Talking at the PSFK Good Ideas Salon on the 30th


I’ll be doing a 30 minute talk at the PSFK Good Ideas Salon in London on the 30th of London. It will be an overview of some of the work and ideas we’ve generated as part of our Technology Heirlooms project, looking at what it means to design digital artifacts with longer time spans in mind, and taking heredity of objects into account.

This is a follow on of the talk that Dave Kirk did at the Mundane Workshop a few weeks ago, presenting the ideas outlined in our paper, On the Design of Technology Heirlooms. I’ll be focusing a bit more on the design side of the project than Dave did (since he’s a sociologist and I’m a designer).

Full schedule is here, and I think it’s £300 to go for the day. My bio on the site, with a short Q&A is here. With a theme of Good Ideas, how could it not be good? There’s a great set of talks and panels that cover the gamut of new media/mobile/product/lifestyle/trends issues and ideas. Should be a blast, especially with participants from the BBC, Poke, Penguin and the Guardian.

Lebbeus Woods’ fantasy world

Lebbeus Woods has started a series of fantasy entries on his blog, tied to his beautiful sketches. The first is about a city built into rocky crags, the City of Earth. His prose style reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft, for some reason, creating a slight atmosphere of foreboding, that I’m not sure was intended. Maybe this is because I imagine the city he’s describing as vacant, abandoned for some reason (the sketches seem to support this). Anyone who’s played Bioshock knows this feeling.

“The particularly mountainous region I first encountered was certainly inhospitable to building. Jagged, rocky ridges were separated by steep chasms rather than welcoming valleys. Yet many large structures had been built. Clinging to the cliff faces, or cut into them, or set into almost inaccessible promontories, the structures were built largely of concrete with much the same color as the rocks. Adorning them were more delicate armatures of iron that were rusty, in much the same manner as industrial buildings I knew well from my own country. From these aspects I reasoned that this was a mining community, one in which the people were primarily engaged in cutting and digging into the earth to extract its hidden mineral riches. As I was to learn, this reasoning was only partially correct.”

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City of Earth is followed by City of Fire.

“Here, in strata upon strata of volcanic rock, were spaces inhabited by a community of people engaged in some sort of industry. There were dwelling spaces, hollowed out from the dark earth masses. There were machines that captured an eerie form of light different from that far above. There were vast caverns in which I saw entangled, monumental forms that were like fragments of the lucid geometric volumes I had seen in the city above, but here broken into disparate parts and linked together by tendril-like passageways and conduits, creating a vast, indeterminate network, rather than a geometrically coherent form. All of this was revealed by an inner-earth glow, amid a constant, throbbing heat. It soon became clear that the harnessing of heat energy, as a source of motive power, I imagined, was the industry of this underground community.”

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Nowhere Girl

Odd the things you find now that humanity is dumping its combined knowledge of useless ephemera online. It’s as good a place as any for it, I guess.

Exhibit A,  the video for the song “Nowhere Girl” by flash-in-the-pan band, B-Movie. My roommate Nick Mellor and I obsessed over this one in our study at school when we were about 15. A study which we had unadvisedly painted black and red, BTW.

I didn’t even know this song HAD a video (not that ripping off Metropolis counts as creative).

Importantly, this is the 12″ version not the 7″. Something about the 12″ version was way more compelling. Maybe the sound of the girl/gull (we were never sure which) screaming at the beginning of the track?