Archive for February, 2007

Issey Miyake by Etienne Mineur

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Stunning interactive graphic piece for Issey Miyake by Etienne Mineur. Jean-Jacques Birgé talks about la derniere valse of this work.

Spring summer 2007 women collection.
Spring summer 2007 men collection.
Collections designed by Naoki Takizawa for Issey Miyake.

Charles Goldman

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Sculptor Charles Goldman says : TIME + DISTANCE = EXPERIENCE.
So I look at his on work on his web site work and find …

Spruce / Spree (2005) A grass-dressed shopping cart that was apparently chained up at various locations throughout a developing neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY …

Finally, the chain was clipped and the shopping cart was confiscated

Elsewhere (2000) and in particular Infinity Walk, wood, 32′ x 16′ x 8′. It is an iconic infinity sign.
“In elevation, the walkway rises, falls and turns underneath itself, providing a never-ending pathway that the visitor may follow.”

The work dealt with the repetative nature of time and experience.

Scrapwood (1998) made of 6,144 cubic feet of scrapwood and cardboard.
“About two years worth — 18 boxes — of wood scraps are assembled site-specifically, according to whim and using only gravity. ”


Charles Goldman’s web site

With - an emotional communication device

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

With - an emotional communication device - was selected as part of the Next-Gen PC design Competition organized by Microsoft and International Council of Societies of Industrial Design in 2006-2007. The device is designed for family members who live separately and to communicate over the internet. It is designed with the objective to convey emotions with the assumption that current technology interfaces are made too complex. The device resemble everyday objects (eggs, egg carton) to be familiar thus easy to use. The shape of the pillow is made “huggable” to offer a comfortable interaction.

A lot is being done in product design regarding remote communication using devices. Not so much attention is given to digital interaction using these devices (from a product design perspective). Because these objects are made interactive, I wander how the form factors can really match the technology outcomes. How do product designers think the functionalities of the interactive parts of the proposed objects? I liked the following example because it kept its product-like justifications even though it did not really address the interactive components. Instead it presented how people will use the designed generic tokens in relation to three main internet functionalities: talk, mail, play.

Small egg shape tokens called Identcons play a key role in this proposed emotional communication.

Each of them represents a person’s identity.

The objective of With is to respond to growing need for a new, human-oriented communication device that conveys emotional qualities and solidifies people’s relationships by sharing their emotions.

Thank you Idealist for the link!
And thank you Microsoft, IDSA and ICSID for the pictures of the Design Competition.

Kyoto City University of Arts

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Serendipity books made by Asako Matsumoto is an attractive concept interface to enjoy books.

Found on Blankism blog, the blog also links to the annual exhibition 2006 web site for Kyoto City University of Arts, in which a selection of gradute school prizes are presented.

Letter by Domae Hitomi

The launch of the Distance Lab

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

The Distance Lab is now opening! The Distance Lab is a new digital media research institute based in the beautiful and culturally-rich north of Scotland.

The mission of Distance Lab is to invent new technologies and experiences that challenge the way we think about distance and help overcome its disadvantages in learning, health care, relationships, culture, and other areas.

Based on the research done at the Media Lab Europe in Dublin, and more specifically in a research group named Human Connectedness, Distance Lab will expand on many of the themes from this group as it develops a similar demo-based culture full of talented engineers, designers, and artists from all over the world.

Distance Lab is now recruiting RAs and interns and if you are interested to apply for a position there, visit the Distance Lab web site

The ones already on board: Dr. Stefan Agamanolis, Matt Karau, Andrea Taylor and Joelle Bitton.

Raw: Joelle Bitton’s master piece created with Matt Karau and Stefan Agamanolis at Media Lab Europe
Raw is an audio/photographic tool for conveying minimally-mediated impressions of everyday life. More about Raw

Interaction Design and Children

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Jabberstamp? It is for adults to understand that a work of art is not a hat, but a boa digesting an elephant! - Yasmine Abbas

I teamed with Hayes Raffle to work on his Jabberstamp invention.

This is the first time I work on a project on which I am not the inventor. This collaboration is refreshing through the distance allowed by not being the actual initiator. It brings critical insights on the interaction design. Hayes asked me to join him, because of my background in toy design for children, especially the design of toys for emergent literacy. Out of the technology available, I tried to understand what could children do with the simple mechanism of associating sounds to drawings. Hayes and I end up testing the system, improving elements of the design and discussing its contribution. A pilot evaluation with children confirmed our hypothesis about the type of narrative children explore with such technological system.

We submitted a video for Siggraph’07, educator program and Jabberstamp was elected for being demoed and exhibited during the conference, the 5-9 of August 2007, San Diego, California.

A full paper Hayes and I wrote together on Jabberstamp got accepted to the Interaction Design and Children conference. The focus of the conference is on children’s role in the design and evaluation of interactive technologies. So we hope to see you in June 6-8, 2007, Aalborg in Denmark!

Abstract We introduce Jabberstamp, the first tool that allows children to synthesize their drawings and voices. To use Jabberstamp, children create drawings, collages or paintings on normal paper. They press a special rubber stamp onto the page to record sounds into their drawings. When children touch the marks of the stamp with a small trumpet, they can hear the sounds playback, retelling the stories they have created. We describe our design process and analyze the mechanism between the act of drawing and the one of telling, defining interdependencies between the two activities. In a series of studies, children ages 4-8 use Jabberstamp to convey meaning in their drawings. The system allows collaboration among peers at different developmental levels. Jabberstamp compositions reveal children’s narrative styles and their planning strategies. In guided activities, children develop stories by situating sound recording in their drawing, which suggests future opportunities for hybrid voice–visual tools to support children’s emergent literacy.

Jabberstamp is a MIT Media Lab project developed in the Tangible Media Group with Dr Hiroshi Ishii.

News (update)
July 23 07 Digital inspiration by Amit Agarwal.
July 23 07 Article in Discovery Channel by Tracy Staedter.
June 29 07 Article in Digital experience by Jonas Petersen.

Previous post on Jabberstamp.

IDC logo

Marisa Jahn

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Artist Marisa Jahn gave a talk at the MIT Media Lab, in the Tangible Media Group.

Her work explores ways to engage people in gaining knowledge, from literacy, to environmental literacy. She designed tools and methods to invite people in a comparative analysis of information and self-reflective process. She collaborates frequently with Steve Shada and Natalie Jeremijenko.

Interested in how human interact and communicate with each others, she designed wearable musical instruments.

For her master thesis in the visual studies department at MIT, she designed a game called Set. Elements of the set can be regrouped, labeled and organized and shared within the players.

Project most easily understood through direct engagement, boxSET is a game played as an intervention into any existing collection of objects (archives, record albums, a heap of junk—anything). Involving multiple players, some of whom may not have any prior relationship with the objects to be sorted, the game asks players to develop categories that describes a grouping of objects. However, the creation of order occurs simultaneous with disorder: a player may choose to remove an object from another player’s collection in order to place it in his/her grouping. This rapid taxonomic metabolism encourages players to narrate out loud (or ’show-and-tell’) their categories with the anticipation that it may soon disappear. Further, through taxonomically engaging with different kinds of objects, players become aware of what kinds of objects (data) are better for certain kinds of analyses (formal, textual, psychoanalytic, etc.). As the game evolves, players become aware of the difference in interpretation, the subjectivity of order, and the contingent production of knowledge.

She created throw-n-Sow a new way for people to think about and engage with their environment. Frisbees deposite seeds while in the air…

Throw-n-Sow is a flying disc toy similar to a Frisbee that uses the centripetal force generated in the act of throwing to distribute seeds into the environment. Manufactured as a toy made from environmentally-friendly, biodegradable plastics, Throw-n-Sow consists of a main body and a separate container that slides and locks under the disc. This container contains adjustable holes of different diameter to accommodate variant seed sizes. In other words, Throw-n-Sow is a literally empty container into which individuals and communities emplace selected seeds.
Throw-n-Sow is interactive eco-art project that engages diverse communities in each step of the project (manufacturing, seed-selection, site-selection, plant stewardship, art education), Throw-n-Sow raises questions about the expanded field of drawing, indigenous ecologies vs. selective human cultivation, landscape evolution and succession, ethnobotany, agronomy, etc. Throw-n-Sow ultimately aims to valorize distributive intelligence and interdisciplinary learning.
Throw-n-Sow is the kind of art that literally passes between two or more individuals. Leaving behind a trail of seeds as it sails through the air, Throw-n-Sow essentially imprints moments of play into the landscape. Individuals carrying the Throw-n-Sow disc from one place to another develop an affective relationship to the toy and to the sites in which it is deployed.

The futures of textile

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

My friend Jane Harris, the director of the Textile Futures Research Group at Central Saint Martins just invited me to this awesome salon on Textile Futures at the ICA. So if you are in London, you should check it out!

TEXTILE FUTURES SALON (ICA and University of the Arts London collaboration)

20 March 2007, 6-8pm. Textile Futures Research Group, University of the Arts London in collaboration with the ICA presents the Textile Futures Salon. The first in this series of seminars and workshops will ask the question, “What is the Future For Textiles?”. Fashion designer, Katherine Hamnett; founder of the Future Laboratory, Martin Raymond; architect, Ian Ritchie; textiles author and curator, Sarah E.Braddock Clarke; and interaction & textile designer, Rachel Wingfield will be in the hot seat to respond, chaired by Dr Jane Harris, member and director of the Textile Futures Research Group.

Photo © Ian Ritchie

web site

Nina Katchadourian

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Natural Car Alarms

I’m a great believer in misunderstandings as fruitful starting points for art works. Moments of confusion can be incredibly expansive mental spaces, where you hover in a kind of vastness, trying to extend this state as long as possible until some clue provides context, or some bit of information anchors you once again to what’s actually going on, delineating and determining what you should be understanding about things. Most people have had the experience of sleeping in an unfamiliar place and for a moment having no idea where you are when you wake up. Standing there in the rainforest was a bit like this: I tried to stay with both interpretations of that sound for as long as I could, but I also made a mental note to remember the error for later.

Multi media artist Nina Katchadourian is interested in communication and intervenes inspired by her disorienting experiences.

Helen Mirra recommended me to look at Natural Car Alarms. Nina Katchadourian describes her experience of walking through the rainforest, feeling disoriented and suddenly hearing a car alarm. The car alarm sound was the one of a bird. She later decided to reproduce this effect in an urban setting and selected shockingly alarm-like and also distinctly still bird-like sounds that will be played by cars in the urban space.

Natural Car Alarms is a project consisting of three cars rigged with modified car alarms whose typical six-tone siren has been replaced with a similar one made only of bird calls. Some of the bird sounds are shockingly electronic in character; others are very bird-like in the quality of their sound, but very alarm-like in their patterning. The idea for the project was in fact the result of a misunderstanding’s heard a bird in the jungles of Trinidad that I mistook for a car alarm—and the project took up the severely urban car alarm as an element that was in fact completely natural to the Long Island City landscape where the piece was exhibited several times in summer and fall of 2002.

In the case of the process of this piece, it is fascinating to me how the disorientation can come from nature and the familiar from the industrial.


Monday, February 19th, 2007

In this project, sensor modules are hidden within snow elements such as rocks, pavements, icy beach. Each sensor module contains pre-recorded chirping birds. Each module is composed of a set of wireless speakers and plays a pre-recorded cardinal bird - Many thanks to Cornell lab of Ornithology for their great collection of free bird sounds.

When a passerby travels through her environment, she observes her surroundings. Hearing birds coming from the snow she declares: “this is lovely”. She does not yet connect the meaning of the two. She is projected within her idealistic view of her environment, snow and birds symbolizing magic.
She tries to obtain her curious information: “I know the sound comes from the ground, but where?” In a few minutes she notices that the sounds come from the snow, and realizes the fact: this is unusual and disorienting.

This project exemplifies the disconnection between natural elements of the outside; the birds symbolizing the spring, the snow symbolizing the winter. The two are reunited in a dramatic way. I shift the location of the birds from the trees to the ground. I shift the seasonal sounds from winter to spring. In this piece I selected a large landscape, nude from anything else than a winter tree, with no leaves, just branches. I bury the sounds into the ground, in the snow.

I find that we are disconnected from reality. Aesthetic endeavors create magic, but magic that distances us from facts. I use this magic in nature, elements that are natural but yet inspire us: snow, sounds of birds. I put them together to create this aestheticised tragedy.

Project I made for the sculpture studio : outside