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robertogreco : cooper-hewitt   30

Darning Sampler | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"When we talk about sustainability, why don’t we talk about mending?

The Netherlands-based Platform 21=Repairing project and its offshoot, Repair Cafés, do just that. Platform 21=Repairing published a manifesto extolling the benefits of mending, and the Repair Cafés bring together skilled tinkerers and those with items in need of repair together in a free social space over tea and coffee. Both of these initiatives engage the community, promote the sharing of hand skills, and resurrect a culture of caring enough to repair.

This darning sampler is also Dutch and was made in 1735 by a girl of about 12. She was confronted with a piece of fabric with 17 square-cut holes and with all four corners cut away. In the center and lower right corner she carefully darned the missing bits back into place and the rest she repaired with needle weaving (what you might call re-weaving if you were at the dry cleaners with a hole in your favorite wool pants). Each hole is filled in, thread by thread, with a different woven pattern to demonstrate the girl’s skill at repairing weave structures found in common household and clothing textiles such as herringbone, birds-eye twill, etc. Bright colors were originally selected to make it easier for the instructor to check for accuracy, but also contribute to a wonderfully fresh and modern overall effect.

While the textile industry is striving along with other industries to create fabrics from recycled, rapidly renewable or organic materials, the only truly sustainable option is to consume less. This sampler shows a reverence for the humble everyday objects that fill our homes (such as napkins, dishtowels, jeans, etc.) that we cannot afford not to emulate."

[Also here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BKmn7ktj6T2/ ]
cooper-hewitt  sustainability  via:litherland  clothing  fashion  textiles  fabrics  reuse  mending  glvo  repair  repairing  slow  recycling  platform21  darning  susanbrown  consumption 
september 2016 by robertogreco
A Textile Collage | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Tsugihagi was designed by Reiko Sudo (b. 1953), one of Japan’s most important contemporary textile designers. Educated at Musashino Art University, she is currently managing director of the Japanese company and store NUNO where she has been since 1984. NUNO produces textiles of extraordinary ingenuity and beauty. Sudo and the other designers at NUNO combine tradition and advanced technologies with remarkable creativity, which led them to the forefront of textile design field.

In 1996, NUNO began working with various kinds of embroidery techniques to create new effects. Tsugihagi, designed in 1997, is a delicate combination of embroidery and collage techniques made with remnants of NUNO fabrics that are laid out to cover the surface of a base fabric. The remnants are stitched down by sewing machine, and the base fabric is dissolved away leaving a lacy and net-like patchwork of different fabrics. Each piece is unique and twenty years later they continue to produce these textiles. Tsugihagi can be used as a window covering or for other interior purposes. This type of embroidery technique, in which the ground fabric is destroyed, began in the early 1880s when protein fibers like silk or wool were more than likely used because they could be dissolved by a solution of caustic soda or potash, leaving the embroidery thread of cellulose fibers like cotton or linen intact."
reikosudo  japan  textiles  glvo  cooper-hewitt  matildamcquaid  design  art  fabrics  embroidery  collage  nuno  sewing  remnants  reuse  sustainability 
september 2016 by robertogreco
No-waste Cotton Cape | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Resourcefulness has been a key component of Japanese life for centuries. In design, one sees this most dramatically with materials and objects being repurposed, recycled, or reused. This nineteenth-century cloak is called Hikimawashi kappa, which literally means pull-around (hikimawashi) cape or raincoat (kappa). Capes were not common in sixteenth-century Japan. This style was modeled on the Capa overcoat, which Spanish missionaries wore in the Momoyama era (1573–1615). The raincoat would originally have been made waterproof with tohyu-gami, oil paper made from the paulownia tree, which would have been encased between the lining and the outer layer. Kappa became a more prevalent outerwear garment during the Meiji era.

This cape-like raincoat with a stand-up collar is tied around the neck by bone clasps and belted at the waist by a knotted cord. This garment is made from leftover indigo-dyed homespun cotton collected from home production or purchased from local commercial weavers. Traditionally, broken yarn of random colors was collected after weaving. They were reused to create new fabrics called zanshi-ori, zanshi meaning “vestige” or “leftover.” Cotton thread was a precious commodity during the late Edo period in rural Japan and none was wasted, regardless of how rough or worn. For instance, if the lengths of yarn were not long enough, they were simply knotted together to create a longer strand with varied shades of blue. Because of the use of highly diverse remnant threads in the weft, combined with a more regulated warp, an overall pattern of irregular striations is created. This raincoat boasts a unique woven texture with very fine dark blue warps and thick recycled cotton wefts. It also reflects a spirit of eco-friendly and sustainable textiles and the idea of constantly finding ways to repurpose materials at hand, with nothing wasted in production."
matildamcquaid  cooper-hewitt  design  japan  clothing  clothes  glvo  textiles  resourcefulness  capes  weaving  remnants  reuse  sustainability 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Reclaiming Paper and Textiles | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Newsworthy is a wallpaper made of recycled newspaper and nylon filament. It is designed by New York-based textile designer Lori Weitzner and is woven in India on traditional handlooms using the coiled newsprint for the weft and nylon filaments as the warp. After the paper is woven, it is shipped back to the United States where it is paper backed to facilitate being pasted to the wall. The weaving process is handled by Xylem Papercraft, a design studio in Noida outside of Delhi, India, that manufactures and exports handmade paper for stationery products distributed globally. The company won the UNESCO seal of Excellence in 2006 for its innovative and sustainable approach, working mostly with paper waste and other reclaimed materials.

Xylem has also produced the one-of-a-kind covers of the newly published book Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse. In the spirit of the book’s content dedicated to recovering textile waste, the covers are done of hand block-printing textile padding cloths. Traditionally hand block-printing is made on a padded table covered with a muslin backing cloth called achada in Indian. With each impression, ink is deposited on the textile, but also bleeds through the padded surface below. Over time, fragments of a variety of patterns and colors accumulate on the backing cloth, which must be changed every few days. These discarded achada were used for the cover of Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse."
fashion  textiles  cooper-hewitt  recycling  glvo  loriweitzer  delhi  india  xylem  design  achada 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Scraps Stories | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Welcome to the blog series Scraps Stories, where we explore sustainable textiles and fashion in relation to the Cooper Hewitt exhibition Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse.

The exhibition and catalog present three designers’ approaches to addressing the issue of pre-consumer textile waste. The blog will broaden the discussion, exploring current concerns over the alarming social and environmental impact of fashion and textile production. It will also explore positive steps being made by designers and manufacturers to develop solutions, as well as look at past and present global traditions of repair, reuse, and recycling of textiles and clothing.

Please join this important conversation about the impact of the decisions we make about our clothing.  Comments and information sharing are welcome!"

[posts: http://www.cooperhewitt.org/?s=scraps+stories&count=100 ]
scraps  cooper-hewitt  textiles  2016  design  sustainability  fashion  reuse  waste  recycling  repair  slow 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Green Glossary: A for Artisanal | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Artisanal work is a practice that relies on hand skills to produce distinctive objects on a small scale, outside the industrial system. Promoting artisanal production by working with skillful artisans and prioritizing the handmade is a good alternative to the “$5 t-shirt” industry that is responsible for alarming overproduction and waste. Since the 1960s, drastic changes have affected the fashion industry, shifting from small made-to-order and artisanal runs to globalized and highly industrialized collections in order to reach lower prices, sell more, and make more profit. This phenomenon has led to a severe loss of value and quality of garments. Quality of craftsmanship is a key component to ensure the lasting value and durability of our clothes. “Slow Fashion” takes its inspiration from the concept of “Slow Food,” a movement started in Italy by Carlo Petrini in the late 1980s that encouraged a sustainable agriculture with slower production schedules, fair wages for the farmers and lower carbon footprints. American fashion brands such as dosa by Christina Kim, one of the three designers presented in SCRAPS: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse, Alabama Chanin, a label founded by Natalie Chanin, and Study NY directed by New-York-based designer Tara Saint James, all embrace a similar way of designing and producing clothing.

Christina Kim has indexed a variety of artisanal techniques, textiles, people, and organizations and has shared this list on dosa’s website in the form of a beautifully illustrated glossary. Each entry includes a picture, a short description, indication of geographical origin, and tells how it entered the company’s history. This approach not only provides better quality and longevity to the garments, but it also changes the dynamics between designers, makers, and users and raises awareness of the craft of clothes-making."
clothes  artisanal  design  glvo  textiles  small  slow  fabrics  slowfashion  carlopetrini  christinakim  creativereuse  reuse  longevity  quality  nataliechanin  alabamachanin  scraps  magalianberthon  cooper-hewitt 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Life of a Jamdani | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Jamdani is a Persian term for the extremely fine handwoven figured muslins made in India and Bangladesh. Thicker cotton threads laid individually into the weft produce the illusion of a suspended pattern on the surface of an almost transparent cloth. Intricate color motifs seem to float on the cloth. Jamdani is generally thought to have derived from jam-daar, a Persian weaving term for floral art in cotton thread, there are other possible sources, including jama, the Bengali word for dress.

The system of production, from dyeing thread to setting up the loom, is determined by the length of jamdani’s most marketable end-product, a sari. Looms are set up with warps eleven meters long, each warp yielding two saris, 5.5 meters in length. The patterns in these two saris will not be repeated again by the weaver.

Producing jamdani is very labor intensive with specialties divided amongst workers by religion, village and especially gender. Pit looms are still used and the original throw shuttle has been replaced by a more mechanical technique using a fly shuttle, which is faster and more efficient, but still depends upon the hand for guidance. The best quality jamdani is produced from locally grown fine cotton and is always woven during the monsoon season when the humid air prevents the fine threads from becoming brittle and breaking. Traditionally the plain weave background was white, off-white or grey, though today, colors are chosen from a vibrant array.

In fall of 2001, Christina Kim, founder of the clothing and accessories line dosa, attended a handloom fair in Ahmedabad, India where she was inspired by the transparency and unusual mix of colors and bold patterns of jamdani fabrics. Working within the eleven-meter format and tied to the idiosyncrasies of the individual weaver, Kim began to use jamdani in her designs for dosa.

Since 2003 she has used 11,000 meters of jamdani. The cloth is shipped to Los Angeles (the headquarters of dosa), where it is cut and sewn into garments. Remnants from this clothing production have been collected from the cutting room to make shopping bags, and since 2007 are inventoried, catalogued, and sorted by size and color to make new running yardage. The scraps for the new fabrics are reassembled in Gujarat, India.

This recycled panel is made of large remnants of plain, pattern-less jamdani, joined to make a four-meter base cloth onto which smaller, patterned scraps are positioned and basted into place. Hand appliqué adds another layer of texture to the patchwork cloth. Representing ideas of sustainability, longevity, and preciousness, Christine Kim’s jamdanis give new life to pieces of cloth."
textiles  design  persia  india  bangladesh  christinakim  jamdani  recycling  appliqué  cloth  longevity  sustainability  preciousness  fabrics  glvo  cooper-hewitt  matildamcquaid 
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
UCSD, Parsons and the Cooper Hewitt: Institutions of education and culture making a commitment to design's intellectually-oriented practice - Core77
"Last week we mentioned how governments were dabbling in discursive design, and this week three major educational and cultural institutions weighed in with different forms of support for this intellectual arm of design practice.

Perhaps the biggest news was the announcement by the University of California San Diego (UCSD) starting a new undergraduate major, Speculative Design. Within the Department of Visual Arts, known for an emphasis on experimental art and the resistance of commercial art and even commercial fine art, the inclusion of design to its offerings was not without some initial resistance. As its Chair, Jack M. Greenstein reflected upon the genesis of the program three or four years ago: with "design so closely related to product and marketing…we couldn't really foresee how this would work."

This rejection of design due to its relationship with commerce has long been a point of tension within schools of art, sometimes resulting bad blood, formal schisms, and even banishment. The same reason that UCSD eventually found that speculative design made sense for them—that it is ultimately idea-based and shares many of the same goals as experimental art—is precisely why it can be discounted by mainstream design.

Just as it has taken the good part of a century for schools of design to emerge (rather than having industrial design, for example, located in schools of architecture, schools of engineering, and schools of art) discursive design has not found a singular home in academia. But similar to corporate product development processes where design is seen as the link between marketing, manufacturing, and engineering, discursive design can be the bridge between art, technology, and more traditional design education.

As opposed to UCSD's seeming emphasis on discursive design's more artistic capacities, the MIT Media Lab stresses its value in the technological sphere. Their Design Fiction Group, under the leadership of Hiromi Ozaki (a.k.a. Sputniko!) is particularly interested in prospective students "with a strong interest in emerging technologies" and with "backgrounds in synthetic biology, bioengineering, and electronics." And certainly many industrial design programs are looking at discursive design projects and courses as a way to extend the cultural reach of design as part of an expanded notion of 21st century practice.

As part of UCSD's launch event for the program, Fiona Raby gave the keynote speech, presenting the many and influential projects of her co-run studio, Dunne and Raby. This occurred just a day after The New School's Parsons School of Design publicly announced that she and Anthony Dunne were beginning a "new gig" within their School of Design Strategies.

In moving from their celebrated positions at the Royal College of Art, Parsons can offer them a broader collaborative community. Raby says, "In joining The New School, I will be able to not only work with faculty and students to explore new forms of socially engaged practice in relation to emerging technology, but also collaborate with some amazing people in disciplines like anthropology and political theory, which Anthony and I haven't been able to connect with before."

While their positions include teaching, they are also going to be driving collaborations with other universities, notably the MIT Media Lab. The hope, says Tim Marshall, The New School's provost, is that "their inspiration and insight will help our students to not only prepare for but also help shape our social and technological futures."

And it is this question of social and technological futures that Forbes contributor Johnathon Keats questions in, "Can the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial Save Us from the Next Global Die-Off?" Published a day after Raby's keynote and in anticipation of the Triennial's February 12th opening, Keats discusses several discursive design projects to be exhibited that deal with synthetic biology and questions of its relationship to how we might (have to) live our lives. Designers Daisy Ginsberg, Neri Oxman, and Ana Rajcevic exhibit objects and images of hypothetical creatures, synthetic organs, and animal-inspired prosthetics for humans.

These uses of current and future synthetic biology and bioengineering are of course not predictions, but provocations. As UCSD professor, Benjamin Bratton stated in his insightful (and perhaps incite-ful) lecture just prior to Raby's keynote: "These technologies are Pharmakon [Socrates' term]: remedy and poison. Any perspective that emphasizes their positive or negative potential without assuming the inverse is incomplete or dishonest." The Cooper Hewitt as a cultural institution is trying in this way to keep us a little more honest.

In regard to this week's events from the UCSD program announcement, to Dunne and Raby's gig at Parsons, to the kickoff of the Triennial, we turn to Keats' for a helpful summation: "While more frequently found in art, this philosophical turn belongs equally in the realm of design, where it can problematize product development before manufacturers remake society in their own image. Moreover, design is the universal language of the modern world. Using design speculatively brings philosophy to everyone."

The "everyone" is certainly an ethnocentric oversight, given that discursive design is currently a product of and for the privileged world. But all of this is a start. In order to responsibly, substantively, and extensively deliver on this promise, we need even further academic emphasis, even more visionary practitioners, and even greater public engagement in discursive design's future.
Designers! Help future a future."

[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/705497337502642176

See also discussion here: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/705497387586842624 ]
speculativedesign  design  ycsd  cooper-hewitt  parsons  brucetharp  stephanietharp  jackgreenstein  discursivedesign  benjaminbratton  mitmedialab  hiromiozaki  designfiction  designfictiongroup  sputniko!anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  newschool  speculation  daisyginsberg  nerioxman  anarajcevic  medialab 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Tags | Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"We have 2,227 tags and this is page 1 of 62. The tags are sorted in ascending order by tag name."
tags  tagging  cooper-hewitt  collections  taxonomy 
june 2015 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
Labels, Digital Included, Assume New Importance at Museums - NYTimes.com
"“Labels have always been a big topic in museological practice,” said Seb Chan, director of digital and emerging media at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. He cites a blistering 1963 article, “Why Johnny Can’t Read Labels,” published in Curator: The Museum Journal. The author, George Weiner of the Smithsonian Institution, derided many midcentury museums as “veritable masterpieces of cryptography” because of terse, uninformative labels (called tombstones in curatorial jargon). He also railed against rambling labels “designed to frighten off all but the most persevering museum viewer.”

Some curators apparently use labels to show off their scholarship. (The Bad Label Hall of Fame website catalogs egregious examples.) “It often feels like museum labels are written for peers, not the public,” Mr. Chan said. Ms. Harland agreed. “If you need to write 50,000 words,” she advised colleagues, “do a talk for the local historical society.”

In a lecture, “Adventures in Label Land,” Ms. Rand, who tries to limit labels to about 50 words, highlights a vintage label that described a meteorite from the Field Museum in Chicago: “With the rise of the nickel content to around 14 percent, plessite prevails wholly, the kamacite becomes vestigial, and the structure becomes a nickel-rich ataxite (see label at right).” Written for mineralogists rather than families, the label, it seems, required its own label.

“The ‘label at right’ was a second, equally dense label,” Ms. Rand said.

Research by Stephen Bitgood, a psychology professor at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, proves that brevity pays off. Mr. Bitgood timed museum visitors reading a 150-word label and the same text divided into three 50-word panels. More than twice as many visitors read the shorter panels.

“Breaking down a long text passage into shorter ones changes the perception of the task, making it seem easier,” Mr. Bitgood wrote in an email. He likened labels to formal education. “If you break down a long chapter into smaller units and give a test for each unit, students do much better,” he said.

John Russick, director of curatorial affairs at the Chicago History Museum and coordinator of the annual label-writing competition by the American Alliance of Museums (winners get online accolades, not plaques), notices more experimental entries, including limericks and poems. To complement a portrait of the painter Waldo Peirce (who looked like Ulysses S. Grant), the de Young Museum in San Francisco published a poem by Ben Erickson, a fourth grader"



"Mr. Chan of the Cooper Hewitt previously worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia, one of the first to install Quick Response codes on labels, which provide visitors with smartphone access to an archive of information.

“We did it as an experiment and, of course, it failed,” Mr. Chan acknowledged. The codes now require a reader app, and many visitors resisted downloading it. “And that barrier is just too high for the casual person,” Mr. Chan said.

Learning from his mistake, Mr. Chan and his team at the Cooper Hewitt designed “the label whisperer,” software that enables visitors to snap a photo of a label and email it to an address, which then sends back the object’s collection records.

Visitors to the Cooper Hewitt, which reopened in December after a renovation lasting more than three years, will be able to borrow a pen, like a stylus, that interacts with Near-Field Communication technology incorporated into labels. “Behind each label there’s an N.F.C. tag,” Mr. Chan explained, “that allows you to basically collect objects as you walk around the galleries in a relatively straightforward way and then bring them back to explore on large interactive tables.”

Some museum directors view traditional labels as intrusive and would not object to a funeral for the so-called tombstones. In 2013, the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts staged a label-free exhibition of paintings by old masters. Instead, the museum set up iPad stations that focused on individual paintings and printed guides listing basic information, like the title, the artist’s name and the date it was acquired. Trained docents and museum guards milled about to act as truly interactive labels and provoke discussions with visitors about the art.

“Our ultimate goal in removing labels from the gallery walls was to create a deeper museum experience,” said the museum’s director, Matthias Waschek, by email. “We want our visitors to slow down and experience the art on their own terms.” The digitization of museums, he added, means that the landscape for labels “may be changing more radically than most of us dare to think.”"
museums  labels  museumdesign  cooper-hewitt  sebchan  matthiaswaschek  technology 
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
Universal Design: Myth or Reality? | Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
"Where did “universal design” come from, and where is it headed? Will our future be populated with products that work for everyone, or we will increasingly use devices customized for an audience of one? How do we acknowledge individual differences while building a more accessible world?

Join Gianfranco Zaccai (Continuum), Jon Marshall (MAP Project office), Scott Summit (3D Systems), Rie Nørregaard (Quirky), and moderator Aimi Hamraie (Vanderbilt University) for a spirited conversation about the origins and future of universal design and accessibility."
design  cooper-hewitt  universaldesign  2015  gianfrancozaccai  jonmarshall  scottsummit  rienørregaard  aimihamraie  accessibility  audiencesofone 
january 2015 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
The Virtues of Promiscuity — CODE | WORDS: Technology and Theory in the Museum — Medium
"Museums would do well to learn a thing or two from Jansen, and focus more on the creating and spreading the “digital DNA” of our shared cultural heritage and less on controlling access to those assets. This is a call to be both more promiscuous and more discriminating in what we share and how. I know that sounds contradictory, but bear with me.

Museums’ current survival strategy is not unlike those of creatures that have evolved on remote islands. We have gotten very good at passing on one model of “museum” from generation to generation. We may have developed elaborate plumage and interesting displays, but these mask the underlying sameness of the idea we pass on. As long as the larger ecosystem evolved slowly, museums could adapt and keep pace. The global internet has shattered that isolation for good, and in the new ecosystem our current reproductive specialization will not continue to serve us well. Insularity — the tendency to look inward, ignore the larger world and produce institutions that are increasingly self-referential, self-pleasing, and obscure to the billions of potential museumgoers — is a strategy for extinction.

For Jansen, encouraging others to build on his idea of Strandbeests is a reproductive and evolutionary strategy. His best hope for the survival of his creations beyond his lifetime is to let them loose for others to tinker with. Survival (and further evolution) lies in spread. Cynthia Coburn gave a fascinating talk at the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning conference in 2014 on scale and spread. If you’re at all interested in dissemination of ideas, it’s worth reading. One thing that struck me from her talk and the paper from which it was distilled are that we tend to be imprecise about what we mean when we talk about “doing more!” Unpacking that, Coburn finds that there are “fundamentally different ways of conceptualizing the goals or outcomes of scale. We identify four: adoption, replication, adaptation, and reinvention.” For this essay, I’m most interested in the fourth outcome. This way of thinking about spread Coburn describes as, “the result of a process whereby local actors use ideas, practices, or tools as a jumping-off point for innovation.”"



"Promiscuity connects museums to maker communities. Community interaction and knowledge sharing are often mediated through networked technologies, with websites and social media tools forming the basis of knowledge repositories and a central channel for information sharing and exchange of ideas, and focused through social meetings in shared spaces such as hackspaces.

This latest eruption of interest in self-guided learning and doing has a long, distinguished lineage. Computer hobbyists, ham radio enthusiasts, and even the model railroad enthusiasts at the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT, who gave us the modern meaning of “hacking” could claim to be “makers.” They were all communities of interest who came together to explore their passions and help each other out. The difference this time is the spread that the Internet makes possible. The 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire drew a crowd of 120,000 attendees over a weekend. “Making” with a capital M is now a firmly established subculture, and part of a growing economic sector.

Promiscuity allows museums to be participatory culture advocates. Henry Jenkins may have coined the term “participatory culture” in 2005, but the idea of a world where individuals are producers of culture, instead of just passive consumers, has been around a long time. I’ve got a dog-eared paper that I’ve toted around for years with a quote from the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihályi which reads, “Creating culture is always more rewarding than consuming it.” As someone who’s worked the cultural/creative sector my whole life, I know the truth of this statement. What might the world look like if we not only preserved and exhibited examples of human creative expression but also more actively encouraged that creative impulse in everyone we serve?

This kind of digital promiscuity also nicely aligns museums with the Open Culture movement. “Open” is already on track to supplant “participatory” as buzzword of the year, with good reason. The proliferation of groups supporting and encouraging openness in the cultural/creative sector is impressive. Wikimedia, Creative Commons, the Open Knowledge Foundation, free software advocates, open-source software advocates: the list gets longer all the time."



"The promiscuous spread of digital assets is a key factor in delivering on museums’ missions to educate, inform, stimulate, and enrich the lives of the people of the planet we live on. Merete Sanderhoff, in the excellent Sharing is Caring lays it out clearly,"
“Digital resources should be set free to form commons — a cultural quarry where users across the world can seek out and find building blaocks for their own personal learning.”

The more we sow these seeds of culture and the more effective we are at seeing those seeds take root, the more likely museums are to see cultural ideas persevere in the constantly-changing world.

"Promiscuity is one way to demolish the perception of exclusivity that has dogged museums for longer than I’ve been around. I realize that this virtue is by far the most painful, because it would force us as memory institutions to lay bare lots of things of things we’d rather not have to deal with: legacies of imperialism and colonialism, tensions between indigenous peoples and more recent arrivals. The history of the relations between Native Americans and museums is not the most cordial, at least in part because the perception that some museums are probably hiding things they don’t want tribes to know about is almost impossible to counter. Promiscuity offers a way to end that particular debate.

The “global village” the Internet has created is real, and now it is possible for a museum of any size to have global reach, provided they have anything to share. As Michael Edson pointed out in his introduction to Sharing is Caring, 34% of humanity is now reachable online. That’s 2.4 billion people who might be interested in your content.

One of the most interesting and infuriating changes in attitude that the Web has wrought is the expectation of finding everything. Not being visible online now is the equivalent of not existing."



"Creating digital analogues of our existing museums is a straitjacket that will not serve us well going forward. Making a virtual museum (in addition to sounding hopelessly 90s), regardless of the technology underlying it, fails to take into account the reality of how people consume digital content. They don’t go to museum websites. Jon Voss of HistoryPin made the statement that you have to meet people where they are, not where you wish they were. Museum websites, the traditional place for museums’ online presence, are not those places, so plowing resources into making bigger, swankier ones is a waste of resources that might be deployed in ways that actually reach a global audience."



"Merete Sanderhoff lists three problems this inability to be promiscuous creates:

1. By putting up impediments museums are pushing users away from authoritative sources of information.

2. We are missing out on the the opportunity to become hubs for people. The social gravity that museums could generate is largely unrealized.

3. By not using these new tools that are at our disposal, museums undermine their own raisons d’être."
museums  ideas  theojansen  2014  edrodley  open  openness  openculture  culturecreation  promiscuity  henryjenkins  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  darkmatter  rijksmuseum  cooper-hewitt  measurement  sebchan  kovensmith  michaeledson  visibility  exclusivity  sharing  maretesanderhoff  participatory 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Preview: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum | New at Pentagram
"Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum today announces a new name and graphic identity, custom typeface and website to accompany the expansion of the museum, which will open to the public on November 14. Designed by Pentagram’s Eddie Opara and team, the bold identity establishes a flexible branding system for the museum built around a new custom typeface, Cooper Hewitt, created by Chester Jenkins of Village.

Opara and his team worked closely with Cooper Hewitt and Jenkins to develop the identity. Located in the historic Andrew Carnegie Mansion in New York, Cooper Hewitt is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the group of 19 museums and galleries administered by the U.S. government and popularly known as the “nation’s attic.” In a first, the new Cooper Hewitt identity has been conceived as a design that truly belongs to the people: The identity also exists as a new typeface that will be made available free to the public, who are encouraged to utilize it in their own designs. The font has also been acquired for the museum’s permanent collection.

“We are spreading good design by making our elegant new typeface, Cooper Hewitt, available as a free download on cooperhewitt.org, as well as collecting it as an important example of the design process,” says Cooper Hewitt director Caroline Baumann. “We look forward to seeing how the public uses this new design tool in their lives.”

Opara also helped develop the museum’s new name. Formerly the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the new name replaces “National” with “Smithsonian” and eliminates the hyphen, simplifying the brand while emphasizing its heritage.

Iconic, engaging and highly functional, the new Cooper Hewitt wordmark forms a perfect rectangle that can easily be scaled, positioned and colorized without losing its strong visual presence. There is an intriguing relationship between the words “COOPER” and “HEWITT” in the new identity: Set normally, the words are different widths. Here, each character has been tailored to help define the overall typographic frame. The wordmark has been expressly designed to serve as the basis for a wide variety of uses.

“Cooper Hewitt’s new identity plays it straight, with no play on visual or theoretical complexity, no puzzling contradiction or ambiguity, no distracting authorship,” says Opara. “Function is its primary goal, and ultimately the logo is important, but not as important as what the museum does.”

In some applications the new Cooper Hewitt wordmark will be accompanied by the signature “Smithsonian Design Museum,” which uses the Smithsonian’s existing identity, designed by Chermayeff and Geismar in 1997 and set in the contrasting serif typeface Minion Pro.

The Cooper Hewitt typeface is a contemporary sans serif with characters comprised of modified geometric curves and arches. The font evolved from a customization of Galaxie Polaris Condensed that Opara originally commissioned for the identity. Jenkins designed a new, purely digital form built on the structure of Polaris. The new font is redrawn from scratch, using the existing forms of Polaris as a rough guide.

Cooper Hewitt will be available as a free download as installable fonts, web font files, and open source code on cooperhewitt.org. Widely used across all Cooper Hewitt media and collateral—from object labels to the museum website—the unique font will become closely associated with its namesake.

Opara and his team have also redesigned the Cooper Hewitt website with a modular format that complements the physical transformation of museum and serves the expanding digital needs of the institution. Optimized for mobile devices, the design makes Cooper Hewitt’s activities, collections, programs and content easily accessible to visitors. The site, currently in beta, is being implemented in WordPress by Matcha Labs, in conjunction with the museum’s in-house digital team. Opara and his team have also created an extensive collateral systems for the various museum departments, including membership, education and the shop.

Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and his team are currently developing signage and wayfinding based on the new identity, to be introduced with the museum’s reopening in November. The revitalization of the museum includes a major expansion and renovation developed in collaboration by Gluckman Mayner Architects and executive architect Beyer Blinder Belle, with reconfigured galleries designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Opara and his team are collaborating with DS+R on the exhibition design and labeling system for the galleries, which utilize a digital collecting device for a unique user experience."

[See also:
http://www.cooperhewitt.org/colophon/cooper-hewitt-the-typeface-by-chester-jenkins/
https://github.com/cooperhewitt/cooperhewitt-typeface ]
cooper-hewitt  design  typography  fonts  free  eddieopara  pentagram  chesterjenkins  2014  branding  identity  graphidesign  graphics 
june 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
The colours of tūhonohono « fog on water
"A few mornings ago I was sitting at my laptop drinking coffee. The previous evening’s Tūhonohono pairing was open in one tab and a Cooper-Hewitt object detail page in the next. My tired mind folded one into the other. I started wondering what Virginia’s year of photography would looks like if the subjects faded away and the dominant colours expanded to fill the image.

So, I started playing…

First, I needed some data. I wrote a mini-harvester to scrape post details and download the images from Tūhonohono’s monthly archive pages. The code isn’t exactly crash hot, but it does the job. Then it was on to the fun playing with colour stuff.

As noted above, the Cooper-Hewitt colour classification code partitions RGB colour space into a finite set of buckets. An algorithm inspects each image, assigning every pixel to a colour bucket according to Euclidean distance. This technique works really well for the Cooper-Hewitt and it makes a heap of sense if you want to search across colours.

I travelled a slightly different route. Instead of matching pixels to a small set of predetermined colours, I used a machine learning technique called k-means clustering to divide similar pixels into groups to find dominant colours. The clever way k-means clustering mashes together nearest-neighbour analysis with Voronoi polygons makes it a great method for finding approximate clusters centres when you’re unconcerned about the partition borders. I also like that the results emphasise distinctness over raw frequency counts. I began writing my own clustering algorithm before stumbling across a Python implementation by Charles Leifer, which I used without modification.

With metadata and colours in hand, I started playing with the photographs. I was unsure what I was making except that I wanted to see all of the colours in Virginia’s year at once and there a sense of dynamism. I wanted the screen to pulse and change and fade and glow. The colours of Tūhonohono is a small attempt to share what has been like to follow this photography project over the course of the year. I wanted to provide a space for people to make their own connections from Virginia’s photographs. It is a thing built out of impressions, glimpses and intuition. And I think that’s all I have to say about it."
tūhonohono  code  color  data  datavisualization  cooper-hewitt  virginiagow  photography  chrismcdowall  visualization 
december 2013 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
Hive NYC Learning Network
[From the about page, which also includes a great directory of organizations.]

"Hive NYC Learning Network is a Mozilla project that was founded through The MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative to fuel collaborations between cultural organizations to create new learning pathways and innovative education practices together. Hive NYC is composed of fifty-six non-profit organizations—museums, libraries, after-school clubs and informal learning spaces—that create Connected Learning opportunities for youth. Network members have access to funding to support this work through The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust.

Core Beliefs:
• School is not the sole provider in a community’s educational system
• Youth need to be both sophisticated consumers and active producers of digital media
• Learning should be driven by youth’s interests
• Digital media and technology are the glue and amplifier for connected learning experiences
• Out-of-school time spaces are fertile grounds for learning innovation
• Organizations must collaborate to thrive

Hive NYC operates as a city-based learning lab, where members network with each other, share best practices and pedagogies, learn about and play with new technologies, participate in events, and most importantly, collaborate to create learning opportunities for NYC youth. As part of the network, members have access to the following support and services:

• Strategic guidance in seeking funding through the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in the New York Community Trust
• Brokered connections between member organizations based on shared ideas and potential programs
• Participation in events in and beyond New York City that illustrate the work of network members and promote Connected Learning principles, digital literacy AND webmaking skills
• Access to involvement with the NYC Department of Education and others seeking to build experimental and/or sustainable partnerships with Hive NYC
• Opportunity to promote new, programs and events through Hive NYC communications channels (blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), as well as youth and volunteer recruitment
• A knowledge exchange for members to share models, ideas, content, tools and best-practices with each other
• Professional Development sessions that develop staff through network peer mentoring, modeling and sharing
• Monthly, in-person meet-ups and conference calls that allow for members to share program updates, best practices, and learn about new opportunities
• Additional seed funding for technology development, research, etc.

Each year, more than 6,000 tweens and teens across NYC directly engage with Hive NYC. These youth take part in projects funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust, private and community events, and programs resulting from network partnerships. Another 330,000 youth are indirectly impacted by these efforts, and through the broad dissemination of innovations and programs developed within the network."

[See also: http://hiveresearchlab.org/ ]
nyc  hivenyclearning  mozilla  informallearning  self-directed  self-directedlearning  unschooling  deschooling  learning  youth  openstudioproject  lcproject  macarthurfoundation  homago  museums  ncmideas  afterschool  clubs  learningspaces  funding  professionaldevelopment  bestpractices  digitalliteracy  networkedlearning  networks  collaboration  digitalmedia  newmedia  technology  interestdriven  amnh  bankstreetcollege  beamcenter  brooklynmuseum  brooklynpubliclibrary  carnegiehall  centerforurbanpedagogy  citylore  children'smuseumofthearts  coderjojo  dreamyard  exposurecamp  eyebeam  facinghistoryandourselves  glovbalkids  grilswritenow  maketheroad  thelamp  nycsalt  parsons  reelworks  wagnercollege  worldup  wnyc  wnycradiorookies  urbanword  toked  thepoint  rubinmuseum  momi  nypl  moma  iridescentlearning  habitatmap  cooper-hewitt  commonsensemedia  brooklyn  bronx  manhattan  groundswell  mouse  downtowncommunitytelevision  globalactionproject  globalkids  instituteofplay  joanganzcooneycenter  people'sproductionhouse  radiorookies  stoked  queens  statenisland 
july 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
Unbuilding — Lined & Unlined
[now here: https://linedandunlined.com/archive/unbuilding ]

Here's another something that's too large to unpack in a quote or two or three or more, so just one, then read and view (many images) the rest.

"Unlike the thesis, Antithesis was an optional class. Instead of a constant, year-long process, it was interstitial, happening during a “down time” in the year. We didn’t really have class meetings — instead, I spent my time hanging out in the studio. Everyone loosened up. After thinking intensively about the thesis for 12 weeks, it was time to stop thinking about it — at least, consciously. The goal was not to keep pushing forward on the thesis but to get new projects started in parallel."

[video: https://vimeo.com/63008758 ]
completeness  sourcecode  viewsource  critique  susansontag  webdesign  aestheticpractice  criticalautonomy  canon  andrewblauvelt  billmoggridge  khoivinh  community  communities  livingdocuments  constitution  usconstitution  metaphors  metaphor  borges  telescopictext  joedavis  language  culturalsourcecode  cooper-hewitt  sebchan  github  johngnorman  recycling  interboropartners  kiva  pennandteller  jakedow-smith  pointerpointer  davidmacaulay  stevejobs  tednelson  humanconsciousness  consciousness  literacy  walterong  pipa  sopa  wikipedia  robertrauschenberg  willemdekooning  humor  garfieldminusgarfield  garfield  danwalsh  ruderripps  okfocus  bolognadeclaration  pedagogy  mariamontessori  freeuniversityofbozen-bolzano  openstudioproject  lcproject  tcsnmy  howweteach  cv  anti-hierarchy  hierarchy  autonomy  anti-autonomy  anti-isolation  anti-specialization  avant-garde  vanabbemuseum  charlesesche  understanding  knowing  socialsignaling  anyahindmarch  thinking  making  inquiry  random  informality  informal  interstitial  antithesis  action  non-action  anikaschwarzlose  jona 
november 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
[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

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