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EYEO Festival Day 3

Better late than never, here’s my write-up from my last day at Eyeo. It feels little more patchy than the other days, but perhaps that’s because of the juggling around that happened towards the end of the day because of some changes in speaker line up.

See also: Workshop | Day 1 | Day 2


Lauren McCarthy – You, Me and My Computer

Lauren McCarthy

I’m not really aware of Lauren’s work, although she’s clearly a fixture in the Eyeo circuit. She came across as delightfully self-effacing, which makes sense, since much of her work focuses on what she sees as her own social awkwardness. She’s produced a wide body of research and design probes and prototypes which are consistently engaging, and are often pushing her to examine her own capacity for engaging with others.

The Happiness Hat, for example, jabs her in the back of the head with a sharp pointy thing if she isn’t smiling:

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Eyeo Festival Day 2

Day two of the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis. To recap, this is an event that focuses on the intersection between art, technology and design, with a strong emphasis on data.

See also: Workshop | Day 1 | Day 3

Kim Rees – The Data Future

Kim Rees

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Kim works for Periscopic, a data visualization agency whose work I really admire (see, particularly, their gun murders work). I had high hopes for this talk but, to be honest, I came away quite disappointed. Kim set aside her work, and kept her presentation very simple – just a few slides with a few words – which is quite refreshing in this visuals-intensive event.

Instead she decided to focus on the future of data and the internet of things, particularly. Again, this can be great, but she unfortunately failed to really carry me along with a carefully crafted argument for how things that have not yet come will be. Instead, what followed was a bit of a diatribe, filled with a lot of buzz words and worry around nano-tech, around sensors thrown in the air, around userless interfaces and so on. It didn’t paint a big picture (again, for me) and instead came across as a bit naive, which I think is doing both her and her company a disservice.


Paola Antonelli – The Art of Our Time

Paola Antonelli

I’ve seen Paola talk in the past, and through her relationship with the RCA, and the great exhibitions she curates at the MOMA, she feels like a familiar presence, on the edge of my network, while never being tiring to listen to . She speaks without breathing, like a contestant in Just a Minute, while remaining easy to understand, peppering her talks with subtle little jokes and digs.

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Eyeo Festival Day 1

Here are my very rushed notes from some of the talks on day 1 of the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis, where “artists, designers and coders build and bend technology and give us a glimpse into what’s possible, into what’s next. Ones and zeros float all around us just waiting to deliver the next new interaction. The Eyeo Festival brings together the most intriguing and exciting people in these arenas today.”

I’m enjoying learning to navigate the elevated system of tunnels (the Skyway) in the city, which seem to get as much use in the summer as they do in what I understand are some cold winter months. The Walker Arts centre is a great venue, and I keep on finding new corners that the festival has spread into. I feel a little sorry for the regular museum visitors, surrounded by designers and coders, when all they want is some quite time with Edward Hopper.

See also: Workshop | Day 2 | Day 3


Mike Bostock – Visualizing Algorithms

Mike Bostock

Mike Bostock is a visualization luminary working at the New York Times and author of D3.js, a Javascript library that a lot of people use for putting together complex, performant visualizations. His talk focused on the use of data visualizations as a way of better understanding and testing the inner workings of an algorithm.

He used a set of classic algorithms for sampling,  sorting, shuffling and maze creation as a way of showing the value and pitfalls of the use of visualizations, how they can both better express what’s going on in the machine while also potentially misleading if not carefully crafted. A geeky talk that somehow felt like it had broader meaning when it comes to understanding the value of showing data visually.

His argument here was that visualizing the inner working of algorithms was useful for a number of reasons including teaching code, debugging and simply entertaining.

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Encroaching Water

We’ve spent the last few days dealing with the slow approach of a swelling Thames river. Now we’re in a hotel, having evacuated ourselves this morning. I suspect by now that water will have reached our hallway, our kitchen, our living room and the rest of our ground floor. I’m glad we’re safe, warm and together, though.

Encroaching Water by rbanks.

Favorite Photos of 2012

Oxford Street FlagSnow Creations #3Snow Creations #4Street Rabbits #2Balloon Musketeers #25 Views of the Barbican #3
Schlumberger Cambridge Research Center #2Steps of St. Peter's Basilica #2Vatican Head #4Brick Lane Food #3SXSW Columns #3Moving Headlight
Violin MonsterShannon, Maddie and the castleA passengerSpaceship Earth #2Umbrella FlightHanging Kids #4
Easter Egg Hunt #1King Creosote & Jon Hopkins in RedGrand Canal Theatre, Dublin #14New Home for CSM #2Bloomberg Cockpit #3Group + 1

Favorites of 2012, a set on Flickr.

Here’s my ninth (gulp) annual set of favourite photos that I’ve taken this year with my Lumix GF1. I still love the camera, and picked up a new lens which zooms (a little) and goes pretty wide. I’ve primarily taken these shots with the fixed 20mm lens, which I still love. It lets in lots of light.

For some reason, I thought I’d had a slow year for photography, but looking back it doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve taken 7,400+, which is a couple of thousand above what I usually take. It’s been a busy year, though, with visits to Rome and Disney World, and with the Jubilee and Olympics at home. With those and our recent close call with flooding, there’s been plenty of subjects to shoot.