Tag: rootoftwo












Work continues on the project I have been working on with Karl Daubmann and Werner Dahm for Arts On Earth. We now have sound design by Alvin “Munk” Hill from Detroit. We have 22 aluminum ‘cones’, 24 Arduinos, 660 super bright LEDs, 17 passive infrared sensors and a whole load of wiring. Opening Night (Wednesday, November 5) is fast approaching.

I have been working with Karl Daubmann and Werner Dahm on a project for Arts On Earth. Four teams from across the University of Michigan units located on North Campus (College of Engineering; the School of Music, Theatre & Dance; School of Art and Design; and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning) have been working on projects based on the 4 elements. We are the ‘Fire‘ team. Opening Night is Wednesday, November 5, (5.00 – 11.00 pm), at the Duderstadt Center on UM’s North Campus. This is apt because this date is Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night) that marks the failure of the plot in 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, England. Here is our blurb:

“Fire is unique among the four elements in that it is not necessary for life. It is often associated with progress and technology as most modern conveniences, materials, and processes are in some way tied back to fire. Indeed it could be argued that our use of fire and the subsequent technologies that result from this are the defining characteristics of our species. Fire is also unique among the elements because of its perceived volatility, often considered chaotic and uncontrollable in nature. Beyond its dynamic behavior, it exudes a wide range of phenomenal qualities including color, sound, heat, direction, and texture. All of which are predictable based on the laws of thermodynamics.

Our group began by asking how to design fire, rethinking or repositioning its characteristics and attempting to use its broad range without ever having to strike a match. The resulting installation is not one of demonstration or direct teaching but instead tries to use the characteristics of fire to extend the way we might consider technology and experience.

In response, we have developed ‘Fire’, a cluster of digitally fabricated, augmented objects that together form a complex system capable of responding to people, digital information, and the physical environment in which it is situated. The structure is to be located in the approach to the University of Michigan’s Duderstadt Center, home of the Digital Media Commons. This will create a signature piece that will mark the entrance to this state-of-the-art facility.

Taking our cue from analysis methodologies for complex boundary conditions our proposal is composed of autonomous cells that are able to act alone or together. Some cells are able to trigger others and once the system begins, it is not predetermined how or where it will end. Directionality and sequence are used to bias the system without controlling it completely. The units that make up ‘Fire’ are produced using associative geometrical modeling and parametric design and are lasercut from aluminum. Each unit will contain digital processing from microcontrollers and sensors that will operate light and sound. Currently our attempt is to power the installation through photovoltaic panels, capturing thermodynamic energy from the sun as an added layer of autonomy for the system.”

A book has been published (ISBN 978-0-9558468-0-9) as a way of recording and sharing the results of the 4 Product Scotland workshops held at the end of 2007 (more information here). There are lots of pictures, participant comments and some essays in it. These are:

‘Design Ethnography for the 21st Century’ by Paul Rodgers & Mike Anusas.
‘I Love Digital’ by Jon Rogers.
‘Ontologies of Production: 21st Century Transformations in Manufacturing’ by me.
‘Creativity – Preaching to the Converted’ by Craig Whittet & Alex Milton.

I’m not sure how the book is being distributed but if you have to have a copy, contact:

Dr Paul A. Rodgers
Reader in Design
School of Creative Industries
Napier University

On Friday 23rd November was the second Product Scotland workshop (supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Methods Network programme). The subject for this workshop was the emerging field of digital product design. It was introduced and led by Jon Rogers and was held at the Visual Research Centre (VRC) at University of Dundee. Following on from the previous workshop, the themes explored were: Future Body, Future Food and Future City. These were explored through augmenting a found or bought object acquired by doing a rapid “city-sample”. Basically we all went out and got something and brought it back to the VRC where we spent the afternoon enhancing these objects by embedding a piece of electroluminescent (EL) material into them. Afterwards there was a reception at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) to look at the objects and talk about the day’s activities. There was an emphasis on not being intimidated by the technology (in this case it really couldn’t have been simpler) and having fun with it. Which we did. Like the previous workshop, the surprising thing was how much can be done in a short period.
The next workshop will be at Gray’s School of Art on 6th December, 2007.

Product Scotland is a collaborative venture between Scottish Higher Education Institutes involved in product design. The aim of Product Scotland is to create a network that is primarily, though not exclusively, open to Scottish based product designers drawn from academic and industrial backgrounds and to achieve research excellence through knowledge pooling. Product Scotland, with the backing of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Methods Network programme, are running 4 workshops between 8 November and 17 December, 2007 to communicate and advance knowledge and skills in product design and development.

To reserve your place or for more information please contact Paul Rodgers on 0131 455 2313 or p.rodgers@napier.ac.uk

Emerging Research Methods for Product Design – Edinburgh
Thursday 8 November, 2007
Workshop Activities 11:00 to 17:00
Workshop Open Evening 18:00 to 19:30

Digital Product Design – Dundee
Friday 23 November, 2007
Workshop Activities 11:00 to 17:00
Workshop Open Evening 18:00 to 19:30

Domestic/Public Rapid Prototyping – Aberdeen
Thursday 6 December, 2007
Workshop Activities 11:00 to 17:00
Workshop Open Evening 18:00 to 19:30

Creativity – Glasgow
Monday 17 December, 2007
Workshop Activities 11:00 to 17:00
Workshop Open Evening 18:00 to 19:30






The ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ Symposium at St. Martin’s College, Lancaster on Thursday 28 September, 1 – 5pm went really well. The discussion was self-sustaining (to the point that a summary was irrelevant) and raised many important points. The line up was as follows:

13.00 – 13.30 Arrival
13.30 – 13.45 Welcome, Introductions (John Hyatt of Miriad)
13.45 – 14.15 Keynote (Dr. Paul A. Rodgers of Napier University)
14.15 – 14.35 Tavs Jorgensen http://www.oktavius.co.uk/
14.35 – 14.55 Aoife Ludlow http://aoifestuff.com/
14.55 – 15.10 Break
15.10 – 15.35 Justin Marshall http://www.justinmarshall.co.uk/
15.35 – 15.55 Lionel T. Dean http://www.futurefactories.com/
15.55 – 16.15 Human Beans http://www.humanbeans.net/
16.15 – 16.45 Q+A, Discussion
16.45 – 17.00 Summary (John Marshall/Taylor Nuttal)
18.00 – 20.00 Private View @ Citylab, 4-5 Dalton Square, Lancaster LA1 4PP

I recorded the entire session and hope to get it online as a transcript or podcast in the near future.