Archive for the ‘interactive’ Category

Playing Apart

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

It may be snowing today in Denver, but this weekend there are promises of 70 degrees and marching bands.  Artists Jon Rubin, (of the amazing Waffle Shop) and Lee Walton are teaming up with students from the local Bear Creek Marching Band to present Playing Apart.  During two 30 minute performances, members of the 90 piece band will wander downtown Denver, walking independently, but playing a united song.  At points, they may meet up, or just pass each other by.  I will head down to see if I can get some footage to share.

Bookmark 1: Museum of Lost Interactions

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

I bookmarked the Museum of Lost Interactions (MoLI) website three years ago when the exhibition was about Forgotten Chairs.  Led by professor Graham Pullin, design students at the University of Dundee examine the history of interaction design before our digital age.  In a Museum of Jurassic Technology-esque way, the students then research and exhibit their findings.  Recent exhibitions have included Curious Timepieces and Hats from the Attic. The artifacts presented are a blend of historical fiction, social inquiry and design innovation.  For each display, the students create supporting material for the exhibit; including photos, documentaries and re-creations of the forgotten devices.

I love MoLI because of its specificity – it was designed as an assignment for a University course, but has grown into something much richer.  I am also interested because of the incorporation of design fiction.  Exhibits are about connecting people with information and each other – the methods used to do this are completely open, whether it be from history books, the imagination or an intriguing blend of both.

Makerbot Residency

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I recently saw a headline about an upcoming project with the amazing 3-D printing machines called Makerbots.  I got really excited about the story, then realized I completely misunderstood it after reading the actual article.  The real story is that Makerbot is hosting an artist-in-residence to use the machines and make useful/beautiful/awesome things.  That’s cool.

I had thought the Makerbot was the artist-in-residence and I was already imagining all the incredible opportunities for people (as in everybody) to learn about 3-D printing and design.   After all, it may not be too long into the future before every home has a Makerbot to fulfill its household design needs.  Why can’t a tool have a residency and let visitors become the artists/designers and activators?  I would love for a museum, school, gallery or any public space to host Makerbot for a residency and let people interact and create with it.   OK, there’s the idea, what institution wants to collaborate to host it?

Santa Fe Bus Operas

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Here’s a project to watch: Santa Fe artist collective Littleglobe is preparing a mobile opera called Crosstown #5, which will be performed along city bus routes.  These interactive multimedia operas will, “…employ live vocalists and musicians, recorded instrumental audio played over the radio, text/poetry (delivered as casual conversation pieces with audience riders), video (transfer station interactions), and movement.”  The focus will be on stories and issues that are part of the Santa Fe community.  The image above (right) is from a recent dress rehearsal; Littleglobe plans to start the live performances later this year.

(Image top right from the Santa Fe New Mexican)

Tales of Things

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

This seems like a good post to start the new year because it is filled with possibility. Last year, an Oxfam charity shop in Manchester, England did an interesting experiment with RFID tags and QR codes. They allowed people donating goods to record the stories (or histories) of their items. These recordings were then made available in the store through a hacked iphone that read the item-associated RFID tags, but they were also accessible to any device that could read QR codes (those barcode looking squares available in many smartphone apps).

The project was part of a larger effort by several UK universities to create a site, called Tales of Things, for sharing personal and social histories.  While there are several obvious ways these kinds of tags can be used in museum-type settings, it is interesting to ponder other uses as well.  Imagine buying a product that has been tagged in every step of the production and transportation process.  Relatives passing down stories of family heirlooms.  Or, as this article in the NY Times pointed out, your tagged tennis racquet updating your location on Foursquare.  The future is scary and awesome.

Golden Hook

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

It seems like more and more people want to know the story behind the products they buy, not only for environmental concerns but also to feel personally connected in a sometimes anonymous virtual world.   After reading books like The Mesh and Collaborative Consumption, these kinds of business ideas make so much sense to me.

The Golden Hook is an example of a business capitalizing on this craving for personal interaction.  Customers choose from a variety of hat designs, which they can customize by color and yarn type.  Then they go on to select the grandmother they want to knit their design.  Golden Hook has an arsenal of grannies that are expert knitters and are also looking to earn some extra income.  It’s a mutually beneficial relationship; the kind that I think so many businesses are trending towards.  I also like to ponder how these types of projects can be applied to our cultural institutions.  I’m having visions of stories about museum acquisitions and personalized curatorial stories…slightly different than dancing sugar plums.

Save Our Sounds

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

The BBC has a website called Save Our Sounds, where users can upload a sound clip from anywhere around the world.  I just uploaded a sound (you can listen below) from my recent visit to Venice, Italy.  While staying in the monastery at the Madonna dell’Orto (a 14th century church), I recorded a short clip of the choir practicing.  The BBC’s aim is to save the world’s endangered sounds for future generations.  I just love this project, the website was really easy to use and anyone can listen to sounds from around the world.  The British Library has launched a similar version just for the UK.

Madonna dell’Orto Choir Practice

The Johnny Cash Project

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

I just came across this project while preparing for an upcoming presentation for Denver museums.  Director Chris Milk decided to create a special tribute to Johnny Cash when making a video for the song “There Ain’t No Grave.”  Milk launched a website that allows users to select a frame from the video and create a drawing of the scene.  The user submitted images are linked together to create a complete film.  As of October, the website collected over 250,000 submissions (it launched in March) and it is still collecting contributions.  Just watch the video above, so beautiful.

Karolina Sobecka: Digital Tiger

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

As part of the recent exhibition Decode, the V&A in London commissioned artist Karolina Sobecka to create a roaming projection.  Her digital tiger ran through the streets surrounding the museum for a period of three nights.  A sensor attached to the car allowed the projection to keep pace with the vehicle; as it moved, the tiger ran faster and when the car stopped, the tiger also rested. What I like most about this project is that there are no tag lines, logos or ads attached. While it was clearly related to the show at the museum, onlookers may or may not have ever made that connection. The artist and the museum took a piece of the exhibition to the outside world, perhaps peaking the interests of some while just providing enjoyment for others.

The 11th Tapestry

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

During the London Design Festival I was running all over town covering the events for both Designklub and MoCo Loco.  My very last stop, on my very last day in London, was to the V&A (which was fitting given it’s my favorite museum there).

Tucked away in one of the furthest corners of the building was the 11th Tapestry, an interactive projection created by KikiT VisuoSonic.  Set alongside the V&A’s 15th century Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, the digital tapestry was designed to change, based on movements and sounds in the gallery.  The effects were truly stunning.  In a room where many visitors give the artifacts a brief glance, this installation stopped people in their tracks.  While I was there visitors were completely engaged; clapping, chatting, anything to try and activate the tapestry’s response.

The project itself was so impressive that it made me wonder why the museum didn’t capitalize on this captive audience.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to share more information about the historic tapestries that surrounded us and link the changes in the digital version to the centuries old originals.   While the 11th Tapestry made me examine the artifacts a little more closely, some context would have made this installation educational as well as beautiful.