design, interface, urban space

pixelsumo blog by Chris O´Shea

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By working on a mediafacades project in the last days I tumbled over the pixelsumo blog by Chris o´Shea. He seems to has a similiar approach to our work on the blog and presents interesting and “worth talking about” projects in the field of interaction design, interface research and media art. His latest entry fits very well to our report of Chris Cerritos drawing bots. While a workshop at this years transmediale representatives of the Liverpool based FACT organisation showed us this amazing urban media screen installation.

It´s so wonderful how he involves and attracts the people in the streets. By quite simple means, he builts up an environment so strange and fascinating, that the people rest stunned in front of the screen. The awareness, that these huge mediascreens are more than just oversized advertisingtools, is transmitted by a playful and honourable way. Chris is linked to rAndom international one of the most inspiring and innovative british design studios. rAndom international has made the audience installation for the royal opera house in London.

You see, there is an obvious tendence to leave fixed pixel grid and move towards more playful and spatial designs. One before all advantages of these interfaces is the relation to the location. It seems to live in it´s own habitat and by reflecting the surrounding light building structure and of course the people. This makes it so unique and should be an aim to every interface design posted in public space. We will post a report from the TEI conference´s demo session with a wonderful spatial interface aswell. So… Chris o´Shea is all around.

Another project I really dig and think everyone should know is the cloud by TROIKA, tho other stunning british design studio. An impressive mediascreen, but not with a plan grid of illuminated pixels, but with a poly-warped morphed object with attached little motorized facettes that can turn in two states by a mechanical rotation. I saw it once live in the Design museum in London, where it was honoured as one of the best british designs in 2008. For everyone who knows the facettes at Hackescher Markt in Berlin, the phenomenon should be clear. For the others, a video:

But this wouldn´t be this blog, if there isn´t still something more wonderful to come. Chris, together with Joel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Müller founded a series of talks to interaction design. Ok this happenes in Berlin as well, such as the continious lectures at the T-Labs or the upgrade sessions. They called it “This happened” and have documented every talk (over 50!!) with also nearly all the slides of the presentation. They know how to do it. Check out the talks here. Referring to the last article on fashioning technologies, here´s one of these talks of Moritz Waldemeyer who was working with Hussein Chalayan on his kinetic dresses. Enjoy!!

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Bio circuit by Holly Schmidt and Dana Ramler

Another wearable project combining sound and textile computing comes by Holly Schmidt and Dana Ramler from the Emily Carr University in Vancouver. The project is about capturing the mood of the wearer and displaying it with ambient sounds. The Interface is a vest to be worn over your all day cloth and integrates a polar rate heartbeat monitor designed by Danjuliodesigns with elements avaiable via sparkfun. By detecting the rate an somehow according sound will be played by a little speaker sewn in the collar right next to the ear. Depending on your mood, the sound varies. The more active you are, the sound increases in intensity as well. Though this sounds logically on first sight, a lot of questions occur. Why do the sound has to react in the same way i feel. Can´t it be more like a remedy, so if i feel down it pushes me up? How does the interface has to look like for these decision processes when the only material is fabric cloth. Some of these questions get answered in the interview video we shot during the demo session.

On this point I have to link to some projects of Hussein Chalayan. Chalayan is working on the edge of fashion and technology since a long time and had an impressing exhibition at the London Design Museum while last years TEI conference. His work is pushing the boarders of wearables while in the same time being into fashion through and through. This is the way it should be: trying to be cutting edge when it comes to technology and maximum fashion on the other hand. The projects I seen on wearables beside his work put the technological aspects too much in the foreground. They should support the fashion, but not be it´s reason.

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design, report, research, TEI°10

Sneaking in the Studios / Watching the Web

Before we will put up our own interview material from the studio workshops, we will show you the video by the ingenious Jay Silver. Jay is a wonderful person, giving the fun and joy on doing things so much priority, by simultaneously being serious with what he does. However, he is the man behind twinkle, one of the best project I´ve seen through out TEI°10 and created the Drawdio. While TEI°10 he was organising the studio section ´longside with Amon Millner.

As a lot of you allready know there is the twitter feed right to this article. It´s the official TEI°10 Twitter activity, but as you know as well, there is something drooling under the world wide bed. So check the twittering by using the #teiconf hashtag. I´d like to embed this stream here too, but somehow this does not work out well, so you have to take the long way.

There also have been other blogging activities next to ours. Check Jon Kolko´s very nice and detailed article at the Frog Design blog. Another blog reporting from the conference comes from Allison Abel. Check it out at groovemechanic.com.

design, research, TEI°10, wearables

Conducting Fabrics by Sarah Kettley

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Sarah Kettley presented woolen garments that are conductive and by that can be used as sensors. I am very interested in the now upcoming approaches of mixing up technology and fashion. There allready had been several trys to bring circuits into a flexible or maybe less rigid shape. For example the e-motion project of the University of the Arts Berlin, which was a collaboration between the department of fashion design and the Fraunhofer Institute for micro integration. In the project the students explored the possibilities of textile computing using bendable sensors and circuits, new innovative textiles or print colours and of course flashy LEDs. It was quite a success, so it was exhibited through out the fashion week in Berlin and the Ars Electronica in Linz. Here is the video showing the results of the four month project.

Back to the work of Sarah Kettley. She linked the garments to a cellist and micro controller. The cellist is playing a harmony or musical piece with his electronic instrument as he is used to. The conductive garments are woven into a flexible hose worn around the elbow. By stretching the arm while playing the cellist has the opportunity to either delay or distort the sound he is playing (of course the instrument must be linked with the computer as well). The wished effect has to be set before. As much the fabric gets stretched the voltage running through the fibres changes. This change can be read and transferred into a digital command. Though I like this project very much I think it´s just a first step in a right direction. The combination of sound and movement is tricky and easy at the same time. People find it interesting because they do not understand the link between actuator and result. Sound allows a much more blurr than for example kinetic output that is more direct and undoubtable. But hey: it´s just an exploration! Now let Sarah do the talking:

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Art + science panel

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Right now the panel discussion is over and everyone is waiting for the closing keynote by Vik Muniz. The panel, consisting of John Frazer, Natalie Kuldell, Tavares Strachan and  Vik Muniz was interesting in case of the ways of thinking that unites and devides artists and scientists. How do artists think, act and see the world? And how it is with the scientist? Collaborations come up between the two. How do problems occur? How do they get solved? Is there a “common” sense of true, false, beautiful? How do beasty B and beasty A get together?

These and other questions are discussed in the panel. For everyone who wants to have the TEI°10 flavour for “to go” or maybe been too dizzy after three days of amazing conference action, can download the audio take of the discussion and re-listen it while travelling home.

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