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robertogreco : aaronstraupcope   39

Mapping with Bias · Mapzen
"Places change. The physical boundaries of the USA changed 141 times between the years 1789 and 1959. The entire notion of what Yugoslavia meant changed three times in the 20th century before finally atomizing in to seven countries, by 2008.

Ultimately there is a much larger question about how an individual, or worse a community, decides whether an event constitutes a simple update versus a fundamental change. This is the realm of hard philosophical questions and those are things we are not going to try to answer.

We can provide breadcrumbs, though. Every record in Who’s On First has both a superseded_by and supersedes property that are used to signal that a change has occurred but not necessarily why. That part is left up to you.

These properties act as a kind of linked-list for places indicating, for example, that the Kingdom of Yugloslavia was superseded by the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, and so on.

This decision means two things:

1. That there might be multiple entries for the “same” place in Who’s On First and consumers of the data need to account for this fact.

2. That if you have been using the the first iteration of a place in Who’s On First its meaning and semantics won’t suddenly change when there is a legimate reason to create a second iteration.

We do this as a way to foster confidence in the robustness and durability of Who’s On First identifiers. The past is complicated territory and though it is not the focus of our daily work we want to try and make sure that it is always welcome.

It’s probably obviously by now but it bears repeating: The world is full of complex and contradictory opinions. We do not want to try and settle those debates. We can not settle those debates.

For almost as long as we’ve had the notion of place itself people have had the benefit of complete sentences and entire paragraphs and even book-length arguments to make sense of the nature and meaning and value of place.

And still we don’t agree so I don’t know why anyone can imagine that a bag of key/value pairs will do better at answering any of these questions.

Obviously there are a few instances where Who’s On First needs to assert some degree of editorial opinion about but as a rule we try to do this as infrequently and as transparently as possible.

When there is genuine debate about something we leave it to the consumers of the data to interpret. We want to signal that there is debate about something rather than try to gloss over the awkward bits.

I mentioned at the beginning that Who’s On First was designed to “outlast people’s reluctance”.

What this means is that Who’s On First is not optimized for any one application including Mapzen, which makes for some awkward conversations around the office from time to time.

What this means, in concrete terms, is that at its core Who’s On First is a gigantic bag of plain-text files. The failure scenario for updating a Who’s On First record should always be the ability to edit it using nothing more than a text editor. You shouldn’t have to do that but when everything else breaks you still can do that.

The point is not that Who’s On First doesn’t play with databases but that it should be able to play nicely with all the databases. The point is that the demands Who’s On First places on its users should be as universal as possible across platforms and concerns.

Sometimes this makes getting things set up a little harder than we’d like but it’s 2016 and we’ve all gotten pretty good at processing text files at scale and feeding them in to databases.

Despite all the advances we’ve made over the years it turns out that the simplest, most universal and accessible thing is still plain-old, plain-vanilla, plain-text files on disk.

They have the added benefit of being (still) the most reliable way to archive things as the technological landscape shifts, year over year. We can print them out, if necessary.

This focus – of demanding a high degree of portability and durability in our work - is very much influenced by the early systems designs for the Unix, and Multics before it, operating system and more recently the Unicode project.

These are subjects that could occupy many, many more nights of presentations all on their own and it remains to be seen whether we can accomplish our work as well as they did theirs.

But that is the work."
aaronstraupcope  2016  mapzen  maps  mapping  bias  gazetteers  geocoding  time  data  history  debate 
september 2016 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] occupational safety and health administration for machine learning
"Trying to find your bearings, trying to make sense out of all these crosscurrents is dizzying and I don't have a pat answer for any of it. I would like to finish, though, by arguing that these ambiguities are what constitute the present for the internet of things.

The lack of clarity around, and in some cases the hijacking of, the reasonable expectations of action and reaction in an internet of things is what is and what will shape and redefine the relationship between the past and near-futures of the internet of things you have imagined for so long.

This is the work."
aaronstraupcope  internetofthings  nfc  hardware  cooper-hewitt  museums  2016  bespokiness  iot 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Strategies against architecture: interactive media and transformative technology at Cooper Hewitt | MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015
"Cooper Hewitt reopened at the end of 2014 with a transformed museum in a renovated heritage building, Andrew Carnegie's home on the Upper East Side of New York City. New galleries, a collection that was being rapidly digitized, a new brand, and a desire for new audiences drove the museum to rethink and reposition its role as a design museum. At the core of the new museum is a digital platform, built in-house, that connects collection and patron management systems to in-gallery and online experiences. These have allowed the museum to redesign everything from object labels and showcases to the fundamentals of a 'visit experience'. This paper explores in detail the process, the decisions made – and resulting tradeoffs - during each stage of the process. In so doing it reveals the challenges of collaborating with internal and external capacities; operating internationally with online collaboration tools; rapid prototyping; and the distinct differences between software and hardware design and production."



"In early 2012 at the National Art Education Association conference at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a group of junior school children working with Queens Museum of Art got up on stage and presented their view of ‘what technology in a museum should be like’. The kids imagined and designed the sorts of technologies that they felt would make their visit to a museum better. None of their proposed technologies were unfeasible and they imagined a very familiar sounding museum. The best invention proposed was a tracking device that each child would wear, allowing them to roam freely in a geo-fenced museum like home-detention prisoners with ankle-shackles, whilst their teachers sat comfortably in the museum cafe watching them move as dots on a tablet. The children argued that such a device would allow them to roam the museum and see the parts of it they actually wanted to see, and the teachers would get to fulfil their desires of just “hanging out in the cafe chatting”.

Often it feels like museums make decisions about the appropriate use of technology based upon short term internal needs – the need to have something ‘newsworthy’, the need to have something to keep their funders happy, and occasionally to meet the assumed needs of a specific audience coming to a specific exhibition. Rarely is there an opportunity like the one at Cooper Hewitt, to consider the entire museum and purposely reconfigure its relationships with audiences, all in one go. Even rarer is the funding to make such a step change possible.

The D&EM team established a series of unwritten technology principles for the new galleries and experience that were reinforced throughout the concept design stages and then encoded into practice during development. At the heart of these was an commitment to ensure that whatever was designed for the galleries would give visitors a reason to physically visit – and that nothing would be artificially held back, content-wise, from the web. Technology, too, had to help and encourage the visitor against the architectural impositions of the building itself.

Complementing a strategic plan that envisioned the transformation of the museum into a ‘design resource’, and an increasing willingness to provide more open access to the collection, concepts for media and technology in the galleries was to –

1. Give visitors explicit permission to play
Play was seen as an important way of addressing threshold issues and architecture. Entering the Carnegie Mansion, the experience of crossing the threshold provided an opportunity to upend expectations – much like the lobby space of a hotel. Very early on in the design process, then-Director, Bill Moggridge enthused about the idea of concierges greeting visitors at the door, warmly welcoming them into the building and setting them at ease. Technological interventions – even symbolic ones – were expected to support this need to change every visitor’s perception of how they were ‘allowed to behave’ in the mansion.

2. Make interactive experiences social and multi-player and allow people to learn by watching

The Cooper Hewitt, even in its expanded form, is a physically small museum. It has 16,000 sq ft of gallery space which is configured as a series of domestic spaces except for the open plan third floor, which was converted from offices into gallery space as part of the renovation. If interactive experiences were to support a transformed audience profile with more families and social groups visiting together, the museum would need experiences that worked well with multiple users, and provided points of social interaction. Immediately this suggested an ‘app-free’ approach even though Cooper Hewitt had been an early adopter of an iPod Touch media guide (2010) and iPad App (2011) in previous special exhibitions.

3. Ensure a ‘look up’ experience

Again, because of the domestic spaces with narrow doorways, encouraging visitors to be constantly referring to their mobile devices was not desirable. There was a strong consensus amongst the staff and designers that the museum should provide a compelling enough experience for visitors to only need to use their mobile devices to take photos with.

4. Be ubiquitous, a ‘default’ operating mode for the institution

The biggest lesson from MONA was that for a technology experience to have the best chance of transforming how visitors interacted with the museum, and how staff considered it into the future, that technology had to be ubiquitous. An ‘optional guide’, an ‘optional app’, even a ‘suggested mobile website’ might meet the needs of some visitors but it was unlikely to achieve the large scale change we hoped for. Indeed, the experience of prior technologies at Cooper Hewitt had been considered disappointing by the museum with a 9% take up rate (Longo, 2011) for the iPad guide made for the (pre-closure) blockbuster exhibition Set In Style. Similarly, only having interactive experiences in ‘some galleries’ threatened to relegate certain experiences to ‘younger audiences’ – something that is common in science museums.

5. Work in conjunction with the web and offer a “persistence of visit”

We were also insistent from the start that whatever was designed, that it had to acknowledge the web, and that ‘post-visit’ diaries were to be considered. The museum was enamoured with MONA’s post-visit reports from The O, and similar initiatives that followed including MOMA’s Audio+ (2013) and others. This idea grew and the D&EM team began to build out a sizeable infrastructure over 2013, the desire to ensure that everything on exhibition in the museum would also be available online – without exception – became technically feasible. As the museum’s curatorial staff began to finalise object lists for the opening exhibitions, it became clear that beyond the technology layer, a new layer of policy changes would be required to realise this idea. New loan forms and new donor agreements were negotiated and by the time objects began to arrive for installation at the museum in 2014, all but a handful of lenders had agreed to have a metadata and image record of their object’s presence in the museum not only be online during the run of an exhibition, but permanently on the exhibition’s online catalogue."



"As a sector we have spent a couple of decades making excuses for why “digital” can’t be made core to staffing requirements and the results have ranged from unsatisfying to dismal.

The shift to a ‘post-digital’ museum where “digital [is] being naturalized within museums’ visions and articulations of themselves” (Parry, 2013) will require a significant realignment of priorities and an investment in people. The museum sector is not alone in this – private media organisations and tech companies face exactly the same challenge. Despite ‘digital people’ and ‘engineers’ being in high demand, they should not be considered an ‘overpriced indulgence’ but rather than as an integral part of the already multidisciplinary teams required to run a museum, or any other cultural institution.

The flow of digital talent from private companies to new types of public service organizations such as the Government Digital Service (UK), 18F (inside GSA) and US Digital Service, proves that there are ways, beyond salaries, to attract and retain the specialist staff required to build the types of products and services required to transform museums. In fact, we argue that museums (and other cultural institutions) offer significant intrinsic benefits and social capital that are natural talent attractors that other types of non-profits and public sector agencies lack. The barriers to changing the museum workforce in this way are not primarily financial but internal, structural and kept in place by a strong institutional inertia."
cooper-hewitt  aaronstraupcope  sebastianchan  2015  design  museums  experience  web  internet  ux  api  userexperience  hardware  change  organizationalchange  billmoggridge  mona  theo  davidwalsh  digital  gov.uk  privacy  identity  absence  tomcoates  collections  soa  servicesorientedarchitecture  steveyegge  persistence  longevity  display  nfc  rfid  architecture  applications  online  engagement  play  technology  post-digital  18f 
april 2015 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] did I mention it vibrates? ["history is time breaking up with itself"]
"Lately I've been playing with the idea that history itself is the space left over as any two moments in time tear away from each other. Or as they fade the way a mural in the sun gradually disappears; people both aware of its disappearance and shocked when it finally vanishes.

There are still stand-out events (the clues) and we recognize those in the objects and artifacts we celebrate. More specifically that we celebrate those objects in common. The scarcities of the past meant that the pool of common celebrations from which to choose was pretty limited and so now while it might seem like we're swimming in tailor-made niche rituals I don't actually think the fundamental dynamic has changed.

There is still what Scott McCloud dubbed the magic in the gutter. The "gutter" being the space between any two panels (or frames) in a comic strip. The gutter is the place where the author and the artist let the reader act as the narrative bridge between two events. This is an integral part of comics as a form and I think fundamental to their popularity.

I like to think of the gutter as the space where fan-fiction operates. As a way of creating alternative reasons to explain why any two events are related to one another."



"Monkey Jesus. Let me start by saying: I love Monkey Jesus.

Monkey Jesus is sometimes known as Ecce Homo, a church fresco painted by Elias Garcia Martinez in the 1930s in Northern Spain. Like many churches in Europe it was abandoned and stood waiting to be reclaimed by the elements. In August of 2012 Cecilia Giminez, a nearby resident, decided that she would attempt to restore the painting before it was completely lost.

That last fact is really important: This fresco was the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it. Had another year or another decade passed the painting would have been washed away by the rain or the sun and no one would have known the difference.

What happened instead is that someone posted a picture of Giminez's efforts to the internet and the whole world when completely nuts. This, we were told, was an offense against all culture. Proof that the laity shouldn't be trusted with the arts. That this 90-year woman had single-handedly destroyed everything sacred about the Rennaissance.

Then a funny thing happened: By the end of 2013 forty thousand people had visited the church to see the fresco and Giminez herself was pushing for financial compensation claiming artist's rights for her work.

Monkey Jesus has crossed the event horizon of signifiers and now, I'm willing to bet, we're going to actively preserve the so-called failed restoration over the original fresco precisely because of this history. Because now the work has narrative pedigree. If you think that sounds like crazy-talk consider the exact same painting but done in the hand of Alex Katz or re-created by Cindy Sherman. Look carefully at Monkey Jesus and tell me you can't see the shadow of either artist's work in that painting.

The issue is not whether a different artist would have done Monkey Jesus better but in how we reconstruct the narrative around an event; the reasons we choose to understand why an object is worthy of a narrative at all."



"We did this so that the idea of visitors using a NFC-enabled pen in the galleries stopped being an idea and became something tangible. The problem with conceptual designs is that at a certain point they stop being devices for imagining possibilities and instead become a bucket for everyone's hopes and fears and anxieties. That tipping point is unique to every project but we had reached ours and the most important thing became to root the problem in a practical reality that we could use to make decision about rather than around."



"It turns out the Pen is a pretty good problem-solving interview question. You start with two immutable facts of nature and a warning. Fact number one is that all capacitive styluses have a metal core or metal woven in to the sheathing. (Go back and look at the slide with the vWand cases — that's metallic paint on the tip.) That metal is required in order for the stylus to work. Fact number two is that metal is the enemy of radio frequencies (NFC). The stern warning is that if any point the person answering the question says I saw a thing... on 60 minutes... about a guy in Shenzhen... then the interview is over.

Otherwise you just sit back and listen.

If they get far enough to figure out a design then you ask them how they'd power the thing. You can't really see it in any of the slides I've shown you but there's a button on the back of the Pen. That's the button which activates the NFC antenna because if it were always powered on the Pen would spend all day shouting HELLO? IS ANYONE OUT THERE?? in to the void and quickly exhaust its battery supply."



"It turns out that the Pen is in fact the minimum amount of infrastructure that you need if the goal is to enable some kind of meaningful recall for a museum visit. The point is not to provide users with a Pen experience but to offer them a tool that is quiet and polite and allows them to, literally, touch the objects as a way to remember them. To provide them with something less-shit than taking photos of wall labels. To provide them with a way to come to the museum and have a heads up visit confident that there is a way back after they've left the building."



"We changed the loan agreements to state that the museum reserves the right to display the fact that an object spent time with us and to display the images of those objects on our website and in our galleries. Forever. If you're not a museum person you may be staring at your screen right now wondering what the fuck I am talking about. Like specifically why this is a big deal. That is the correct response.

Pretty much every other loan agreement ever drafted between two museums or a museum and a private individual states that lender retains all image rights to the object being lent. Which is fine, in principle. In practice though it's created an environment where even if a museum enjoys a limited period of use the uncertainty around the licensing of that imagery after the fact means that it's easier to throw up our hands and despair the situation than to look for a viable alternative.

The problem is this: We tell visitors that it is important enough for them to travel to our musuem to see something in person rather than simply looking for it on Google. We tell them it is worth their time and expense and then we pretend as though it never happened.

Which is insane. It's flat out insane. Not to mention wrong. Also stupid.

So we've stopped doing it. We're not going to start making mugs and ties with other people's collections but we are going to assert that their thing was in our building for a while."



'Let's be honest: You are straight up fucked if you then try to search for that thing on a museum website and doubly-fucked if you're trying to do it on your phone. We should all strive to make that experience not suck but for the time being it does. If instead a person can remember that Oh yeah, I was there in October... and there's a way to find the object quickly and easily then two things happen:

1. They can actually find the thing they're talking about and not have it be a proxy object for another of life's annoyances.
2. They can put their phone away.

Imagine if you could take a museum for granted that way. Not in a creepy or selfish way but in a way that allowed you to think about it as a resource, with the patience to always be present. Imagine what it would mean for a museum to have the infinite space of everything to the right of a permalink's URL at its disposal.

It's not a permalink of the object (they already have their own permalinks) but a permalink of your having collected that object during that visit and these are the places where visitors and the museum together might actually explore what it means to better share an understanding of an object beyond a 75-word wall label. There is a fantastic amount of learning and writing that has produced about the objects in our collections over the years but almost no one, outside the hula-hoop of professional disciplines, ever sees it.

These, we hope, are the places where we might start to change that. These are the places where someone might finally read the 10,000 word essay about an exhibition in the comfort of their living room or even just on the subway ride home after their visit. These are the places where we might start to find a way to make the curatorial files I mentioned earlier an active participant in the collection."



"In the end I think the hardest part of this project for the museum will be being patient and in measuring success over the long-term. Some people will see and immediate and personal value in what we're trying to do but it would be unfair, and unrealistic, to demand the same of everyone else. People have busy, complicated lives and it sometimes takes people a while to warm up to an idea. Our disposition, our super-power, as cultural heritage institutions is that we have time on our side. We should learn to share it with those who don't."
2015  aaronstraupcope  cooper-hewitt  museums  history  memory  objects  interaction  monkeyjesus  fanfiction  scottmccloud  sebchan  billmoggridge  aaronkeefer  alisoufan  selfawareroomba  roomba  design  waronterror  narrative  storytelling  culture  smithsonian  internet  web  online  collections  socialmedia  rfid  nfc 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Smithsonian's design museum just got some high-tech upgrades | The Verge
"But the most impressive addition to the museum is what's simply called the Pen. It's a smartly designed rubberized wand with a pen-shaped tip at one end and an NFC antenna at the other. Not only does it work as a capacitive stylus on all of the tables, but it can be used around the museum: each item on display at the museum that now has an NFC tag next to it. When you find something you like, or want to read more about later, just tap the back of the pen to the tag. Lights on the Pen illuminate and a slight vibration confirms that the item's been recognized. You're essentially building your own personal collection as you browse the museum, and you're given a URL when you leave that lets you access that collection (or add to it when you return).

This isn't a terribly new idea; a few museums have been using NFC technology for a number of years now. But instead of relying on visitors to have NFC-enabled phones, the Pen makes for a much more cohesive experience, and it's something that the museum's directors believe any visitor can pick up and understand. It also plays extremely well with the interactive tables. Not only can it be used as a stylus, but you can tap the NFC tag to the table and watch the collection you've built spill out onto the table.

It may sound like a small change, but even during our brief after-hours demo back in December, it was easy to see how powerful a paradigm shift this could be. A simple stylus combined with a deep database of the museum's collection means that the museum is no longer just a few hundred objects inside four walls. It's an experience that can follow you anywhere."
art  design  2015  aaronstraupcope  cooper-hewitt  collections  digital  museums  exhibitions  rfid  nfc 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt: Finally, the Museum of the Future Is Here - The Atlantic
"When I visited, I talked to the Labs team in their office and then toured the then not-quite-finished mansion. We talked about the museum first—the physical one we were in. Unlike leaders of other New York museums, who are investing in events, Chan (and the Cooper Hewitt generally) believe the heart of the museum is in its collection and its visitors. In other words: its stuff and its people.

“They don’t want to have the burden of this preservation forever,” he said of the increasingly event-focused Museum of Modern Art, 40 blocks south. “The beauty here is: We’re the Smithsonian. We don’t have a choice. No matter what other staff in this building might say, we don’t have a choice but to keep all this stuff forever.”

The museum will forever be committed to its stuff. But it has to have a more enlivening presence, he believes, than placards and shelves. Cope held up his smartphone at one point and pointed at it."



"Notice the trick the Labs team has completed. The API seems to be first for users and developers. It lets them play around with the collection, see what’s there. As Cope told me, “the API is there to develop multiple interfaces. That’s the whole point of an API—you let go of control around how people interpret data and give them what they ask for, and then have the confidence they’ll find a way to organize it that makes sense for them.” But who is doing the most work around the collection—the most organizing, the most-sensemaking? It’s the museum itself.

“When we re-open, the building will be the single largest consumer of the API,” said Chan.

In other words, the museum made a piece of infrastructure for the public. But the museum will benefit in the long term, because the infrastructure will permit them to plan for the near future.

And the museum will also be, of course, the single largest beneficiary of outsider improvements to the API. It already talks to other APIs on the web. Ray Eames’s page, for instance, encourages users to tag their Instagrams and Flickr photos with a certain code. When they do, Cooper Hewitt’s API will automatically sniff it out and link that image back to its own person file for Eames. Thus, the Cooper Hewitt’s online presence grows even richer.

The Cooper Hewitt isn’t the only museum in the world with an API. The Powerhouse has one, and many art museums have uploaded high-quality images of their collections. But the power of the Cooper Hewitt’s digital interface is unprecedented. There’s a command that asks for colors as defined by the Crayola crayon palette. Another asks if the snack bar is open. A third mimics the speech of one of the Labs members. It’s a fun piece of software, and it makes a point about the scope of the museum’s vision. If design is in everything, the API says, then the museum’s collection includes every facet of the museum itself. "



"Even if things do work, the model turns museum websites into museums themselves, catalogs of once-snazzy apps built for special occasions before being discarded forever. Exhibits go away, but those apps never do. A museum’s website—the primary face of the museum to the world—winds up looking like a closet of old prom dresses.

When Bill Moggridge became the Cooper Hewitt’s director in 2010, he wanted the museum to make its digital infrastructure more thoughtfully. Moggridge, it should be noted, is a legend. He helped design the first laptop computer. He founded the world-famous firm IDEO. And he invented the term “interaction design.” Moggridge died in 2012, not living to see the renovation project he began.

Moggridge created Chan’s position and hired him for it. And while Chan could have kept outsourcing projects to big outside firms, he instead lobbied for funding and hire a staff. The museum’s digital work was too important. It had to have in-house experts. “There's a lovely phrase we use a lot,” Cope said. “The guy who invented the Perl programming language talked about Perl as being there to make easy things simple and hard things possible.”

“That’s how we try to think about this. Not everyone’s gonna understand what we’ve built or the potential of what we’ve built right away. It’s gonna take some of the curators longer than others to figure it out. But the minute they get it, they should be able to turn around and be like, 'What if…? Can we do…?'—and if it’s easy, it should be live in 15 minutes.”"



"The team has accomplished so much largely by accepting imperfection. When the Labs launched the API, it was missing a lot of information. Cope called the quality of its metadata at launch “incredibly spotty,” before Chan clarified, “it’s terrible.”

But that was on purpose. Better to put the museum’s grand imperfection and incompleteness out in the world and let people make of it what they will, the team decided, then wait for it to be perfect. “It was a tactical play to say, don’t obsess about that stuff, because its what people do with it that matters,” said Chan.

“We could spend the next 50 years trying to make that data perfect and it still would not ever be perfect. There was 70 years of collecting that had different documenting standards. Museums only started collecting policies in the eighties and nineties. How can you retrospectively fix everything? It just can’t be done. So let’s move on and figure out what we want to do with it,” he said.

This attitude—popularized by Steve Jobs with the phrase, “Real artists ship”—extends to how the team thinks through media production, too. “I can’t sit on a video for six months, making these minute edits. I have to pitch it out door, so we can say: This interview got this many views, this thing got this many views, let’s keep going with this,” said Shelly.

The Labs’s work, as a whole, is an investment in a particular idea of cultural democracy. It’s a view where imperfect speech can always—and will always, and should always—be augmented by further speech. It trusts in the discourse over the perfection of the original work."



"And perhaps already, the Labs team believes, that digital information will be inextricable from the physical object. The Cooper Hewitt has long collected napkin sketches of famous logos and inventions. If it wants to collect the rough thoughts of today, it will have to work fast, because napkins last longer in files than sketch files do on iPads.

“To collect a Nest absent of any data, what does that tell you?,” asked Cope.“It tells you it’s a beautiful piece of industrial design. Well, maybe the museum should start thinking about some way of keeping that data alongside the object, and maybe it doesn’t need to be privileged in the way the object is.”"
robinsonmeyer  2015  cooper-hewitt  museums  collections  archives  internet  web  sebchan  aaronstraupcope  billmoggridge  design  interaction  api  data  digital  online  objects  things  applications  software  unfinished  imperfection  democracy  culture  culturaldemocracy  infrastructure  visitors  events 
january 2015 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] interpretation roomba
"Part of the reason these two quotes interest me is that I've been thinking a lot about origin stories and creation myths. I've been thinking about how we recognize and choose the imagery and narratives — the abstractions — that we use to re-tell a story. There's nothing a priori wrong with those choices. We have always privileged certain moments over others as vehicles for conveying the symbolism of an event."



"I've been thinking about history as the space between the moments that come to define an event. History being the by-product of a sequence of events pulling apart from each, over time, leaving not just the peaks a few dominant imagery but the many valleys of interpretation.

When I think of it this way I am always reminded of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics in which he celebrates "the magic in the gutter". The "gutter" being the space between frames where action is unseen and left to imagination of the reader. These are the things I think of when I consider something like the 9/11 Memorial and the construction of a narrative around the event it commemorates.

Not much is left to abstraction and so it feels as though the memorial itself acts as a vacuum against interpretation, at all. It is a kind of "Interpretation-Roomba" that moves through your experience of the venue sucking up any space in which you might be able to consider the event outside of the master narrative."



"After the panel some of us went out for drinks and for people of a certain it was difficult not to fall prey to moments sounding exactly like our parents and saying things like: The kids today, they don't know what it was like back in the day when all we had were bulletin board systems... I mention this for a couple reasons.

The first is to ask the question: Is a slow network akin to no network at all? It is hard to imagine going back to the dial-up speeds of the 1990's Internet and I expect it would be a shock to someone who's never experienced them but I think we would all do well to keep Staehle's comments about the time to broadcast and the time to relay in mind.

The second is that as we were all sitting around the table waxing nostalgic about 28.8 Kbps modems I remember thinking: Actually, when I first discovered the web I wanted the next generation to be able to take this for granted. I wanted the "kids" to live in a world where the Internet was just part of the fabric of life, where it didn't need to be a philosophical moment everytime you got online.

The good news is that this has, by and large, happened. The bad news is we've forgotten why it was important in the first place and if it feels like the Network is governed by, and increasingly defined, by a kind of grim meathook fatalism I think maybe that's why.

Somewhere in all the excitement of the last 20 years we forgot, or at least neglected, the creation myth and the foundational story behind the Network and in doing so we have left open a kind of narrative vacuum. We have left the space to say why the Network exists at all to those who would see it shaped in ways that are perhaps at odds with the very reasons that made it special in the first place."



"A question I've been asking myself as I've been thinking about this talk is: Does a littlenet simply transit data or does it terminate that data? Is a littlenet specific to a place? Are littlenets defined by the effort is takes to get there? That seems a bit weird, almost antithetical to the idea of the Network, right?

Maybe not though or maybe it's less about littlenets acting like destinations or encouraging a particular set of rituals but instead simply taking advantage of the properties the Network offers to provide bespoke services. For example, what if bars ran captive portal networks that you couldn't get out of, like Dan Phiffer's Occupy.here, but all they did was offer access to a dictionary?

That might seem like an absurb example at first but let it sink in for a minute or two and if you're like me you'll find yourself thinking that would be kind of awesome. A dictionary in a bar is a polite of saying We're here to foster the conversation on your own terms rather than dictate it on ours.

A dictionary in a bar would be a "service" in the, well, service of the thing that bars don't need any help with: conversation, socializing, play. People aren't going to stop frequenting bars that they don't have dictionaries in them, but a bar with a dictionary in it is that much better.

If a littlenet does not terminate then does it or should it engage in traffic shaping? What separates littlenet from a fake cell phone towers? What about deep packet inspection (DPI) ? What about goatse? If a littlenet does not drink the common carrier Kool-Aid is it still a Network or just gated-community for like minded participants?

None of these problems go away just because a network is little and, in fact, their little-ness and the potential ubiquity of littlenets only exascerbates the problem. It casts the questions around an infrastructure of trust as much as an infrastructure of reach in to relief.

We have historically relied on the scarcity and the difficulty of access to the tools that can manipulate the Network at, well, the network layer as a way to manage those questions of trust. Ultimately, littlenets force those larger issues of how we organize (and by definition how we limit) ourselves as a community to the fore. It speaks to the question of public institutions and their mandates. It speaks to the question of philosophy trumping engineering.

It speaks to the question of how we articulate an idea of the Network and why we believe it is important and what we do to preserve those qualities."



"It goes like this: If we liken the network to weather what does it mean to think of its climate as too hostile for any one person to survive in isolation? What would that mean, really? I have no idea and I recognize that this is one line of argument in support of a benevolent all-seeing surveillance state but perhaps there are parallels to be found in the way that cold-weather countries organize themselves relative to the reality of winter. Regardless of your political stripes in those countries there is common cause in not letting people face those months alone to die of exposure.

I really don't know how or whether this translates to the Network in part because it's not clear to me whether the problem is not having access to the Network, not having unfettered access to the Network (think of those Facebook-subsidized and Facebook-only data plans for mobile phones) or that the Network itself, left unchecked, is in fact a pit of vipers.

Should the state suspend reality in the service of a mandate for the Network the way that they sometimes do for universal health care or, if you live in the US, the highway system? Is that just what we now call network neutrality or should we do more to temper the consequences of assuming the Network is inherently hostile? To activiely foster a more communitarian sensibilities and safeguards?

You're not supposed to say this out loud, particularly in light of events like the Snowden revelations, but the reality is that societies announce that 2+2=5 because "reasons" all the time."



"My issue is that we have spent a good deal of the last 500 years (give or take) trying to make visibility a legitimate concern. We have spent a lot of time and lot of effort arguing that there is a space for voices outside the dominant culture and to now choose to retract in to invisibility, as a tactic, seems counter-productive at best and fitting the needs of people who were never really down the project at worst.

The only reason many of know each other is because we were willing, because we desired, to stick our head above the parapet and say "I am here". Acting in public remains complicated and is still decidedly unfair for many but if the creation myth of visibility is one of malice-by-default then we might have a bigger problem on our hands."



"The problem I have with littlenets is that I want to live in a world with a "biggernet" that doesn't make me sad or suspect or hate everyone around me. The concern I have with littlenets is that they offer a rhetorical bluff from which to avoid the larger social questions that a networked world lay bare. And that in avoiding those questions we orphan the reasons (the creation myths) why the Network seemed novel and important in the first place.

There's a meme which has bubbling up more and more often these days, advanced by people like Ingrid and others, that perhaps libraries should operate as internet service providers. That the mandate of a publicly-minded institution like a library is best suited to a particular articulation of the Network as a possibility space.

Libraries lend books on the principle that access to information is value in and of itself not because they know what people will do with that knowledge. Libraries have also been some of the earliest adopters of littlenets in the service of that same principle in the form of electronic distribution hubs. I bet some of those littlenets even have dictionaries on them.

So, despite my reservations and in the interests of defaulting to action maybe we should all endeavour to run our own read-only littlenets of stuff we think is worth preserving and sharing. If the politics and the motives surrounding the Network are going to get all pear-shaped in the years to come then maybe littlenets are our own samizdat and the means to save what came before and to say as much to ourselves as to others: This is how it should be."
aaronstraupcope  2014  history  storytelling  time  memory  scottmccloud  abstraction  gaps  memorial  objects  artifacts  shareholdervalue  motive  confidence  internet  web  purpose  networks  littlenets  meshnetworks  community  communities  occupy.here  visibility  invisibility  legibility  illegibility  samizdat  realpolitik  access  information  ingridburrington  libraries  sharing  online  commons 
october 2014 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] personal brand as the non-state actor of influence
[audio version: https://huffduffer.com/dConstruct/178671 ]

"Access and access at the time of your own choosing is a subtle but important distinction and if we are talking about the opportunity of the Network itself, it is this.

Imagine a world in which access to an exchange of culture required we all have to gather around our computers at the same time in order to read Maciej's latest blog post. Some of us can and if you asked I would tell you it sucked.

When television was the only opporunity we had to gather together outside of and to imagine a world larger than our immediate surroundings we managed to craft genuinely meaningful experiences from it. It would be wrong to suggest otherwise but it would equally wrong to ignore how quickly we opted for the alternative modes – opportunities – that the web provided.

I think that should tell us something and that it is perhaps a quality of the Network being overlooked and perhaps being lost entirely as we devote more and more time and infrastructure in an effort to going viral.

Because we are not all, or will not always be, the kinds of people seeking an audience of many. What the web made possible – at a scale never seen before – was the ability for a individual to discover their so-called community of five. In time. It was the ability for one person to project their voice and for it to echo out across the Network long enough for someone else to find it. It gave us the ability to warm up to an idea, to return to it.

That access to recall is what makes the Network special to me. That is the opporunity which has been granted to us which we would be wrong to confuse with success or even discoverability. We all suffer from degrees of not-in-my-lifetime-itis but that is a kind of deviant behaviour we have already perfected so maybe we should not apply its metrics to the Network, for everyone's benefit.

As has been mentioned I work at a museum. As part of the museum's re-opening in December we are building, from scratch, a custom NFC-enabled stylus which we will give to every vistor upon entry. The stylus (or pen) will allow you to manipulate objects on interactive tables as well as to sketch and design your own creations. That is, literally, what the pointy end of the stylus is for.

The other end is used to touch an object label and record the ID of the object associated with it. That's it. Objects are stored on the pen as you wander around the museum and are then transferred back to the museum during or at the end of your visit and are available for retrieval via a unique shortcode assigned to every visit.

If you buy a ticket online and we know who you are then all the items you've collected or created should already be accessible via your museum account waiting for you by the time you get home or even by the time you get your phone out on the way to the subway. (If you don't already have an account then the visit is considered anonymous and that's just fine, too.)

The use of the pen to collect objects has a couple of objectives:

1. To simply do what people have always wanted to be able to in museums and been forced to accomplish themselves: To remember what you saw during your visit. People take pictures of wall labels, I think, not because they really want to but because there is no other mechanism for recall.

2. To get out of the way; to be intensely quiet and polite. The pen will likely enjoy a certain amount of time in the spotlight but my hope is that it will be successful enough that, when that attention fades, it might simply be taken for granted. To be a necessary technology in the service of memory, that dissolves in to normalcy, rather than being something you need to pay attention to or have an experience with.

3. To give people the confidence to believe that they don't necessarily need to do anything with the things they collect in the moment. To have the confidence to believe that we will keep the things they collect during their visit safe for a time when they will once again be relevant to them. For a person to see the history of one visit in association with all their other visits.

The pen itself is a fairly sophisticated piece of technology because it turns out that taking the conceptually simple act of bookmarking objects in real-life and making it simple in hardware and software is still actually hard. We are not doing this simply for the sake of the challenge but because it provides a way for the museum itself to live with the Network. In these ways we are trying to assert patience. We are, after all, a museum and our only purpose is to play the long game.

I totally didn't say that last paragraph on stage. I should have, though. Instead I talked a little bit about oh yeah, that which is a photo-sharing website which lets you upload a photo and then doesn't let you see it for a year. I talked about it as an experiment in a kind of enforced patience with the Network. I also talked about it an exercise in trying to build a tool that could operate without the adult supervision of my time or money (or much of it, anyway) such that it not be subject to the anxieties of being immediately successful. This, it seems to me, is the work ahead of us. It is not about oh yeah, that or any particular class of applications but about understanding why we are doing this at all and building things to those ends."

If you haven't read Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century I would recommend you do. One of the things that makes the book so powerful is that Piketty has been able to shape an argument through the rigorous use of historical data across a number of countries. The data is incomplete in historical terms: The data for the UK is only available from about the 1840s onwards, for the US data becomes available in the 1920s and so on. The one country where the data is available in a comprehensive manner is France. Because they went to the trouble of collecting it. One of the first acts of the state following the French Revolution was to perform an audit of and to continue collecting reliable estimations of wealth and property.

It is that diligence in record-keeping which made it possible for Piketty to illustrate his point in fact rather than intuition. On the web we have been given a similar opportunity to project our stories outwards in the future; to demonstrate a richer past to the present that will follow this one. It is unlikely that it will or even should yield the same fact-based analysis as Piketty's book. That is not the point. The point is that if we subscribe to a point world view that values a multiplicity of stories and understands that history is nuanced across experience and which recognizes that the ability to look backwards as much as forwards is where opportunity lies then we would do well to remember that many of those aspirations are afforded by the Network and in particular the web.

Those qualities are not inherent in the Network no more than access to opportunity guarantees success. They require care and consideration and if it seems like the Network has turned a bit poison we might do well to recognize that maybe we have also been negligent in our expectations, both of the Network and of ourselves.

Damn... you can almost see me exploding in to a TED-sized supernova of emotive jazz-hands at this point. As above, I did not in fact say this while on stage. I tried to say something like it, though, because I think it's true.

One refrain I hear a lot these days is that it's all gotten too hard. That the effort required to create something on the Network and effort to ensure its longevity has morphed in to something far beyonds the means of the individual. I am always struck by these comments not because I think we ought to be leveraging-the-fuck out of the latest, greatest advances in application framework or hosting solutions but for the simple reason that:

We managed to build a lot of cool shit on the back of 56Kb modems. We built a lot of cool shit – including entire communities – on top of a technical infrastructure that is a pale shadow of what we have available to us today. We know how to do this.

It is important to remember that the strength of the web is in its simplicity but in that simplicity – a Network of patient documents – is the opportunity far fewer of us enjoyed before it existed. The opportunity to project one's voice and to posit an argument which might have even a little more weight, or permanance, in the universe than shouting in the wind which is all most people have ever enjoyed. The opportunity to be part of an historical dialog because having an opinion is not de-facto over-sharing.

It is important to remember that the Network has given us the opportunity of a different measure of success."
networks  aaronstraupcope  2014  dconstruct  dconstruct2014  museums  archives  memory  memories  digital  internet  web  history  object  socialobjects  social  proxyobjects  socialnetworks  thomaspiketty  collections  simplicity  williamgibson  technology  cooper-hewitt  maps  mapping  osm  sopenstreetmap  clickbait  coolhunting  anabjain  efficiency  economics  opportunities  maciejceglowski  power  time  cynthiasmith  efficiencies  virality  scalehigh-speedtrading  access  accessibility  recall  nfc  attention  quietness  quiet  normalcy  everyday  maciejcegłowski 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet - The Atlantic
"You can't kill email! It's the cockroach of the Internet, and I mean that as a compliment. This resilience is a good thing.

"There isn't much to sending or receiving email and that's sort of the point," observed Aaron Straup Cope, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum's Senior Engineer in Digital and Emerging Media. "The next time someone tells you email is 'dead,' try to imagine the cost of investing in their solution or the cost of giving up all the flexibility that email affords." 

Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices. 

Email is a refugee from the open, interoperable, less-controlled "web we lost." It's an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the walled gardens of social networking and messaging services.

Yes, email is exciting. Get excited!

* * *

For all the changes occurring around email, the experience of email itself has been transformed, too. Email is not dying, but it is being unbundled.

Because it developed early in the history of the commercial Internet, email served as a support structure for many other developments in the web's history. This has kept email vitally important, but the downside is that the average inbox in the second decade of the century had become clogged with cruft. Too many tasks were bolted on to email's simple protocols.

Looking back on these transitional years from the 2020s, email will appear to people as a grab bag of mismatched services.

Email was a newsfeed. …

Email was one's passport and identity. …

Email was the primary means of direct social communication on the Internet. …

Email was a digital package-delivery service. After FTP faded from popularity, but before Dropbox and Google Drive, email was the primary way to ship heavy digital documents around the Internet. The attachment was a key productivity tool for just about everyone, and it's hard to imagine an Internet without the ability to quickly append documents to a message. Needless to say, email is a less than ideal transmission or storage medium, relative to the new services.

Email was the primary mode of networked work communication. …

The metaphor of electronic mail never fully fit how people use e-mail. But, now, perhaps it might. Email could become a home for the kinds of communications that come in the mail: letters from actual people, bills, personalized advertisements, and periodicals.

* * *

Looking at this list of email's many current uses, it is obvious that some of these tasks will leave its domain. Each person will get to choose whether they use email as their primary identity on the web. Work and simple social messaging will keep moving to other platforms, too. The same will be true of digital delivery, where many cloud-based solutions have already proved superior.

So, what will be left of the inbox, then?

I contend email might actually become what we thought it was: an electronic letter-writing platform.

My colleague Ian Bogost pointed out to me that we've used the metaphor of the mail to describe the kind of communication that goes on through these servers. But, in reality, email did not replace letters, but all classes of communications: phone calls, in-person encounters, memos, marketing pleas, etc.

This change might be accelerated by services like Gmail's Priority Inbox, which sorts mail neatly (and automatically) into categories, or Unroll.me, which allows users to bundle incoming impersonal communications like newsletters and commercial offers into one easy custom publication.

That is to say, our inboxes are getting smarter and smarter. Serious tools are being built to help us direct and manage what was once just a chronological flow, which people dammed with inadequate organization systems hoping to survive the flood. (Remember all the folders in desktop email clients!)

It's worth noting that spam, which once threatened to overrun our inboxes, has been made invisible by more sophisticated email filtering. I received hundreds of spam emails yesterday, and yet I didn't see a single one because Gmail and my Atlantic email filtered them all neatly out of my main inbox. At the same time, the culture of botty spam spread to every other corner of the Internet. I see spam comments on every website and spam Facebook pages and spam Twitter accounts every day.

Email has gotten much smarter and easier to use, while retaining its ubiquity and interoperability. But there is no one company promoting Email (TM), so those changes have gone relatively unremarked upon.



And one last thing ... This isn't something the originators of email ever could have imagined, but: Email does mobile really well.



Email—yes, email—is one way forward for a less commercial, less centralized web, and the best thing is, this beautiful cockroach of a social network is already living in all of our homes.

Now, all we have to do is convince the kids that the real rebellion against the pressures of social media isn't to escape to the ephemerality of Snapchat, but to retreat to the private, relaxed confines of their email inboxes."
email  cv  openweb  internet  web  2014  alexismadrigal  online  networks  networkedcommunication  communication  onlinetoolkit  mobile  spam  history  future  smtp  decentralization  decentralized  open  interoperability  webwelost  aaronstraupcope  ianbogost 
august 2014 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] Am I the only one who’s ever thought of referring to the @smithsonian logo as the “mullet sun” ?
"Increasingly the objects that all design museums collect will look more like like Planetary ["an iPad application for visualizing your music collection"] than not and they will face many of the same issues. Issues that no one is entirely sure how deal with. This may seem a little discouraging at first but that is cost of living in the present and we're certainly not going to figure anything out by standing around doing nothing."



"the common thread in all these passages [preceding slides] is the idea of motive and how we recognize it. That's an important question for all museums, but especially for a design museum since by-and-large we all have the same things in our collections. By their nature design objects come in multiples, often to the point of being mass-produced or in some cases not even being considered design objects unless they are mass-produced."



"The late painter Francis Bacon gave an interview, somewhere around the mid-point of his career, in which he said that he aspired to create paintings that defied narrative. Whether or not he succeeded or whether or not he even still believed that idea by the time of his death is sort of irrelevant. We have always celebrated works of exceptional execution and in contemporary times we increasingly afford artists the luxury to pursue a singular itch to that end.

It is interesting to consider that as the art world and the discourse that surrounds it continues to get wordier and more theory-driven we are also seeing both museums and artists create works that can only be described as spectacles. That's a whole other talk but just keep this idea in the back of your mind: That people are starting to use spectacle itself as a kind of medium in part, I think, because it remains bigger than words.

I want to mention craft and the timeless arts-and-crafts debate only long enough to describe a scene guaranteed to upset everyone involved. That capital-A art is the Abel to capital-C craft's Cain, but with a twist. If art will knowingly murder his brother the problem he faces is that his brother is also a zombie who can never die and wants to eat his brain.

It's not a very flattering picture for anyone but the reason I enjoy this fiction is because it's a useful way to consider design. That is, design is the shadow of the unresolvable struggle between an outstanding, over-achieving sociopath and a his seen-to-be lesser too who refuses to give up no matter what anyone says."



"we might consider contemporary design practice as akin to the decorative arts but with motive or deliberation. It is not the singular exceptional itch of the indivudual artist but rather the art and craft (sorry) of an elegant solution to a problem that can be articulated, in the service of a plurality.

Here’s the rub, though. No matter how impressive or elegant a solution they are not meant to be contemplative endeavours. They can't be. Imagine any thing you consider to be an elegant design solution or object and then try to imagine having a PHILOSOPHICAL MOMENT every time you used it.

We celebrate design that ultimately can be taken for granted. We celebrate a practice whose products afford us the plausible illusion of fading in to the background, of not always demanding center stage, and of not asking us to spend our already too-busy lives in a state of near-constant intellectual Rapture."



"We’re still not very good at that. We have a bad habit of falling back on how pretty a thing is or the mastery of its manufacturing prowess or a designer's access to production facilities as proxies for the merit and value of a design solution. The problem that design museums are facing, though, is that we’re increasingly collecting things which have no thing-ness about them so the rhetoric we've always used to talk about our collections make less and less sense.

Things like interaction design or service design or user-centered design or experience design. Given the challenge we already face collecting physical objects what are we supposed to do with practices that are as real as they are intangible?

Do you know who spends a lot of time trafficking in experience design, possibly more than anyone else in the aggregate? Museums.

What else are dioramas except early stage attempts at experience design? Because dioramas are basically fancy display cases for delicate or senstive objects we don't usually allow people to wander around in them. But when you consider that the film maker Peter Jackson, and his production company Weta, are creating a life-size trench experience from the Gallipoli Campaign inside Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, it doesn't seem like it will be long before museums can finally indulge their almost Captain Ahab like fantasy of a truly immersive experience. Personally I am waiting to see whether the trench installation offers a night at the museum style package where you can sleep in a pool of standing water, swatting away rats all while dodging ear-shattering explosions. When you stop to consider the many inevitable retrospectives that New Zealand museums will mount to celebrate the career of Peter Jackson, a native son, the crossover possibilities are endless.

For the time being we're left with stuff like this. This is a diorama from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition last year. It is a recreation of the men's bathroom at the now defunct music venue CBGB's where many of the bands that would shape the musical genre got their start. If you're wondering: It's not a functioning bathroom or, if it is, there's no way to find out because there's a short glass barrier preventing you from entering the space.

The exhibition's curators made a point of saying that the exhibition was about the influence of punk rock on the world of fashion and that they very deliberately stayed away from the politics of those involved. Which if we take them at their words makes the inclusion of an installation like this all the more problematic because it's the kind of thing where malice is almost more comforting than simple negligence.

I am going to leave the interpretation and meaning of using a tarted-up version of a gritty bathroom as a proxy object for... something as an excercise for the audience and only say that this installation was very deliberate and entirely with motive. It was designed."


"Even if we take a punt on the very real challenges of trying to create a preservation framework for still-living intellectual property, the more immediate problem we face is one where museums often won't even turn on the electronic equipment in their collections. That iPhone we've got with its version of iOS 1.0 (or maybe it was upgraded before we acquired it?) will remain forever powered-off because we risk damaging the circuit boards or simply because we've removed the battery to prevent the risk of it leaking and damaging the other objects in our collection. It all seems like a theater of the absurb, sometimes. The worst part is that in the absence of working solutions for genuinely hard problems we do these things for good reasons. But can we meaningfully talk about the iPhone without talking about the touchable interfaces, about the interaction design that was afforded by all that swiping? In short, about the software.

Aside from all its qualities as a stand-alone design object this is why we acquired Planetary. Planetary does not answer all of these questions but it does force us to address them."



"Don’t worry, though, we also printed everything out on archival paper using the approved OCR-compliant typographic conventions. Maybe one day someone will recite the source code for Planetary the way people perform Homer's Iliad or Joyce's Ullyses?

But, I want to emphasize that we did not acquire an iPad. We already had one of those.

We acquired source code that happens to have been written for an iOS device. This fact tells us something about the circumstances under which Planetary was created but I don't think that it defines what Planetary is or was trying to be. The iPad was simply the then-best representation of what Planetary was trying to be.

Had Bloom survived longer as a company they would have almost certainly released an Android version of Planetary and then what? Which one would we have acquired? Both of them? Only the iOS version because it is not so much the genesis of the project but the first manifestation of it? What if the Android version, by virtue of whatever hardware or operating system level optimizations it enjoyed, better embodied the spirit of the project?

So yeah, we acquired code because to my never-ending dismay it's just Sol Lewitt all the way down but we acquired that code as a way create an environment that will hopefully foster the preservation of the interaction design that was at the root of Planetary. Have we succeed yet? Probably not. Have we created the circumstances that will afford that preservation? I hope so."



"I like to understand what TinySpeck did in giving away all their stuff as another example of using open source as a preservation strategy for an endeavour that is very real but which lacks, by design, the known and quatifiable territory of a single work of art."



"Dan's project is not necessarily Glitch as its creators imagined but is it Glitch enough that perhaps we might look to the theater, with its multiple and on-going performaces of a single text, as our inspriration? Perhaps it allows us to imagine software preservation the way one imagines a working collection."
aaronstraupcope  preservation  software  art  craft  design  2014  cooper-hewitt  museums  motive  collections  objects  reproduction  glitch  tinyspeck  opensource  sollewitt 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Planetary: collecting and preserving code as a living object | Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York
"Museums like ours are used to collecting exemplary achievements made manifest in physical form; or at least things whose decay we believe we can combat and slow. To that end we employ highly trained conservators who have learned their craft often over decades of training, to preserve what would often be forgotten and more quickly turn to dust.

But preserving large, complex and interdependent systems whose component pieces are often simply flirting with each other rather than holding hands is uncharted territory. Trying to preserve large, complex and interdependent systems whose only manifestation is conceptual – interaction design say or service design – is harder still.

We hope to use this acquisition as a vehicle to actively explore and ask the question of how we meaningfully preserve the experience of using the software.

As part of that exercise Tom Carden has agreed, for a time, to oversee and be the final arbiter of any bug fixes and updates and (hopefully) newer versions of the code that will allow the software—the interactivity—to live on beyond the iPad. Tom won’t do this forever, but by agreeing to participate for a time it will allow us to better understand how museums might preserve not only the form of the things in their collections, but their creator’s intent.

The distinction between preservation and access is increasingly blurred. This is especially true for digital objects.

We liken this situation to that of a specimen in a zoo. In fact, given that the Smithsonian also runs the National Zoo, consider Planetary as akin to a panda. Planetary and other software like it are living objects. Their acquisition by the museum, does not and should not seal them in carbonite like Han Solo. Instead, their acquisition simply transfers them to a new home environment where they can be cared for out of the wild, and where their continued genetic preservation requires an active breeding program and community engagement and interest. Open sourcing the code is akin to a panda breeding program. If there is enough interest then we believe that Planetary's DNA will live on in other skin on other platforms. Of course we will preserve the original, but it will be 'experienced' through its offspring.

As a research institution we are also interested in reaching new understandings of the ways designers use code that can be gleaned from the code itself.

As we are acquiring a source code from the version control system that it was managed in (also GitHub), we have been able to preserve all the documentation of bugs, feature additions, and code changes throughout Planetary's life. This offers many new interpretive opportunities and reveals many of the decisions made by the designers in creating the application.

To be safe, we have also printed out a full copy of the source code on archival paper in the 1960s machine-readable OCR-A font - meaning that should the online version of the code ever be lost or corrupted we have a 'master' copy deep inside the vault."
technology  history  archival  archives  2013  smithsonian  cooper-hewitt  tomcarden  bencerveny  aaronstraupcope  sebchan  via:tealtan 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Digital Public Spaces - FutureEverything
"This publication gathers a range of short explorations of the idea of the Digital Public Space. The central vision of the Digital Public Space is to give everyone everywhere unrestricted access to an open resource of culture and knowledge. This vision has emerged from ideas around building platforms for engagement around cultural archives to become something wider, which this publication is seeking to hone and explore.

This is the first publication to look at the emergence of the Digital Public Space. Contributors include some of the people who are working to make the Digital Public Space happen.

The Digital Public Spaces publication has been developed by FutureEverything working with Bill Thompson of the BBC and in association with The Creative Exchange.

Editors: Drew Hemment, Bill Thompson, José Luis de Vicente, Professor Rachel Cooper

Publisher: FutureEverything, 2013

Contributions: Tony Ageh (Controller, Archive Development, BBC); James Bridle (Writer, Artist, Technologist); Neville Brody (Royal College of Art); Jill Cousins (Executive Director, Europeana Foundation); Steve Crossan (Head of Google Cultural Institute); Paula Le Dieu (Mozilla Foundation); Drew Hemment (CEO, FutureEverything / Lancaster University); Andrew Hiskens (State Library of Victoria); Naomi Jacobs (Creative Exchange, Lancaster University); Bill Thompson (BBC, Archive Development / Royal College of Art); Jeremy Myerson (Royal College of Art); Kasia Molga (Artist); Mo McRoberts (BBC, Archive Development); Emma Mulqueeny (Rewired State); Jussi Parikka (Winchester School of Art); Paul Caplan (Winchester School of Art); Aaron Straup Cope (Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum); Marleen Stikker (The Waag Society); Michelle Teran (Artist); Rachel Cooper (Director, Imagination Lancaster, Lancaster University); Charlie Gere (Lancaster University)

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About FutureEverything Publications

Each year FutureEverything proposes, develops and responds to particular themes. These themes are provocations, designed to open up a space for debate and practice, made tangible through art and design projects. FutureEverything Publications seek to contribute to an international dialogue around these themes."
culture  publicspaces  digital  digitalpublicspaces  digitalspaces  2013  jamesbridle  tonyageh  nevillebrody  jillcousins  stevecrossan  paulaledieu  drewhemment  andrewhiskens  billthompson  jeremymyerson  kasiamolga  momcroberts  emmamulqueeny  jussiparikka  paulcaplan  aaronstraupcope  marleenstrikker  michelleteran  rachelcooper  charliegere 
august 2013 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] verb impostors
"what would it mean for the Library of Congress to run Parallel Flickr or something like it? What would it mean for the Library not simply archive its own photos (which, I'll grant you, would be a bit of a circular argument) but to find all the other users who've ever interacted with their photos and – as an opt-in – offer to archive their photos as well. What if you extended that offer to all the contacts of those people as well?

It means that although the Library hasn't quite figured out how to archive all of Flickr but it can start to capture the context, and the people, who have crossed paths with the Library's photos.

But there's an important twist in this: That for as long as Flickr's login service can be considered reliable and trustworthy the Library pledges to honour the permissions model of those photos. And the moment there is any question about permissions any photos that aren't already public go dark and the so-called 70-year clock kicks in. At the end of those 70 years all of those public are placed in to the public domain.

There's a explicit contract here which is that the Library promises to preserve the permissions model in the present in exchange for a person gifting that present to the future. My hunch is that people would be lined up around the block to participate."

Finally because Parallel Flickr goes out of its way to mirror both the ID and URL structure of Flickr itself if means that two separate instances can be easily merged. What that means is that two institutions can each tackle the problem of archiving something the size of Flickr in managable bites, separately with an institutional focus, and merge their work as time and circumstances permit and to try and think through what it means to re-grow a network that big organically.

But some time around 2008 the then-and-current head of the NSA asked, reasonably enough it should be added, "Why can’t we collect all the signals all the time?" and so now we have among many others like it the Utah Data Center located just across the field from the Thanksgiving Point Butterfly Garden and Golf Club in Bluffdale Utah. This is, we're told, where all the signals will live.

I mention this because it exposes a fairly uncomfortable new reality for those of us in the cultural heritage "business": That we are starting to share more in common with agencies like the NSA than anyone quite knows how to conceptualize."



"So, how did we get here? I think we're still trying to figure this out but I can point to a couple of likely suspects.

The first is simply that consumer-grade technology leap-frogged the cultural heritage sector's ability to fund-raise and hire third-party contractors. That the NSA or any organization (see also: Google) is able to operate at this scale is impressive but it's not like they've made a jet pack. …

Which brings us to second suspect: A legal and political framework known as Unitary Executive Theory. Unitary Executive Theory is part of the long-running debate about the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branch and it's a position that basically says: The legislature is fine however the executive can still do whatever it wants. … "



"If you hold to a particularly tree-hugger-ish and wooly-eyed world-view, as I do, that says we should finding ways to give voice to the oppressed or the otherwise simply ignored, to write a history whose tapestry is richer than simply the voices of the victors then the internet, and all the technology that we've built to support it, does a better job of furthering that ideal than anything that has come before it.

Historically we have equated the cost of inclusion with notability. This just doesn't hold anymore in a world cheap and fast computing power."



"So maybe this is what I think the challenge is going forward: To debate and advance a rhetoric, a measure against which we might be judged and challenged, that aims not to deny the future but simply to protect the present from itself. We are in, and have been living in for a while now, one of those "between two bus stops" moments and I don't have an answer to the problem I think we need to understand that it exists and that it's not going to go away on its own."
aaronstraupcope  2013  flickr  parallelflickr  loc  libraryofcongress  archives  privacy  nsa  inclusion  museums  collections  future  present  law  legal  internet  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
july 2013 by robertogreco
PLAY Stories: To Be Designed
"On Oct. 1st- 3rd, 2012, a group of designers, makers and technologists gathered in Detroit to collectively imagine and produce a piece of design fiction: a catalog of products from the future."

[See also: http://tobedesigned.nearfuturelaboratory.com/ ]
design  designfiction  tobedesigned  tbd  aaronstraupcope  brucesterling  cezannecharles  chriswoebken  christiansvaneskolding  emmetbyrne  jamesbridle  johnmarshall  julianbleecker  karldaubmann  marcgreuther  marcusbleecker  mokapantages  mickfoster  micolasnova  raphaelgrignani  tombray  maganmulholland  zackjacobson-weaver  2012  nearfuturelaboratory 
april 2013 by robertogreco
On ‘institutional wabi sabi’ | Fresh & New(er)
"Wabi-sabi is a challenging concept for Westerners raised on a diet of Modernism. It celebrates impermanence, imperfection, and incompleteness. It celebrates the small and the intimate. It is the rough hewn bowl, not angular refined box.

Importantly, though, it is not an excuse for incompetence.

Consider how your museum could be ‘a bowl’, rather than ‘a box’. A tumble of objects rather than a grid."
sebchan  corporateculture  art  government  language  wabi-sabi  via:rodcorp  moderinism  impermanence  ephemeral  imperfection  unfinished  incompleteness  small  intimate  audiencesofone  rough  2013  design  craft  museums  museudesign  glvo  tumblr  messiness  grids  perpetualbeta  ephemerality  institutions  canon  openstudioproject  tcsnmy8  tcsnmy  aaronstraupcope 
april 2013 by robertogreco
you are here
"you are here is an experimental service to let people record opinions about where a place is and to publish those opinions as a free and open dataset. you are here is sort of like "geo-corrections as a service"."

"Now that you've got a latitude and longitude the website will fetch all of the places of a particular type that intersect that point. The current list of place types to choose from are: neighbourhoods, localities, aerotropolii, timezones. You can jump up and down the hierarchy of place types until you find something sounds right and then associate that spot on the planet with a unique Where on Earth (WOE) identifier for that place."
aaronstraupcope  geolocation  internet  maps  neighborhoods  cities  mapping  crowdsourcing  names  naming  placenames  geography  local 
april 2013 by robertogreco
thinking / about dongles | cooper-hewitt labs
"Think of everything you’ve ever known about formal design and aesthetics multiplied by automated manufacturing and distributed openly available databases of designs (and gotchas) and then multiplied again by the steady, plodding march of technology.

And there’s the rub: The VGA dongle is made even more fascinating in that light. All VGA dongles are the same at one end. The end with the VGA adapter. The end with the weight of a black hole that the computer industry despite all their best efforts, and advances, can’t seem to escape.

In fairness we might just barely be starting to see a world beyond VGA in that fewer and fewer devices are using it as their default input standard but I suspect it will still be another five (probably ten) years before it will be unnecessary to ask whether there’s a VGA-to-whatever adapter.

And that’s the other end of the adapter. That whole other world of trying to improve or re-imagine video display. That whole other world of computers and other…"
computers  computing  history  googleartproject  storytelling  posterity  change  vga  dongles  context  museums  design  cooper-hewitt  2013  aaronstraupcope 
january 2013 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] The "Drinking Coffee and Stealing Wifi" 2012 World Tour
"On some levels, you could reduce this entire talk down to a very simple question: Why are keeping any of this stuff? Or rather: If we as public institutions, or even private ones that wish to bask in the warm fuzzy glow of the public "trust", can't figure out how to provide access to all of this stuff we're collecting then what exactly are we doing?

We tend to justify these enourmous and fabulous buildings we create to showcase our collections on the grounds that they will, sooner or later, be the spotlight that embraces the totality of the things we keep. Yet that doesn't really happen, does it?"
mapping  maps  metadata  objects  parallel-flickr  sebchan  pharlap  australia  paolaantonelli  cooper-hewitt  databases  data  macguffin  revdancatt  gowanusheights  identification  integers  privatesquare  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  flickr  penelopeumbrico  collections  museums  archiving  archives  2012  aaronstraupcope 
december 2012 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] JELLO SHOTS IN PNEUMATIC TUBES
"We know our data is weird. We know our data is incomplete. We'll fix it.

The point is that we are still feeling the shape of what's in there. All of this stuff has been locked away for so long, in the shadows of the database or in institutional histories, that we're going to have to spend some serious time digging it all out.

We will.

One of the ways we're trying to do this is by holding hands with other institutions and sources. We've been actively trying to build concordances between our data and projects like Wikipedia and Freebase and other cultural institutions like MoMA.

We've started with the people in our collection, the individual and corporations who've had a hand in the objects we steward. Eventually we'd like to do the same for topics and temporal periods and even for our objects.

Currently we're publishing concordances for about five sources but that's only because they were easy to get started with and they could be used to model interactions around.

For example, we don't have a biography of Ray Eames. Arguably if there's anyone in our collection that we should be writing our own biographies for it's her. But we don't and that same measure doesn't necessarily apply to everyone in our collection. And for those people – maybe all the people – we need to ask the question: Why are we, each of us as institutions, burning time we could be using talking about the work we collect rewriting the same biographies over and over again?

Let's be honest and admit that in many instances the Wikipedia community is simply doing a better job of it. So yeah, of course we're going to build on, and celebrate, their contribution."
museums  rewriting  concordances  stewards  stewardship  culture  database  databases  moma  freebase  wikipedia  data  api  2012  cooper-hewitt  aaronstraupcope  rayeames  wilipedia  community  collections  tms 
november 2012 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] aren't callback numbers just links? [Too much to quote. GOOD: See these. BETTER: see also those in the Tumblr link. BEST: read it all.]
"I did a paper about Galleries, in 2010, talking about the larger trend of people not only discovering but starting to flex what I called a curatorial muscle.

I talked about how there was a still nascent but very confusing smushing up of the roles and distinctions happening between traditional critics, experts (or curators) and docents. This felt like a similar blurring that had been going on for a while between art and craft and design."

"The economics around production and distribution that have, until now, buttressed the distinctions between art and craft and design have all but bottomed out today…

As a result one measure of confidence in our ability to judge things has gotten completely messed up and we are still trying to find new bearings.

"the distinction between museums and archives (and by extension libraries) is collapsing in most people's minds. Assuming it ever existed, in the first place."

[Tumbled here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/35249075133/ ]
galleries  flickr  change  digital  design  craft  art  curating  curation  access  distribution  production  texture  service  open  trust  smithsonian  cooper-hewitt  otaku  collections  libraries  archives  museums  2012  aaronstraupcope 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Stories from the New Aesthetic : Joanne Mcneil
"It's a blank box, you can enter in whatever you want. You can take it as representation or you can bend it."

"It is full of things that never happened — human abstractions, examples of us acting in make believe. The avatars, the sock puppets, false identities, mockups, renders, the fake. Reality is blended in it. And sometimes, it is the program or the network telling stories to us. Something not as intended, more accidental storytelling."

"The internet will never be a mirror. Nor is it a window. It's pictures."

"…some people —real people — might not be treated as such online. …Civil Rights Captcha…supposes that if you are lacking a base level of compassion, if you express bigotry, you are relegated to second class bot level status on the internet."

"Facebook is where you share your success, not your suffering…this behavior means the picture is incomplete."

"while the people are an afterthought on the street…when it comes it businesses, they are central to the point."

[Video here: https://vimeo.com/51595243 ]
mapping  maps  time  place  2012  humans  people  cartography  trapstreets  theskyontrapstreet  sharing  twitter  googlestreetview  facebook  compassion  civilrightscaptcha  captcha  vulnerability  tears  personalbanking  banking  liebooks  lies  cronocaos  code/space  remkoolhaas  anaisnin  storytelling  stories  reality  location  clementvalla  brunolatour  adamharvey  web  internet  art  melissagiragrant  doramoutot  willwiles  aaronstraupcope  jamesbridle  joannemcneil  newaesthetic  storiesfromthenewaesthetic 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Living inside the Machine | booktwo.org
"We used to posit this space, the network, the notional space, as being elsewhere, the other side of the screen. But increasingly we have these images of the machine as something that surrounds us, that we live inside, within. As something that enfolds us."

"The “abstract machine” is Deleuze and Guattari’s term for the sum of all machines—in their terminology, this includes the body, society, language, interpretation: like the rhizome it stands both for the sum and its parts. So the network too is one of these abstract machines: a mainframe, a terminal, a laptop, a wireless LAN, a string of satellites. And us too, living inside the machine, a part of the network.

That notional space."

[Video here: https://vimeo.com/51675237 ]
storiesfromthenewaesthetic  hippo  eniac  harryreed  future  present  history  ibm  joannemcneil  aaronstraupcope  society  rhizome  systems  notionalspace  machines  abstractmachines  guattari  deleuze  williamgibson  jgballard  computires  computing  mainframes  networks  georgedyson  2012  newaesthetic  jamesbridle  deleuze&guattari  gillesdeleuze  félixguattari 
october 2012 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] signs of life [These quotes are only from the beginning. I recommend reading the whole thing.]
"I've been thinking a lot about motive & intent for the last few years. How we recognize motive &… how we measure its consequence.

This is hardly uncharted territory. You can argue easily enough that it remains the core issue that all religion, philosophy & politics struggle with. Motive or trust within a community of individuals.

…Bruce Schneier…writes:

"In today's complex society, we often trust systems more than people. It's not so much that I trusted the plumber at my door as that I trusted the systems that produced him & protect me."

I often find myself thinking about motive & consequence in the form of a very specific question: Who is allowed to speak on behalf of an organization?

To whom do we give not simply the latitude of interpretation, but the luxury of association, with the thing they are talking about …

Institutionalizing or formalizing consequence is often a way to guarantee an investment but that often plows head-first in to the subtlies of real-life."

[Video here: https://vimeo.com/51515289 ]
dunbartribes  schrodinger'sbox  scale  francisfukuyama  capitalism  industrialrevolution  technology  rules  control  algorithms  creepiness  siri  drones  robots  cameras  sensors  robotreadableworld  humans  patterns  patternrecognition  patternmatching  gerhardrichter  robotics  johnpowers  dia:beacon  jonathanwallace  portugal  lisbon  brandjacking  branding  culturalheritage  culture  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  future  politics  philosophy  religion  image  collections  interpretation  representation  complexity  consequences  cooper-hewitt  photography  filters  instagram  flickr  museums  systemsthinking  systems  newaesthetic  voice  risk  bruceschneier  2012  aaronstraupcope  aaron  intent  motive  storiesfromthenewaesthetic  canon 
october 2012 by robertogreco
TO BE DESIGNED
"A multidisciplinary group of thinkers, makers and near future speculators will spend three days in Detroit to “do” science fiction: tangle up in fact and fiction and engage in curious crosstalk about the things that could be. The goal, then, is to Design Fiction and turn talk into deliberate actions and artifacts; to swerve the present by telling the story of a near future we imagine can be possible.

What we aim to create — to spur conversations about the things that will matter in the near future — is a near future product catalog. For example, a SkyMall, or Sears Wish Book or McMaster-Carr catalog for the near future. Think of it as a near future science fiction sourcebook of products. It’s a collection of stuff , as if that collection of stuff existed as routinely as Sasquatch garden statuettes, inflatable neck pillows, combination USB thumb drive nail clipper laser pointers, battery-powered screwdrivers, allen wrench sets and flat tire repair kits…"
production  conversation  artifactsfromthefuture  artifacts  storytelling  detroit  catalogs  skymall  nearfuture  sciencefiction  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinarythinking  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  aaronstraupcope  cezannecharles  chriswoebken  johnmarshall  jamesbridle  emmetbyrne  christiansvkolding  karldaubman  marcgreuther  tombray  mokapantages  nickfoster  raphaelgrignani  marcusbleecker  nicolasnova  julianbleecker  brucesterling  designfiction  nearfuturelaboratory 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Maps, Maps And MOAR Maps At The Society Of Cartographers And Expedia | Gary's Bloggage
"History has a habit of repeating itself and so does the map. From primitive scratchings, through ever more sumptuous pieces of art, through to authoritative geographical representations, the map changes throughout history. Maps speak of the hopes, dreams and prejudices of their creators and audience alike, and with the advent of neogeography and neocartography, maps are again as much art as they are geographical information.

... will that do?"
noaa  bigdata  data  exploration  aaronstraupcope  flickr  googlemaps  bingmaps  agi  osm  openstreetmap  yahoo  nokia  geography  stamen  mattbiddulph  garygale  2012  history  neocartography  mapping  maps 
september 2012 by robertogreco
privatesquare | Near Future Laboratory
I’ve been working on, and testing out, a new thing for the last couple of weeks. It is called privatesquare. It is a pretty simple web application that manages a private database of foursquare check-ins. It uses foursquare itself as a login service and also queries foursquare for nearby locations. The application uses the built-in geolocation hooks in the web browser to figure out what “nearby” means (which sometimes brings the weird but we’ll get to that later). On some levels it’s nothing more than a glorified check-in application. Except for two things:
First, when you do check in the data is stored in a local database you control. Check-ins can be sent on to foursquare (and again re-broadcast to Twitter, etc. or to your followers or just “off the grid”) but the important part is: They don’t have to be. As much as this screenshot of my activity on foursquare cracks me up it’s not actually representative of my life and suggests a particular kind of self-censorship. I don’t tell foursquare about a lot of stuff simply because I’m not comfortable putting that data in to their sandbox. So as much as anything privatesquare is about making a place to file those things away safely for future consideration. A kind of personal zone of safekeeping.
It is worth nothing that privatesquare does almost nothing that foursquare doesn’t already do, and better. privatesquare is not meant to replace foursquare but is part of an on-going exploration of the hows and whens and whys of backing up centralized services with bespoke shadow, or parallel, implementations of the service itself. It is designed to be built and run by individuals or as a managed service for small groups of people who know and trust one another.
internet  aaronstraupcope  foursquare  privatesquare  2012  nearby  self-censorship  trust  privacy  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] the status of truth
If you, as curators and archivists and generally anyone involved in the preservation of promotion of cultural heritage, think that the authority record is the pinnacle of your careers – that is, the most important thing you will leave behind – then you are about to be eaten by robots.
I am here to suggest that this the work we need to face in the years to come because the unit of measure for whether or not something is important is no longer dictated by the cost of inclusion.
Google has never wavered from their goal of being an information retrieval company because “information retrieval” is just a benign way of saying “everything”. If every natural language researcher on the planet uses Wikipedia as its training set Google was clever enough to realize that they could do what Facebook is trying to do by building a suite of tools – often very good tools – and treat the entire Internet as their training set for teaching robots how to interpret meaning and assign value.
Dispute is notoriously difficult to codify, especially in a database, but one of its most important functions is to shine a light on two or more opposing views so that might better see the context in which those ideas exist. I am not suggesting that we do away with structured metadata but this is not necessarily where all of your time is most needed today. You have the gift of magic that no robot will ever have: We call it language and story-telling and these are the things that you are good at.
I am saying that by encouraging documentary efforts outside the scope of the contemporary zeitgeist we create a zone of safekeeping for historical records and their stories for a time when we are ready to reconsider them.
I am saying that all those works not yet deemed worthy of a scholar’s attention still have value to people and their inclusion within a larger body of work is an important and powerful gesture for encouraging participation. Consider the authority record as a kind of gateway drug to scholarship.
internet  data  curation  waggledance  digitalhumanities  aaronstraupcope  glvo  cv  storytelling  human  humans  art  archives  search  google  metadata  language  robots  whatmatters  choices  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] "an index of reality"
"it turns out that in 10.7 + file vault not only encrypts your disk but rewrites the firmware
so if you forget your password (like me on my ... laptop last week) you're basically fucked"
mac  apple  filevault  security  aaronstraupcope  via:rodcorp 
august 2012 by robertogreco
An Essay on the New Aesthetic | Beyond The Beyond | Wired.com
[New URL: http://www.wired.com/2012/04/an-essay-on-the-new-aesthetic/
See also: http://booktwo.org/notebook/sxaesthetic/
http://www.aaronland.info/weblog/2012/03/13/godhelpus/#sxaesthetic
http://www.joannemcneil.com/new-aesthetic-at-sxsw/
http://noisydecentgraphics.typepad.com/design/2012/03/sxsw-the-new-aesthetic-and-commercial-visual-culture.html
http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2012/03/sxsw-the-new-aesthetic-and-writing.html ]

"The “New Aesthetic” is a native product of modern network culture. It’s from London, but it was born digital, on the Internet. The New Aesthetic is a “theory object” and a “shareable concept.”

The New Aesthetic is “collectively intelligent.” It’s diffuse, crowdsourcey, and made of many small pieces loosely joined. It is rhizomatic, as the people at Rhizome would likely tell you. It’s open-sourced, and triumph-of-amateurs. It’s like its logo, a bright cluster of balloons tied to some huge, dark and lethal weight.

There are some good aspects to this modern situation, and there are some not so good ones."

"That’s the big problem, as I see it: the New Aesthetic is trying to hack a modern aesthetic, instead of thinking hard enough and working hard enough to build one. That’s the case so far, anyhow. No reason that the New Aesthetic has to stop where it stands at this moment, after such a promising start. I rather imagine it’s bound to do otherwise. Somebody somewhere will, anyhow."
machinevision  glitches  digitalaccumulation  walterbenjamin  socialmedia  bots  uncannyvalley  surveillance  turingtest  renderghosts  imagerecognition  imagery  beauty  cern  postmodernity  hereandnow  temporality  pixels  culturalagnosticism  london  theory  networkculture  theoryobjects  smallpieceslooselyjoined  collectiveintelligence  digitalage  digital  modernism  aesthetics  vision  robots  cubism  impressionism  history  artmovements  machine-readableworld  russelldavies  benterrett  siliconrounsabout  art  marcelduchamp  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  sxsw  brucesterling  2012  newaesthetic  crowdsourcing  rhizome  aaronstraupcope  thenewaesthetic 
april 2012 by robertogreco
straup/parallel-flickr @ GitHub
"parallel-flickr is a tool for backing up your Flickr photos and generating a database backed website that honours the viewing permissions you've chosen on Flickr.

parallel-flickr is still a work in progress. It ain't pretty or classy yet but it works."

[See also: http://www.aaronland.info/weblog/2011/10/14/pixelspace/#parallel-flickr ]
flickr  backup  opensource  photography  tools  api  2011  parallel-flickr  aaronstraupcope 
november 2011 by robertogreco
MoMA | Talk to Me BETA | prettymaps, Beijing, Manhattan, and Tokyo
"Polymaps, Mapnik, and TileStache software

prettymaps are interactive maps that integrate data from freely available sources into multidimensional renderings of different places. The application pulls geographic data from open-mapping projects—including street-level data from OpenStreetMap, land-formation data from Natural Earth, and place-specific data from Flickr—and plots them atop one another. Users can view the maps at varying degrees of detail, zooming from a view of the world to a view of a single neighborhood. They are visually striking, with cities transformed into colorful abstractions, but the shapes are recognizable for anyone already familiar with the terrain."
prettymaps  maps  mapping  beijing  manhattan  nyc  moma  tokyo  polymaps  mapnik  tilestache  cities  2011  talktome  aaronstraupcope 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Dotspotting
"There's currently a whole chain of elements involved in building digital civic infrastructure for the public, & these are represented by various Stamen projects & others. At the moment, the current hodgepodge of bits—including APIs & official sources, scraped websites, sometimes-reusable data formats & datasets, visualizations, embeddable widgets etc—is fractured, overly technical & obscure, held in knowledge base of a relatively small number of people, & requires considerable expertise to harness. That is, unless you're willing to use generic tools like Google Maps, & agree to terms of service which allow them to share your content w/ other people. We want to change this. Visualizing city data shouldn't be this hard, proprietary, or generic.

So the first part of this project is to start from scratch, in a 'clean room' environment. We've started from a baseline that's really straightforward, tackling the simplest part: getting dots on maps, without legacy code or any baggage."

[Quote from: http://content.stamen.com/working_on_the_knight_moves AND http://content.stamen.com/knight_news_challenge_update ]
stamendesign  maps  mapping  stamen  mashup  dotspotting  aaronstraupcope 
december 2010 by robertogreco
prettymaps
"prettymaps is an experimental map from Stamen Design. It is an interactive map composed of multiple freely available, community-generated data sources:

All the Flickr shapefiles rendered as a semi-transparent white ground on top of which all the other layers are displayed.

Urban areas from Natural Earth both as a standalone layer and combined with Flickr shapefiles for cities and neighbourhoods.

Road, highway and path data collected by the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project.

In all there are four different raster layers and six data layers (that means all the map data is sent in its raw form and rendered as visual elements by the browser) that may be visible depending on the bounding box and zoom level of the map."
cartography  crowdsourcing  flickr  stamen  maps  osm  mapping  location  openstreetmap  agitpropproject  the2837university  aaronstraupcope 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Archives & Museum Informatics: Museums and the Web 2010: Papers: Cope, A.S., Buckets and Vessels
"With the mass of digital "stuff" growing around us every day and simple tools for self-organization evolving beyond individuals into communities of suggestions, is the curatorial prerogative itself becoming a social object?

This paper examines the act of association, the art of framing and the participatory nature of robots in creating artifacts and story-telling in projects like Flickr Galleries, the API-based Suggestify project (which provides the ability to suggest locations for other people's photos) and the increasing number of bespoke (and often paper-based) curatorial productions."
curation  archives  archive  art  flickr  galleries  geotagging  commons  stamen  museums  21stcenturyskills  21stcentury  communities  community  paper  social  data  aaronstraupcope 
april 2010 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] milkshake whispering
"I love this map. I love that the map shows the location of the store relative to the neighbourhood it lives in but then, literally, leaves the rest up to the person using the map turning the whole thing in to a bit of an adventure. "Go to the corner of Market and Castro then head towards Bernal Hill. If you hit the 101, turn around because you've gone to far. Welcome to the Mission: Tell us what you saw." I wondered what the people in Duboce Triangle had ever done to warrant a three-dollar surcharge on everything but this is San Francisco where you learn to suspend your disbelief about these kinds of things."
flickr  delivery  geography  geo  local  maps  mapping  aaronstraupcope 
april 2010 by robertogreco
user research friday (tecznotes)
"Flickr's ability to successfully respond with this kind of deft flexibility to a crisis is a result of a caring, trusting relationship between site & users. This relationship seems to extend to all areas of the site...

The negative way of phrasing my argument is that it's hard to test everything, and doubly hard to test new things. Some stuff you just have to push out into the world and see what happens.

The positive way of phrasing my argument is that for the astonishing and the novel, you're better off pushing your ideas into the real world early, and testing with the reactions of real people who aren't self-consciously test subjects. Start small, listen carefully to your users, and grow in the direction where they want to take you. Give yourself room to fail, and understand that the trust of your fellow travelers is an important part of the equation.

The doubly-positive way of phrasing my argument is Just Effing Do It."
community  flickr  innovation  stamen  tcsnmy  usertesting  userresearch  research  small  testing  michalmigurski  twitter  walkingpapers  maps  mapping  trust  lcproject  care  do  doing  iteration  honesty  aaronstraupcope 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Code: Flickr Developer Blog » Living In the Donut Hole
"Cities long ago stopped being defined by the walls that surround(ed) them. There is probably no better place in the world to see this than Barcelona which first burst out of its Old City with the construction of the Example at the end of the 19th century and then again, after the wars, pushed further out towards the hills and rivers that surround it. ... But maybe we should also map the neighbourhoods that aren’t considered the immediate children of a city but which overlap its boundaries. What if you could call an API method to return the list or the shape of a place’s “cousins”? What could that tell us about a place?"
maps  mapping  flickr  neighborhoods  geodata  place  cities  boundaries  via:migurski  shapes  geolocation  emergence  politicalvsperceptual  agitpropproject  the2837university  shapefiles  aaronstraupcope 
january 2009 by robertogreco

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