Tag: technology












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.”

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The ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ publication (ISBN 978-0-652-355-2) is now available. You can buy a printed copy (for $18.95 US) or download it (full resolution, no cover, 80 MB) for free.

‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ was made possible through funding and support from Arts Council England, Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) and Lancaster City Council. ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ was presented by Fast-uk in partnership with folly as part of the f.city festival of digital culture in 2006. The publication is supported by MIRIAD.

[N.B. If you were involved in the show I will be getting copies to you in the near future. If your contact details have changed please get in touch and let me know].

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The PBB book proofs just arrived. Even though I’ve been working on it for eighteen months, I’m impressed. They are much slicker and the printing quality is higher than I had expected. It should be available later this week…

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 Thursday 26 June, 2008 there will be a one-day symposium that I helped organize at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland. The symposium is titled:

inter_multi_trans_actions
emerging trends in post-disciplinary creative practice

This one day symposium will bring together a number of leading practitioners from the fields of art, architecture and design who each share a common desire to exploit the latest computing technologies in their creative practice. The invited speakers will reveal their cutting edge work that blurs the traditional boundaries of the creative disciplines.

Emerging trends in post-disciplinary creative practice highlight the interplay of conventional boundaries. Speakers:

Moritz Waldemeyer
is at the forefront of mechatronics, a combination of mechanics and electronics, that helps create innovative design ideas for concept cars, smart weapons and washing machines. Over the past few years, Waldemeyer has worked with the likes of Zaha Hadid, Ron Arad and Hussein Chalayan who have all availed themselves of his expert technical know how.

HeHe
Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen, the HeHe duo explore the territory that is the common ground for designers and artists. They have developed a concept of Cultural Reverse Engineering, that raises political, economical and sociological questions: to study a device or a software in order to modify its initial function is a way of re-appropriating the technology, in a world where most of us have no idea of the way everyday objects actually work nor how their cultural position has changed over time. The workshops they organize to “teach basic of DIY technologies, to students, artists and designers”, can be seen as a concrete application of that concept. HeHe is clearly related to the Lo-Fi philosophy (and it happens to be the title of one of their works), with its playful, yet serious, issues.

Usman Haque
has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and mass-participation performances. His skills include the design of both physical spaces and the software and systems that bring them to life. He has been an invited researcher at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy, artist-in-residence at the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, Japan and has also worked in USA, UK and Malaysia. As well as directing the work of Haque Design + Research he was until 2005 a teacher in the Interactive Architecture Workshop at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London.

the POOCH
explore non-navigational spaces and interfacelessness. They use less technology, not useless technology and they like extreme prototyping. thePOOCH also prefer to build rather than blog. thePOOCH is a young company with a wealth of experience in computer programming for mobile applications, interactive art installations, advertising and live events. thePOOCH’s team of programmers has 40+ years combined experience in software engineering, user interface design, computer networking and hardware development. thePOOCH work one-on-one with clients and end-users to design, develop and build interactive installations that are tailored for specific target audiences.

TROIKA
is a multi-disciplinary art and design practice founded in 2003 by Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki and Sebastien Noel, who met while studying at the Royal College of Art. Our backgrounds in graphic, product design and communication allow us to engage in work that is at the intersection of the three disciplines, thinking of design as communication art. We develop a variety of self-initiated and commissioned projects that are both engaging and demanding to the user, from printed matter to product design and custom installations. Our approach focuses on the contamination between the arts and design disciplines and is born out of the same love for simplicity, playfulness, and an essential desire for provocation.

Greyworld
In 1993 Andrew Shoben founded Greyworld in Paris. Greyworld’s goal is to create works that articulate public spaces, allowing some form of self-expression in areas of the city that people see every day but normally exclude and ignore.

Jason Bruges Studio
is a Shoreditch based studio producing a diverse range of work that includes interactive light sculptures, interactive environments, events and screen-based installations. We explore the use of interactivity with the public and environment through the use of highly imaginative technologies. Jason Bruges Studio specialises in ‘interactive light environments’, from installations on the streets ofNew York to London’s South Bank.

The Owl Project
make sculpture, music and sound art, notably the Log1K, Sound Lathe, Sound Chair and iLog. Drawing on influences such as woodworking, hobby style electronics and open source software to create music-making machines, they take a craft-based approach to designing their own interfaces and objects. The result is a distinctive range of musical and sculptural instruments that critique human interaction with computer interfaces and our increasing appetite for new and often disposable technologies.

Lucy Bullivant
is an architectural curator, critic and author. Lucy has worked internationally with leading museums, galleries, cultural institutions, publishers and corporate bodies since 1987. Her latest book, Responsive Environments: Architecture, Art and Design (V&A Contemporary, 2006), explores the hybrid discipline of interactive architecture and design. She regularly contributes to Domus, The Plan, a+u, Volume, Architectural Record and Indesign, some of the world’s most authoritative international architectural magazines.

Thursday 26 June, 2008
Faculty of Engineering, Computing, and Creative Industries
Napier University
Merchiston Campus
10 Colinton Road
Edinburgh EH10 5DT

Places are limited and cost £20.00 each (which will include a publication of the speakers’ essays published after the event).

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.

I’ve been trying out ‘Weebly‘ (fast and easy) as a means of getting the archive for the ‘Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders’ exhibition online (the Fast-uk site is badly needing a Web 2.0 update). Most of the content that has been posted on this blog previously has been collected there and I’ve posted some new stuff, too.

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