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robertogreco : patina   19

What I Learned from Watching My iPad’s Slow Death - The New York Times
"Fifteen years ago, before I would replace a desktop computer or a laptop, it would have quite conspicuously broken down, its fans getting louder, its spinning hard drive grinding to a halt. When I would replace it with something newer or faster or more capable, it would enter a promising second life: it could be repurposed as a spare, a computer for a friend, a terminal for playing old games or for doing undistracted work. It could be given to someone who could make use of it.

As I did when I first got it, I still use my old iPad for passive consumption: reading, watching videos, checking feeds. My routine has barely changed, but one by one, formerly easy tasks have become strained. Social apps have become slow, videos take longer to load and Safari can’t seem to handle the most important and fundamental services of the modern web.

As my iPad has aged, I’ve started to notice it more, not because I’m growing fonder, but because I’m getting frustrated: by the fact that it won’t do what it ought to or even what it used to. But what I find most frustrating of all is the gradual disappearance of all options other than buying a new iPad. I understand the reasons for this. I understand the concept of “planned obsolescence” less as a conspiracy than as the unfortunate but universal prerogative of dominant, profit-driven companies that make their money from selling hardware."
2018  johnherrmanipad  plannedobsolescence  technology  patina  obsolescence 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Prolegomenon to Future Patina Studies — Design Science — Medium
"Over the course of the next year or so, I will be formally studying patina in all of its forms and in fact I have already been studying it for the better part of a year. I hope to speak of degradable materials, of the aging of products, devices, technological objects, of what might be called “transient technology”, “obsolescence” etc. I want to speak of sustainable design as well, cradle-to-cradle design, the life cycles of designs, as well as concepts of “upcycling” and so forth, where “Patina” takes on newer and deeper meanings, as a reflection or representation of the passage of time, with all of the concepts, in design and other disciplines, that come with such treatments.

In the end, I hope to come to a “general notion of Patina” that is applicable to all disciplines or domains that make use of the term and concept. I will be modelling patination processes formally, mathematically, and corrosion processes more generally. As a corollary to the physical process of patination/oxidation/corrosion, I also want to treat the concept of the appreciation in value over time of certain cultural artifacts, like antique furniture, for instance. In fact, I will be using antique furniture a great deal as a kind of toy model for treating of ideas related to patina in general.

The basic idea, and my approach, will be to generalize my research findings. They key will be the generalizability of my findings, and that’s what is going to “inform” or “inspire” the artworks that I will be making, usually as didactic reference materials FOR the research itself, as a sort of accompaniment. I will be taking certain points and “highlighting” them with digital images, sounds, and other artifacts. Hopefully, I can generalize patina to much more than a mere time-varying surface effect. For instance, it will be interesting to see how the concept of patina applies to digital artifacts, but of non-representational and non-visual natures, like digital audio. Or else we will look at user interfaces and see the differences in paradigms and styles and so forth over time. I will also be looking at cinema and video in general (and all media considered to be fundamentally “time-based”).

Lastly, let me just say this. In essence, the arts have always had everything to do with time. In fact, everything that humans do always necessarily takes place IN time and OVER time. If I paraphrase Eric Berne, the founder of Transactional Analysis, then everything humans do is just so many different ways of “structuring time”. Objects in the world exist — persist! — in time. What I think that I can add as an interdisciplinary artist and researcher is a slightly deeper understanding of what I might call “Qualities of Time”.

That is to say, we are all familiar with the “chronological” aspect of time, time as it is measured, whether it is in seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so on. That is the time that clocks tell, let’s call it “quantitative time”. “Qualitative time”, then, or “Qualities of Time” // “Time-Qualities”, are different. If we go back to the “birth” if you will of the Still life composition in painting, one finds the Vanitas, the Memento Mori, which have everything to do with the passage of time. In the Vanitas tradition, one finds elements, objects, that represent time and its passage: a human skull, or a candle, walnuts, etc. These were all utilized because they could stand in as metaphors for Time, its passage, timeboundedness itself. The term itself, Vanitas, is said to come from the book of Ecclesiastes, specifically from the phrase “vanity of vanities; all is vanity”.

Painting itself, and all writing along with it, is a form of telling time in the sense that it leaves a “mark”. The cultural artifact itself, whether it is a Sumerian clay tablet or a medieval painting, is essentially a “mark” left by the passage of time, and of humans living at that time. Culture, then, can leave a “mark” on the overall environment or “milieu” if you will. Elsewhere and at another time, I hope to develop my theory of culture, especially of the concept of “habitance” which has to do with the marks that peoples and their cultures leave on the milieux that they “inhabit”. I mention all of this as background information that will become more and more useful as I study Patina.

For this formal study of Patina is not a study of Patina for its own sake; I hope to prove that in the arts & culture industry, nothing is ever only for its own sake. There is always more to come. It is always a work-in-progress, ongoing, unfinished, open-ended. This study of Patina is only the beginning."
patina  beausage  time  degradation  habitance  2016 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Another look at museum nostalgia – Suzanne Fischer
"The new issue of Curator includes a fascinating article about nostalgia in museum contexts. The authors, David Anderson, Hiroyuki Shimizu, and Chris Campbell, interviewed 35 visitors to a museum of Showa-era Japan about what objects and exhibits prompted them to feel nostalgia. (“…nostalgia is a pan-cultural emotion shared by all humans regardless of nation or culture,” they assert, drawing on psychology research.) Visitor answers tracked with what we often see anecdotally in museums: objects relating to visitors’ youths promote memories of rosy good old days. This particular museum is designed specifically as a place to revisit household items, product packaging, etc, from this era of prosperity, so it is unsurprising that visitors had the reactions they did, telling stories about their childhoods and what they described as vanished cultural values.

The authors propose a typology of nostalgia that arose from the research results:

1. Objects tied to collective identity and values perceived to be lost.

2. Objects used or consumed as part of visitors’ life scripts.

3. Objects associated with individuals dear to the visitor.

4. Objects associated with childhood.

5. Objects that invoked vicarious nostalgia.

The fifth theme is a useful one, “vicarious nostalgia,” a longing for a time one has not experienced. It is also, in my opinion, the most corrosive. It settles like dust over the things of the past and hardens into an unscrubbable patina. Svetlana Boym, the late author of The Future of Nostalgia, might describe it as “reflective nostalgia,” a nostalgia that focuses on the longing for another place, rather than what she calls “restorative nostalgia,” a nostalgia that hopes to recreate the past, and in which category all the rest of the themes reside.

It is useful, certainly, to have visitor studies backing up our hunches that, as the authors of the Curator paper put it, “Like old friends, museum exhibits hold the capacity to usher in a suite of nostalgic and heartfelt memories of loved ones and time of lives long gone.” But to what end? Ushering in a suite of nostalgic memories cannot be our goal in making history exhibits–and if it is, it is a cowardly goal. I believe that as public historians we have a responsibility to show the past with blinders off, to engage visitors with the parts of the past they didn’t see, or may not want to remember. Simply reminding visitors that they lived through the past, simply evoking nostalgia, is an abdication. Evoking nostalgia is easy. Engaging visitors in the real past is hard, and it’s our job."
suzannefischer  2016  museums  objects  nostalgia  davidanderson  hiroyukishimizu  chriscampbell  japan  childhood  identity  vicariousnostalgia  svetlanaboym  patina  reflectivenostalgia  restorativenostalgia  past  history 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves - The New York Times
"When I was 13, in the early 1990s, I dug through my parents’ cache of vinyl records from the ’60s and ’70s. We still had a phonograph, so I played some of them, concentrating on the Beatles. Their bigger hits were inescapably familiar, but a number of their songs were new to me.

Were I a teenager in 2015, I may not have found “Lovely Rita” or acquired an early taste at all for the Liverpudlian lads. The albums stacked up next to the record player, in plain sight for years, would be invisible MP3s on a computer or phone that I didn’t own. Their proximal existence could have been altogether unknown to me"



"There are several big upsides to growing up with streaming audio, one of which is accessibility: assuming I was interested enough, I could have explored, for free, the Beatles’ catalog on the Internet far beyond the scope of my parents’ collection.

But in our digital conversion of media (perhaps buttressed by application of the popular KonMari method of decluttering), physical objects have been expunged at a cost. Aside from the disappearance of record crates and CD towers, the loss of print books and periodicals can have significant repercussions on children’s intellectual development.

Perhaps the strongest case for a household full of print books came from a 2014 study published in the sociology journal Social Forces. Researchers measured the impact of the size of home libraries on the reading level of 15-year-old students across 42 nations, controlling for wealth, parents’ education and occupations, gender and the country’s gross national product.

After G.N.P., the quantity of books in one’s home was the most important predictor of reading performance. The greatest effect was seen in libraries of about 100 books, which resulted in approximately 1.5 extra years of grade-level reading performance. (Diminishing returns kick in at about 500 books, which is the equivalent of about 2.2 extra years of education.)

Libraries matter even more than money; in the United States, with the size of libraries being equal, students coming from the top 10 percent of wealthiest families performed at just one extra grade level over students from the poorest 10 percent.

The implications are clear: Owning books in the home is one of the best things you can do for your children academically. It helps, of course, if parents are reading to their children and reading themselves, not simply buying books by the yard as décor.

“It is a big question of whether it’s the books themselves or the parental scholarly culture that matters — we’re guessing it’s somewhere in between,” said Mariah Evans, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. “The books partly reflect intelligence.”

Although the study did not account for e-books, as they’re not yet available in enough countries, Dr. Evans said in theory they could be just as effective as print books in encouraging literacy.

“But what about the casual atmosphere of living in a bookish world, and being intrigued to pull something off the shelf to see what it’s like?” she asked. “I think that will depend partly on the seamless integration of our electronic devices in the future.”"



"Digital media trains us to be high-bandwidth consumers rather than meditative thinkers. We download or stream a song, article, book or movie instantly, get through it (if we’re not waylaid by the infinite inventory also offered) and advance to the next immaterial thing.

Poking through physical artifacts, as I did with those Beatles records, is archival and curatorial; it forces you to examine each object slowly, perhaps sample it and come across a serendipitous discovery.

Scrolling through file names on a device, on the other hand, is what we do all day long, often mindlessly, in our quest to find whatever it is we’re already looking for as rapidly as possible. To see “The Beatles” in a list of hundreds of artists in an iTunes database is not nearly as arresting as holding the album cover for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Consider the difference between listening to music digitally versus on a record player or CD. On the former, you’re more likely to download or stream only the singles you want to hear from an album. The latter requires enough of an investment — of acquiring it, but also of energy in playing it — that you stand a better chance of committing and listening to the entire album.

If I’d merely clicked on the first MP3 track of “Sgt. Pepper’s” rather than removed the record from its sleeve, placed it in the phonograph and carefully set the needle over it, I may have become distracted and clicked elsewhere long before the B-side “Lovely Rita” played.

And what of sentiment? Jeff Bezos himself would have a hard time defending the nostalgic capacity of a Kindle. azw file over that of a tattered paperback. Data files can’t replicate the lived-in feel of a piece of beloved art. To a child, a parent’s dog-eared book is a sign of a mind at work and of the personal significance of that volume.

A crisp JPEG of the cover design on a virtual shelf, however, looks the same whether it’s been reread 10 times or not at all. If, that is, it’s ever even seen."
books  digital  analog  music  browsing  2015  streaming  collections  visibility  sharing  children  learning  reading  literacy  cds  audio  patina  beausage  ebooks  data  teddywayne 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Challenge of Digital Patina | Project Evolution
"I challenge designers and developers to start to integrate “digital patina” into their application design and UIs. What is digital patina? Let me give you a few examples:

• Your smartphone’s homescreen may display “trails” from where your finger has touched most often, like a desk that wears over time under your arms.

• The most used icons show a wear-and-tear around the edges over time. Maybe the color rubs off like the keys on an old keyboard, maybe there is a slight stain or darkening around the edges from the oils on your finger. When the icon changes or is moved, the stain remains as a sort of ghost.

• Or the opposite happens. The most used icons remain bright and shiny, polished from use. The icons that are not used fade or darken over time, displaying their neglect.

• Maybe in a painting/drawing program, constant use shows little bits of paint and marker trails on the UI. Evidence of paintings past.

• A digital object may be designed to “age” – slowly over time, its color changes or fades, according to the time it has been active – or an object may show signs of wear and tear from the pattern of interactions. Or it may be designed to do both.

I did not coin the phrase. In fact, Mark Boulton first blogged about this idea in May 2012, in his article titled, simply, “Digital Patina”. In it, he outlines the basic idea, the need for digital things to impart their own “flavor” on the world. His open-ended article started me down the path of thinking about what digital patina could really be.
We talk about Patina as sheen – a thing that changes appearance over time. That change can be damaging, or it can give an object more value. It does this by demonstrating what it’s been through. In the case of a pair of jeans, it’s the little rip, the pen mark, the small hole that’s been repaired in the pocket. In chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing.

Now the idea of “wok-hey” might be a bit too much to think about right now. Where do we take that idea when we talk about applications? Should our Yahoo account started in 1999 have a different flavor in its messages than someone else’s shiny new Gmail account? Are texts sent from your year-old smartphone imparted with a scratchy old-film quality? That might be taking things too far. What I like is the idea that our actions and the way in which we use an application can leave a mark, a signature, of our use over time.

Why digital patina? Why is it important?

Well, I feel that what is missing in this digital age is the evidence that we are humans using a system, application, whatever… There is no way for us to leave a mark on the object that we use all the time. Sure, the phone itself imparts its own patina, but that’s it. Without patina, there is no history. Without history, there is very little attachment to the thing. It is much easier to throw out the teddy bear that your Aunt got you that you never quite liked and still looks brand new. It is much harder to get rid of the teddy bear that you loved, even if it is missing and eye and has a strange stain on one of its legs. That stain, those worn spots, that is our mark, proof that we have an effect on this world and that our love and constant use of an object takes a little of that objects perfection away from it, which makes us love it more.

Let me note that this is not a call for more and more skeuomorphism in UI design. The idea of digital patina can be applied to even the slickest, non-faux-anything UI design. What digital patina aims to do, I hope, is give the user a sense that they have left a mark on this digital object. That this object has a life and a history, and that history helps us make an emotional connection to it.

As an argument against skeuomorphism, I think this is a world where the visual cliches will soon be irrelevant. The kids picking up smartphones today don’t remember leather desk calendars, they never used a typewriter, they perhaps don’t even have a favorite, well worn novel. Their world could be full of shiny apps that never age, or degrade into bits to be left behind as a ghost of ones and zeros. They might not feel an attachment to their tools of communication, and therefore have very little need for an emotional attachment to objects. Objects, then, become just as forgettable and disposable as the applications on their home screens.

What I am talking about is surface details, I know. It seems to be the low-hanging fruit at the moment, while we think more about Mark Boulton’s challenge to impart “wok hey”. If we start down this path, though, and explore what it means to impact digital patina, than ways in which an application or digital object can have “wok hey” may become more apparent.

The age of digital objects moves rapidly, I know. Most people hang on to a smartphone or tablet for an average of a year before they upgrade. The maximum age may be around 2 years for most pieces of technology. The time in which individual applications are used may be very short, I also admit that. Admittedly, this “patina” would happen in a relatively short time frame. While this may seem like romanticism, what I trying to concentrate on is the connection between people and the objects they love and use every day. In some ways, digital patina might make people appreciate the “new and shiny” when they upgrade their device.

I for one, would prefer that we design a digital world that replicates the positive things about the real world and translates them in a new way. Leaving your mark, having objects that tell a story and have a history with you, that’s a positive thing."
digitalpatina  patina  digital  beausage  skeuomorphism  jhogue  2012  ui  ux  design  grahicdesign  usage  time  slow 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Digital Patina | Journal | The Personal Disquiet of Mark Boulton
"The opening scene in Jaws still gives me goose-bumps.

It’s a dark, moonlit night and a group of increasingly drunk teenagers are sat in the dunes playing guitar and listening to the crackle of a camp fire. You can almost smell the smoke and pheromones.

Chrissie, and her would-be admirer, take off for a swim. Where she is promptly attacked, and eaten, by the star of the film. That first scene is horrific. Mostly because it seems so real. The actress is crying, screaming and writhing in completely believable pain. That’s because – according to some – she was. The frame that was holding her was attached to the sea floor and then two ropes were taken up to the beach where teams of men pulled them back and forth. Apparently, she broke ribs in that scene.

It’s over an hour before we see the fish in Jaws. And that was accidental. Everything broke. ‘Bruce’ – the name of the fish – just broke down all the time. The film we see, when we watch Jaws, is not how it was intended. Instead, the music was the fish.

Jaws is coming up for thirty years old. Over that time, Jaws has aged well. What I find interesting is that the ‘Patina’ of the film didn’t rely on fancy technology. Accidently, it relied on being honest with the materials it used: sound, light and great acting.

We talk about Patina as sheen – a thing that changes appearance over time. That change can be damaging, or it can give an object more value. It does this by demonstrating what it’s been through. In the case of a pair of jeans, it’s the little rip, the pen mark, the small hole that’s been repaired in the pocket.

In chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing. Not all woks are alike. This one is mine. And all that.

Working with this definition of flavour as a Patina – which is imparted over time – got me thinking about digital products. The problem with digital products – our websites, applications, phone applications etc – is they don’t age the same way as some physical things. They either don’t age at all: locked in a permanent state whilst the world changes around them. Or they age in the same way plastic does: slowly decaying into tiny chunks that float about for eternity. Always there. Never to be used. Of little significant value. You see, producing digital products is not a sustainable practice.

How can we impart a digital patina on the things we use. What is the flavour of an application? Iteration? Code? UX?

I believe digital patina can be achieved in products that are designed to last. Built honestly, using the true materials of the web and minimal on cliched skeuomorphic concepts. Being true to our materials will produce better, more sustainable stuff. Stuff that will age well. Stuff that will become more useful and more beautiful with age. How can we impart flavour to our work?

Let’s stop designing things that turn into little bits that float about. Always decaying.

That’s a sad story."
patina  digitalpatina  degradation  time  beausage  2012  digital 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Intimacy and Digital Patina | Mattie Brice
"From embodiment and kink to luxury and tea, I see myself reaching for something solid to hold onto. I feel disconnected from digital art and environments, and resist how much conversation is centered around theorizing the digital. There’s more to play than video games, and a lot can be learned if we stretch beyond this genre and find more relationships in other places concerned with play. Admittedly, there is some distaste, bitterness, for the digital experience within me that I have to grapple with. I feel completely repelled, like a fugue lifted and I see a land of nightmares, and want nothing to do with it. But that would be unfair, and also throw away a lot of work that I’ve done with games. So I wanted to investigate what made me feel so distant from video games that attracted me to the looser, more intimate-feeling play currently grabbing my attention. I want to believe that there is more playfulness that video games has yet to focus on, something that can deepen our bonds to play and life. The tension then lies within the apparent immateriality of digital games, which are still subject to principles of object design yet rarely attain certain qualities of objecthood that we expect from physical experiences.

Video games feel distinctly like products, made for consumption but not necessarily use. It’s easy to enter a malaise of ennui, your Steam library having many games you’ll never touch and mobile games only one slight iteration away from the other. Digital game design is focused on an attention economy, how to grab you, keep you engrossed for as long as possible, and have you spend as much while they’ve got you. Because design is so focused on this kind of consumerism, video games enable cycles of disposability, where you buy something with the knowledge that you’re going to replace it with the next version soon after. This is ultimately unsustainable as we see with companies trying to shove life into harried sequels and remakes. You won’t get too attached because there will always be something similar fighting for your attention, and it is rare that something will be uniquely special to you. Typical game design acts as wedge between player and experience, trying to tap into your short-term worth at the expense of your long-term investment. Video games rarely make you care. You might get to know video games, but video games don’t really get to know you. They keep themselves on the screen and often don’t conjure intimacy with the physical interfaces between you and the experience. It knows you can just load up another game in the same manner that you accessed this one. Because what is being sold is some abstract immersion, a sort of mental drug trip, there is little legacy it can leave behind, having a profound effect through your use. Passing down games will soon go extinct between planned obsolescence and constant hype cycles for the new. Instead, we are left with empty, pandering nostalgia, sucking desperately at a straw and only getting the watered down remnants of a high long ago crashed.

This circles me back to the question of intimacy in games. There is an accepted fault of contemporary video games that intimacy, both in feeling and as a topic, are not its strengths. I doubt that it’s a weakness of the form, rather an outcome of canonized design practices. I have my own hunches for play in general, but digital games in particular prove tricky to find intimacy outside of a now quiet trend of autobiographical games. Is there a design concept out there that can reliably point someone towards crafting more intimate digital games?

My search lead me to digital patina, a technique in user interface design that builds on an apparently divisive skeuomorphic trend popularized by Apple. In short, digital patina creates artificial wear and tear to your digital products as you use them, particularly the ones that are already designed to resemble their physical analogues. So if your contacts app looked like an old-school address book, then there would be signs of usage around the tabs and pages you used the most. Despite handwringing over going into too deep of ideological territory, J. Houge notes “without patina, there is no history. Without history, there is very little attachment to the thing.” This evokes our typical relationship with objects, that it’s harder to part with an heirloom passed down in your family than with something you got at H&M. But this form of digital patina is still a couple steps away from design that helps solidify meaningful relationships, since this is purely about visuals. He cites something closer to what I’m thinking from Mark Boulton, who ties the analogy of digital patina to wok hey:

“In Chinese cooking, a wok is seasoned to make it non-stick. A well seasoned pan will go beyond simply making the pan non-stick. It will impart flavour to the food in what the Chinese call ‘wok hey’, or ‘breath of wok’. You see, to me, Patina is more than surface level sheen, or the aging of something. It’s the flavour. It’s an individual ‘taste’ that can only come from that thing. Not all woks are alike. This one is mine.”

For him, patina would be a practice in making a digital product uniquely the user’s, turning a mass-produced object into uniquely yours through personal use. Meaning, the experience that the product, or in our case, a game, can offer is changed by its unique circumstances. It imbues its idiosyncrasies in everything it touches that differs from person to person.

It’s tempting to assume that games with user-generated content or general sandbox types fulfill this idea. But that’s the topical application, the game itself is still the same and produces the same kind of experience. Though there is a strong player-evangelist edge in contemporary design philosophies, it stays within the digital ephemera, that a player will feel agency but not actually have agency. Agency isn’t really a good word for this, rather an effect, that a player can affect the actual design and use of a game as a part of the construction of the experience. The point isn’t to be able to do whatever you want in a game, rather that a game shapes itself around your natural motions and in turn reads as something idiosyncratic of you.

While it isn’t at the level that I’m thinking of, I see this happen with games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, particularly with the consequences of actions in one game transferring over to the next. The choices are still topical and don’t really change the game itself, but the way players often talk about the games taps into what I’m speaking to. Look through fan discussion of these games and you’ll see people say “my Shepherd,” indicating that the boilerplate main character has been ‘seasoned’ with their playthrough to amount to a unique character. Speaking from personal experience, there is an investment on having particular kinds of playthroughs, like your ‘fresh’ run that is a result of playing the game without knowledge of any of the choices, and a ‘true’ run that is a meticulously curated save file that has all the choices you feel represents the most interesting story and what you’ll use to base your headcanon. The save files become a part of a legacy that you want to carry with you and retain, and many people grow attached to these personalized kinds of games. I don’t think this exemplifies my argument, rather shows what we can start from in contemporary design to push beyond what we have now.

Games that evolve over time intrinsically have the potential to evoke their own wok hey, because the tiny choices build up over time that build up into unique structures that are hard to replicate. I think about games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing that focus on longer cycles of engagement, where you have different ways to save the farm and interact with the village, and while these things don’t quantitatively differentiate too much, the experience that we build up with it makes an emotional impression on, and of, us. In essence, this is trying to make digital games more life-like, things that grow with us than expecting to be cast aside, filling up the trash heaps of our lives. Maybe it’s just me, but I ache for these sorts of games to be iterated on again, to further entrench themselves in our lives. A lot of my fantasy video game projects are inspired by experiences like Harvest Moon and would turn out to be an imprint of your experience. Like playing through a game shows an aspect of yourself that isn’t easily visible without its particular focus.

What patina looks like in game design could still use some discussion. I do have some investment in it though, there’s something romantic about design made for you to personally express yourself through mundanity. The reason why contemporary games don’t really do this well is because all instances of change must be grand and explicitly telegraphed. Life isn’t like that though, we are slow buildups of tiny effects and motions, and it isn’t until we take time to reflect that we see we’re something different from the past. This would be a game trying to translate how you exist, how you affect the world by just being, what it is like for you to just touch something or think a thought. I think we crave those sorts of things, to see reflections of ourselves, to see that we do make a mark and matter. So far, video games mostly tap into sedative design, numbing us to the world so we can feel important or centered in some way. But instead, I think there’s design that can make us feel more alive through the mundane acts in our lives, to find how we move through the world its own kind of magic."

[See also: http://www.projectevolution.com/activity/challenge-digital-patina/
http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/digital-patina ]
mattiebrice  games  gaming  videogames  gamedesign  consumerism  capitalism  disposability  consumption  intimacy  jhouge  markboulton  patina  harvestmoon  animalcrossing  engagement  time  beausage  slow  digital  digitalpatina  degradation 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Scan/flip/spread | Soulellis
"How we author, design and publish language-based communications is undergoing a radical shape-shift. The acceleration of the book (as commodity, technological device, art object) has entered a new stage of evolution in our trajectory towards constant presence and the post-human, and reading—the eye-brain processing of written culture—has much to lose, and gain, in the transformation.

What legacy of the book do we wish to bequeath to the future?

What is the futurestory of the book?

Several attributes of reading that are about to be lost, perhaps only temporarily (patina, olfactory, nostalgic), have opened up deep space for others (gestural, social, access, speed). And even more are on the way, as we prepare for the near-future absorption of the screen into the body (Google Glasses)…

…I propose a series of printed book experiments on the occasion of MutaMorphosis: Tribute to Uncertainty. These are actions of resistance—strategies for countering our growing need to read in haste. Three concepts will direct us to a poetic, if analog, investigation of book/time and the fast/slow speed of reading: scan, flip and spread. Working with found texts, public domain works, bot-generated ephemera and other digital artifacts, a printed book or short series of books that encourages and/or discourages slow reading will be produced as a limited print-on-demand edition for the MutaMorphosis conference (via Espresso Book Machine or other inexpensive digital-to-paper solution). The books will be distributed to all conference participants for discussion (panel, artist’s presentation or otherwise, TBD).

Scan/Flip/Spread puts forward the idea of the fast(er) book (print-on-demand) and braises it with the slow read. The investigation will explore the interface of the printed book—page-to-language ratio, typographic depth and density, page-turn-time, frame, weight, read rhythm, chance, flip speed and other formal aspects of the page; as well as content—questions of narrative, sense, curation and image/word play. Our goal, as a group, will be to create a space to embrace and counter the technologies of automation that are transforming language, visual culture, the page and reading—through the printed book object."
paulvirilio  design  longform  automation  dromosphere  printondemand  mutamorphosis  uncertainty  spread  flip  scan  future  ebooks  bookfuturism  googleglass  speed  access  socialreading  gestures  nostalgia  smell  patina  reading  publishing  books  2012  paulsoulellis  slowreading  slow  selfpublishing  self-publishing 
september 2012 by robertogreco
My session description for Reasons to be Appy conference - Walk in the park, look at the sky.
"Listen closely to James Brown's Super Bad; nestled in-between Bobby Byrd's keyboards and Bootsy Collins' bass line is a flaw. It's the sound of a squeaky hi-hat pedal. A squeak that nobody felt the need to remove – nobody felt compelled to record an _update_. And yet the recording is still wonderful even with this supposed flaw because – for me at least – it adds _texture_.

I strongly believe these bumps and scars – these moments of subtle poetry – are what we as human beings fall in love with. These amazing digital devices we hold in our hands shouldn't be an exception; in fact because of their Flatland like nature we need to make sure we add these often illogical empathetic moments in-between to our interfaces and so we can create objects that not only Beep but squeak a little too."
empathy  scars  bumps  texture  human  flaws  patina  2012  wabi-sabi  brendandawes  jamesbrown 
april 2012 by robertogreco
City Walks and Tactile Experience
"This paper is an attempt to develop categories of the pedestrian’s tactile and kinaesthetic experience of the city. The beginning emphasizes the haptic qualities of surfaces and textures, which can be “palpated” visually or experienced by walking. Also the lived city is three-dimensional; its corporeal depth is discussed here in relation to the invisible sewers, protuberant profiles, and the formal diversity of roofscapes. A central role is ascribed in the present analysis to the formal similarities between the representation of the city by walking through it and the representation of the tactile form of objects. Additional aspects of the “tactile” experience of the city in a broad sense concern the feeling of their rhythms and the exposure to weather conditions. Finally, several aspects of contingency converge in the visible age of architectural works, which record traces of individual and collective histories."
urban  walking  urbanism  cities  tacticalurbanism  materiality  textures  sufaces  porosity  roofscapes  movement  pulse  rhythm  experiential  time  touch  patina  history  atemporality  MădălinaDiaconu  weather  plato  johnlocke  hobbes  vitruvius  sensation  contact 
october 2011 by robertogreco
russell davies: winky dink and you
"The price & delicacy of screens means we've learned to treat them w/ enormous reverence & care. We polish them. Keep them in cases. Don't draw on them.

I wonder if this reverence was what led to…horrified reactions when I painted my macbook w/ blackboard paint.

But that's going to have to change…We're going to be carrying them around, pawing & dabbing them w/ our fingers too much to keep treating them that delicately. I bet that means we'll get new aesthetics for screens & their boxes. More tolerant of damage & dirt. & if it doesn't happen w/ glowing rectangles it'll definitely happen when we get E Ink everywhere…Scuffed & patinaed screens.

I remember wondering the same about cars - whether the industry would develop a less shiny aesthetic…it's starting to happen. There are a couple of cars round us with an aftermarket matte black finish. They look brilliant, sinister & subtle. It's a high-end, expensive thing…but I bet it migrates through modding scene & into mainstream."
russelldavies  modification  post-digital  apple  screens  stickers  interaction  design  cars  mattepaint  eink  patina  beausage  aesthetics  delicate  glowingrectangles 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The life of products – Blog – BERG
"Products are not nouns but verbs. A product designed as a noun will sit passively in a home, an office, or pocket. It will likely have a focus on aesthetics, and a list of functions clearly bulleted in the manual… but that’s it.

Products can be verbs instead, things which are happening, that we live alongside. We cross paths with our products when we first spy them across a crowded shop floor, or unbox them, or show a friend how to do something with them. We inhabit our world of activities and social groups together… a product designed with this in mind can look very different."

[Related: http://berglondon.com/blog/2010/09/03/patina/ ]
products  use  actions  experience  engagement  berg  berglondon  meaning  apple  interaction  2006  design  mattwebb  beausage  patina 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Patina – Blog – BERG
"I’m not sure patina can be designed. After all, it’s a product of the relationship between product and owner.

The form it takes can be shaped – by the materials used in a product, by the nature and frequency of operations that an owner might perform. I suppose that a product can be designed to age gracefully, to wear attractively; it’s just the exact nature of that wear that’s out of a designer’s hands.

In considering the patina a product might develop, you of course have to ask a series of interesting questions: about longevity, about sustainability, about materials, about manufacturing. Going beyond “peak X” and towards “resilient X”, as Matt J said. But I think the most interesting questions – at the very heart of that consideration – are emotional ones. “What if someone adores your product? What if someone really does want to make a product a part of their life? What will your product look like when it’s been worn into the ground by virtue of its own success?”"

[Don't miss this too: http://berglondon.com/blog/2006/11/22/the-life-of-products/ ]
patina  beausage  berg  berglondon  tomarmitage  wear  materials  longevity  productsasverbs  relationships 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero — Anonymous asked: What advice would you give to a graphic design student? [This is not just for graphic design students.]
"Look people in the eyes when you are talking or listening to them. The best teachers are the ones who treat their classrooms like a workplace, & the worst are ones who treat their classroom like a classroom as we’ve come to expect it… Libraries are a good place. The books are free there, & it smells great… beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free & burns on time & empathy… The best communicators are gift-givers… Don’t become dependent on having other people pull it out of you while you’re in school. If you do, you’re hosed once you graduate. Keep two books on your nightstand at all times: one fiction, one non-fiction… Buy lightly used. Patina is a pretty word & beautiful concept… Learn to write, & not school-style writing… Most important things happen at a table. Food, friends, discussion, ideas, work, peace talks & war plans. It is okay to romanticize things a little bit every now & then: it gives you hope… Everyone is just making it up as they go along."

[Book list: http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/993864785/you-put-together-the-remarkable-text-playlist-along ]
advice  design  education  frankchimero  empathy  thoughtfulness  patina  beausage  teaching  learning  interestingness  libraries  books  work  life  careers  glvo  tcsnmy  writing  craft  whatmatters  meaning  mindfulness  hope  truth  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  gifts  self-directed  self-education  relationships  discipline  graphics  graphicdesign  tools  wisdom  toshare  topost 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Wabi-sabi - Wikipedia
"Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous & characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty & it "occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty & perfection in West." "if an object or expression can bring about, w/in us, a sense of serene melancholy & a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." "[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging 3 simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, & nothing is perfect."

Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, & can be applied to both natural & human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks & anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness & elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object & its impermanence are evidenced in its patina & wear, or in any visible repairs."
patina  beausage  imperfection  unfinished  aesthetics  architecture  art  beauty  buddhism  design  culture  japan  japanese  simplicity  perfection  poetry  philosophy  zen  wabi-sabi  marceltheroux  johnconnell  jesserichards  coding  software  refinement  via:lukeneff  melancholy  tcsnmy 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Pulse Laser: The Utility of the Unfinished
"Matt has described this to me as “physical PowerPoint”. You instantly know from looking at this thing that it’s not necessarily finished yet; not quite complete. And rather than letting you down, that incompleteness (in this case, an aesthetic one) opens up a communication. It informs the observer that they can engage in a kind of dialogue with the radio, about what it is and what it does. Its form is not final, and that means that there is still space to explore and examine that form. A more finished project would shut out any such exploration from the user or observer, and simply impose its form on them; the only reactions left are accepting that form, denying it, or ignoring it."
schulzeandwebb  writing  conversation  design  unproduct  unbook  dialogue  patina  wear  glvo  prototyping  unfinished  berg  berglondon  dialog 
march 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: patina
"But you can pick materials that age well, show their patina gracefully. Formica being one. Leather. Wood. They show you that they've been used. And how. (And peeling paint seems to give you the aesthetic quite quickly.) And then the back half of Matt's presentation from Picnic made me realise that I get the feeling of patina from some web things too."
aging  patina  beausage  russelldavies  design  wabi-sabi 
september 2008 by robertogreco
the nonist - Long Duration Love Affair
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20130216141615/http://thenonist.com/index.php/thenonist/permalink/long_distance_love_affair/ ]

"That cylindrical object you see pictured above is a roughly school-bus sized structure which was deployed into space in 1984. It orbited the Earth for five and a half years with nothing expected of it other than to float there, getting battered about by whatever the great black yonder saw fit to throw at it. You see, every inch of its outside surface was covered with Science. 57 separate experiments, mounted in 86 trays, involving the participation of “more than 200 principal investigators from 33 private companies, 21 universities, seven NASA centers, nine Department of Defense laboratories and eight foreign countries.” Its purpose was to study the effects of space on a multitude of materials. Its name is the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and I am deeply in love with it."

[Permalink: http://thenonist.com/index.php/thenonist/permalink/long_distance_love_affair/ ]
science  space  nasa  nostalgia  exposure  engineering  design  art  time  wear  research  materials  beausage  patina  nonist 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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