Category Archives: visualization

Resonate 2015 Day 2

Notes from Resonate 2015 Day 2  in Belgrade, Serbia.

Nicolas Nova

Near Future Laboratory

  • Not as interested in “classic” design – post-its etc.
  • Thinking about the future through films and props.
    • 2001: A Space Odyssey. Picture Phone
    • Minority Report. Gestural stuff, but also mundanity of cereal box with annoying “live” characters on them. Stephen Spielberg.
    • They Live. John Carpenter.

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  • Films acting as cultural baggage for technology, helping its diffusion in society.
  • Film as a critique of society.
  • Film fans who create artefacts.
  • Speculative Design approaches.
    • Audio Tooth. Auger-Loizeau.
      • Cover of Time. Seen as “real”. Encourages dialog and debate.
  • Design Fiction – speculating about the future through prototypes and artefacts.
  • Scenario planning through the mundane – leaflets, catalogues, newspapers.
  • Interested in the symptom of “the thing” (self-driving cars, robots etc), thinking about the unexpected consequences.
  • Thinking about Topic, Practices, Technology or Idiom (architype), which play off one another.
  • Frederik Pohl - “A good science fiction story should predict the traffic jam, not the automobile”.
  • “Downstream user research”. E.g. future newspaper about sport released with Manchester Evening News.

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Corner Convenience

  • Studying the convenience store.
  • Looking at things that are mundane, but were amazing when they were produced – batteries, condoms, aspirin.
  • Workshop imagining convenience objects colliding with new technologies – Replicate while you wait device. Scratch cards for winning a million followers on Facebook. Continue reading Resonate 2015 Day 2

Resonate 2015 Day 1

Notes from Resonate 2015 Day 1 (sort of – lots of stuff had already happened but this is the official opening) in Belgrade, Serbia.

Opening presentations in the Kolarac main hall by Adam Magyar, Nicolas Nova and Jesper Kouthoofd.

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Adam Magyar

Homepage

  • Interested in extending photography beyond the cropped frame, extending the image into time.

Urban Flow

  • Earlier work putting a flatbed scanner behind a lens (2006).
  • Wipes out the background and just retains the motion/people as little points in time.
  • Some lovely detail in close up like the movement of leaves in a tree that just looks like a horizontal blur.
  • Everything looks like it’s going in the same direction because even objects heading in the wrong direction are flipped.

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Stainless

  • Built a rig to scan a New York subway train at high speed as it passes (2009). Also Tokyo and Paris Metro.
  • You get “portraits” of people as they prepare to disembark.

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Stainless (video)

  • High speed video from the train as it arrives in the station, slowed down by a factor of 60, so one second becomes one minute to see faces and parallax.

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Nicolas Nova

Nicolas Nova, HEAD Geneve, @nicholasnova

Continue reading Resonate 2015 Day 1

Stefanie Posavec @ Eyeo

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I’m in Minneapolis at the annual Eyeo Festival. Like Resonate, it is focussed on data visualization in all of its forms, on the intersection between “art, interaction and information”.

See also: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

 

Analog Algorithms with Stefanie Posavec

Today is workshop day, and I’ve been lucky enough to sit in a half day session with Stefanie Posavec, who ran a class called “Analog Algorithms”, focussed on developing ideas for data visualizations on paper. Stefanie has history with Microsoft Research Cambridge, having worked a number of years ago on a visualization of changes made by Charles Darwin to the Origin of Species. This is work she did with Greg McInerny, which ended up on display at MOMA in New York, as part of the excellent Talk To Me exhibition.

Today’s workshop took place on the 9th floor of the Walker Art Centre. We sat four to a table, with large sheets of paper in front of us, and many pens and pencils also arrayed. Definitely set up for something hands on.

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Stefanie started by going over her background and portfolio. She articulated the purpose of data visualizations as giving “meaning and connection”, “subtle insight” and “truth and honesty”, and argued that by drawing on paper you exploited a “tacit knowledge” and a physicality in representation that you don’t get by jumping straight to data and code.

Continue reading Stefanie Posavec @ Eyeo

Resonate 2014

I’m just travelling home from Belgrade in Serbia, where I’ve spent the last few days at Resonate. Resonate is a conference, or more like a festival, primarily attended by people doing visualization work. It’s full of great talks from a community that is very tightly networked, brought together by the equally highly networked Filip Visnjik, who also founded the website Creative Applications. Many of the talks at the event act almost like portfolio presentations that give an overview of some compelling computer graphics or interactive installations created through the development of complex systems of code and electronics. Many of the biographies of speakers at the event start with a similar sentence: “[Person A] is a programmer and artist working at the intersection of [X] and [Y]”. This emphasis on “art” as a discipline is an interesting one, since it releases many of the attendees from the obligation that we often have in our lab of having to justify their work on pragmatic grounds. Presenters can instead focus on aesthetics and abstraction. Many of the presentations cover visualization and interaction work done with other artistic disciplines such as dance or music.

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http://www.kimchiandchips.com/ bravely set up one of their “Digital Emulsion” installations in the public lobby. Projection mapping onto string.

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Wesley Grubbs shows work for the McKnight Foundation. A data visualization made from the resume of an artist from the foundation was then hand annotated by that artist.

Below are highlights from the event, plus a little bit about my own 30 minute presentation.

Continue reading Resonate 2014

jenny bv lee: immateriality – the future human

Great to see some publicity on DesignBoom for Jenny Lee’s project “Immateriality – The Future Human”. This was a standout from this year’s Textile Futures degree show at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. This is the course we worked on a couple of year’s ago for Microsoft’s Design Expo.

Jenny imagines digital skin as a virtual overlay, providing a strange, biological anonymity, a morphing mask. In addition to some great research work she had a live demo at the show that used augmented reality to overlay visitors faces with strange, biological growths (see bottom picture).

http://www.jennylee.org.uk
jenny bv lee: immateriality – the future human

"I designed a collection of virtual digital skins that was inspired by morphogenesis and mineral crystalisation processes. a series of radical non-human like aesthetics were fashioned, to engage the public to consider if we have the tools to-redesign ourselves, would we still look, feel and be human? I also worked in collaboration with a company called holition who deal with a range of 3d technologies in particular augmented reality. augmented reality technology blurs the boundaries between the real and the virtual worlds; it superimposes graphics, audio and other sense enhancements over a live view of the world. holition and I designed and developed new ways to utilise and implement the AR to enable a more tactile and tangible response to technology, bridging the gap between the immaterial and material worlds. we translated the digital skins into the technology, and developed face-tracking ar to create a virtual experience that would enable the public to interact and visualise the future technological impact on society and the self."

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Interaction 11, Boulder, CO. Day 1.

Thought I’d do a quick summary of my favourite two talks from yesterday, which, predictably, were the keynotes by Bill Verplank and Lisa Strausfeld.

Bill is one of the original interaction design guys, like Bill Moggridge and Gillian Crampton Smith, who did a lot of foundational work, particularly in eduction, in establishing the discipline. He worked at Xerox, at IDEO and at Paul Allen’s Interval Research group.

The thing I most enjoyed about this talk was how much it was basically just a chat, an unstructured discourse about the history of interaction design, the importance of artefacts and craft. It stumbled a little towards the end (he never really covered everything he hoped – I wish he’d got into schools a little) but that casualness was compelling.

Rather than use slides Bill sat at an overhead camera, sketching with a conte crayon, creating little charts, arrows, triangular figures.

Bill’s sketchbook
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Part of a live sketch of Enactive vs. Iconic vs. Symbolic interfaces.
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A few things stuck with me in terms of actual content. The emphasis on building and discovering – working with materials. I loved his phrase “designers put things between people and the world”. He described every interaction as being either a map or a path. He talked about the evolution of interaction design in terms of cognitive “mentalities” (from Piaget) three of which are enactive (given kinaesthetics – “doing” – which we’re born with), iconic (representations – “seeing” – which we learn first) and symbolic (Ax=y – “knowing” – which we aspire to as a tool for thinking). This last he equated with command line interfaces. He tied graphical user interfaces with iconic representations. Lastly, he lamented that we’re missing an opportunity to build truly kinaesthetic experiences.

Lisa Strausfeld spoke in the afternoon. She’s now a partner at Pentagram, but I think of her as one of many talented graduates of Muriel Cooper’s Visible Languages Workshop at MIT. I don’t have any shots of this talk because, after a battle of wills with the facilities people, most of it was in semi darkness to show her work in best effect. She showed a combination of examples of her amazing portfolio, tied to examples of driving philosophies.

Briefly, these were:

  • Design one solution.
  • LATCH – 5 ways of organizing information – Location, Alphabetical, Time, Category and Hierarchy (Lisa added “Network” as a 6th). From Richard Saul Wurman.
  • Find, don’t invent (in the context of solutions she talked about how ideas emerged from finding meaning in data).
  • Engagement, Context, Reference (“ECR” from Curtis Wong). A way of thinking about drawing in people with content.
  • Immersion – people should be IN your designs.
  • Information is the interface.
  • The interface can make the information more engaging.
  • Design a continuous experience.
  • Do one thing perfectly. Repeat.
  • Be the audience.

Here work has an amazing amount of integrity and continuity to it. You can see the lineage all the way from her work at MIT in 1994 (see Information Landscapes) to the recent Pentagram website redesign.

Technology Heirloom videos

I’ve posted a couple of videos of the Digital Slide Viewer and the Backup Box prototypes that are described in my earlier entry entitled Some Technology Heirlooms. I hope to make one for Timecard as soon as we get them back from out “volunteers”.

[UPDATE 9th Dec. 2010 – Just added the Timecard video]

Digital Slide Viewer from Richard Banks on Vimeo.

The Backup Box from Richard Banks on Vimeo.

Timecard from Richard Banks on Vimeo.

Design Expo 2010 Videos

Videos have just been posted for the six student presentations from this year’s Microsoft Design Expo. This is an international competition we’ve run for a decade, inviting various design colleges to do projects to a brief that we set. They pick their best student team and send them to Redmond to present their work at the Faculty Summit.

This is the third year that I’ve been a coordinator for a school in the UK. The first two were with Dundee University, and because we try and mix up the schools regularly, this year I picked Central Saint Martins to participate. Slightly radically, we’ve been working with the Textile Futures course. This is an amazing department, combining technology with the craft of surfaces. Their work was really challenging and conceptual, and quite unlike anything that Microsoft employees tend to get exposed to. Well done to Natsai Chieza and Amy Congdon (from the team Social Pica) for inspiring the audience, and presenting so well. And well done to all the students on the course for some beautifully compelling work.

Here are the shots from our two crits (in March and May). They’re very random and anonymous, as was my photography, but compelling.

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