Talk to Yourself Hat Through the use of a communication system embedded in the hat, you may speak outloud to yourself while retaining the right to a somewhat private conversation.

Muttering Hat

· Knitter’s Tapestry by Daniela K. Rosner and Kimiko Ryokai.

An experimental dress knit with recordable magnetic tape that travels with the knitter and captures the knitter’s experience as she knits.

Knitter’s Tapestry

Knitter’s Tapestry - detail

· Solar vintage, we will become silhouettes by Elena Corchero, a collection of accessories for the eco-fashion-minded in which technology meets tradition.

Solar Vintage

· Jacket Antics by Barbara Layne and Studio subTela, that feature unique texts and designs scrolling through the LED array on each of the backs.

· Kameraflage(TM) by Connor Dickie, a display technology that is invisible to the naked eye, yet is visible when imaged with a digital camera.

On this picture, the thunder-cloud has a lightening-bolt appear in the photograph

· Negociation by Daniela Kostova, Galina Kumanova, Olivia Robinson, a wearable interactive video system that combines textiles and technology to explore concepts of identity creation, presence and absence, integration and estrangement in different political and cultural environment. The wearers of the suit merge with the visual environment they inhabit.


Negication’ still during a performance: The persons seem to disappear.

· Cherry Blossoms: When War Comes Home by Alyssa Wright addresses the disparity between human suffering and perception of that suffering.

A mapping technology that transports one into the world of another, Cherry Blossoms gives witness to the tragedy of war. A backpack is outfitted with a small microcontroller and a GPS unit. Recent news of bombings in Iraq are downloaded to the unit every night, and their relative locations are superimposed on a map of Boston. If the wearer walks in a space in Boston that correlates to a site of violence in Baghdad, the backpack detonates and releases a compressed air cloud of confetti, looking for all the world like smoke and shrapnel. A technology for empathy, Cherry Blossoms honors the human cost of war.

Cherry Blossoms, a cloud of confetti, each confetti showing the name of a civilian who died in the Iraq war and the circumstances of his/her death.

· Shutters by Marcelo Coelho and Steve Helsing, is a soft kinetic membrane for environmental control and communication.

It is composed of actuated louvers (or shutters) that can be individually addressed for precise control of ventilation, daylight incidence and information display. By combining smart materials, textiles and computation, Shutters builds upon other façade systems to create living environments and work spaces that are more energy efficient, while being aesthetically pleasing and considerate of its inhabitants’ activities.

· Bracelets and Reconfigure, two projects by Leah Buechley.

Each bracelet, woven on a traditinoal bead loom out of beads, conductive thread and surface mount LEDs, is a 5×10 display matrix that can be programmed with animations like cellular automata and scrolling text. I strove to make the bracelets lovely with the electricity on as well as off; the most recent versions are almost as thin and flexible as traditional beaded jewelry, controlled with surface mount electronics and soft circuitry and powered with flexible Lithium-ion batteries.

Reconfigure is a platform for interactive performance. A reconfigurable costume consists of a torso piece and an assortment of sensing appendages that can be snapped to the torso. Sensors in the appendages include muscle flex sensors, accelerometers, bend sensors and touch sensors. Sensor data is relayed to a computer, via a bluetooth module embedded in the torso, where it can be used to control or generate music, video and other multimedia content.

· Peau d’Âne by Valérie Lamontagne. Peau d’Âne, a fairy tale from Charles Perrault, is reinterpreted by giving life to the ‘impossible’ dresses that a young princess orders her stepfather to thwart marrying him.

Peau d’Âne

Technical diagram of Peau d’Âne.



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