Creativity is no longer the sole territory of the designer. User-driven design has never been easier for the public to generate and distribute. Users of websites such as Flickr, Threadless, WordPress, YouTube, Etsy, and Lulu approach design with the expectation that they will be able to fill in the content. How will such a fundamental shift toward bottom-up creation affect the design industry?
Earlier this year, Jeremy Hutchison sent emails to manufacturers around the world, asking them to produce a fairly simple and common item. He added a special requirement though: the product had to be imperfect, come with an intentional error. Moreover, the worker was in charge of deciding what error, malfunction or fault he would add to the good. No matter how much i had read and seen about the project, i still wanted to interview the artist
The Toaster Project is Thomas Thwaites’s nine-month-long journey from his local appliance store to remote mines in the UK to his mother’s backyard, where he creates a crude foundry. Along the way, he learns that an ordinary toaster is made up of 404 separate parts, that the best way to smelt metal at home is by using a method found in a fifteenth-century treatise, and that plastic is almost impossible to make from scratch. In the end, Thwaites’s homemade toaster cost 250 times more than the toaster he bought at the store and involved close to two thousand miles of travel to some of Britain’s remotest locations
This morning i left London unimpressed by the Frieze art fair and took the train to Manchester. The lady at the hotel reception manages to wear two sets of fake eyelashes on top of each other, the weather is lovely and i’m following Creative Tourist’s recommendation to embark on a Manchester Weekender, three days of celebration of art, literature, music and performances. First stop, On the March – An exhibition of banners made by Ed Hall
‘The Intel – Cyprus Merger’ showed how the world’s first merger of a country and a corporation might be possible, and advantageous for both parties. Moreover through the execution of due diligence, stakeholder engagement and communication, how such a merger could be enacted responsibly, and in the best interests of both, or how at least it might appear so
French artist, illustrator and art director Geneviève Gauckler has been working with and for people or companies as different from each other as the record label F Communications (Laurent Garnier, St Germain), French/German cultural TV-channel Arte, the collective Pleix, Vogue UK , PlayStation, cult Paris boutique Colette, etc. She also created books, objects, toys & Tshirts
The Urban Immune System Research, one of the 4 Making Future Work commissions, investigates parallel futures in the emergence of the ‘smart-city’. During their research, the Institute has produced a series of speculative prototypes that combine digital technology and biometrics: one of the devices ‘functions as a social sixth sense’, a second one is a backpack mounted with 4 megaphones that shouts out geo-located tweets as you walk around, a third one attempts to make its wearer get a sense of what might it feel like to walk through a ‘data cloud’ or a ‘data meadow’
A new exhibition celebrates the role of making in our lives by presenting an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects, ranging from a life-size crochet bear to a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute to dry stone walling. Power of Making is a cabinet of curiosities showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world to present a snapshot of making in our time
“Our ability to generate information now far exceeds our capacity to understand it. Finding patterns and making meaningful connections inside complex data networks has emerged as one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. In recent years, designers, researchers, and scientists have begun employing an innovative mix of colors, symbols, graphics, algorithms, and interactivity to clarify, and often beautify, the clutter.” And look! Even Jeremy Deller’s been invited to the party
TIAM is a proposal for a computer program which generates fairy-tale plots. Based on the work of Vladimir Propp, who reduced the structure of Russian folk-tales to 31 basic functions, TIAM aims to question the limitations and implications of attempts at programming language and narrative.
Because the program is unable to deliver a finished story, rather only a crude synopsis and illustrations, users have to improvise, filling the gaps with their imagination and making up for the technology’s shortcomings
Le Cadavre Exquis, a digital re-interpretation of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse and the parlour game Consequences. In the interactive installation designed by Brendan Oliver and Brendan Randall, members of the public are invited to record a short stop-frame animation as a response piece to a previously recorded submission. The texual narrative is then created by online participants
Good Wives and Warriors is the creative partnership of Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell, who met while studying at the Glasgow School of Art. Right now the creative duo is based in London but the young ladies have traveled the word to paint mandalas, collaborate with design companies, create ads, think about the cosmos, cover walls with paintings or simply exhibit their illustrations
A few weeks ago, i was in The Netherlands to see the result of the first competition. You might remember that i had interviewed the 3 winning artists/designers just as they were about to start developing their projects (The Miscroscopic Opera, 2.6g 329m/s, aka the ‘bulletproof skin’ and System Synthetics) so i was curious to see whether the final pieces lived up to their (and my!) expectations
n design(ing) there is a revolution ongoing that is triggered by an emerging networked community that is sharing digital information about physical products and the ubiquitous availability of production tools and facilities. It transforms design into an open discipline, in which designs are shared and innovation of a large diversity of products is a collaborative and world spanning process
This week, i’m having a chat with Lieven Standaert, the designer behind Aeromodeller2, a project which explores the possibility to build a 90-meter, zero-emission, airship that will never need to land to get its fuel, creating hydrogen from the elements it encounters and anchoring when it needs to replenish its energy in a renewable way. Aeromodeller2 might not be the most efficient nor the fastest airship but it leaves more space to imagination, dream and aspiration than anything Boeing can come up with
Designers Emily Hayes and Karen Mabon were fascinated by the work of neuropsychologist Chris Moulin who has recreated the sensation of Déjà Vu in a laboratory. One of his female patients suffers from chronic déjà vu. Moulin identified that the only method that enabled the patient to avoid the distressing illusion of familiarity was the paradox of repeating the same day and experiences over and over again. The designers have constructed a set for this chronic deja vu sufferer, complete with marks on the floors, visual instructions and specially-designed objects
A couple of years ago, Nils Völker built a robot out of Lego parts that replicates the way we look. The resulting large scale images demonstrate how differently the same objects have been perceived. The robot was the one work that attracted me to Nils Völker’s portfolio but it’s his creative path that started with communication design and moved to the use of physical computing in contexts as different as advertising and art exhibitions that kept my attention
The project is based on two opposing inspirations; research trips to learn about intentional communities like the Amish, who carefully select technologies for their community, and an extrapolation of current scientific research which embraces technological alteration of nature. The outcome of the project is a fantastical caravan, a nomadic module of illusionary freedom, which explores our belief in technological progress
Cost is still a major limiting factor for low-carbon energy technologies. The Energy Pilots research program develops hypothetical business models by borrowing proven techniques from other sectors, and adapts them to fit the financial difficulties of specific low-carbon technologies
I had a discussion with Julijonas Urbonas about his hypothetical euthanasia machine. Taking the form of a roller coaster, it subjects the rider to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness and eventually death
The book presents an international spectrum of interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of laboratory, trade show, and urban space that play with the new frontiers of perception, interaction, and staging created by current technology. The work reveals how technology is fundamentally changing and expanding strategies for the targeted use of architecture, art, communication, and design for the future
Sausage machine, chair-manufacturing robot, technology-free photobooth and scanner, tableware cast from bull testicles and so many lamps
None of the panelists could (or rather would) answer Marcus Fair’s request to give a clear-cut definition of open design. The practice, said Evers, is not fixed, it is in constant flux. Open design is more about a mentality than a strict definition. The book is indeed about what open design can be and what you can do with it, it is only the starting point of a discussion
Pulled stretches screen-printing in all directions, leaving no element untouched. This book is a survey and a how-to, a collection of prints and an idea bank. It brings together more than forty talented screen printers, including Aesthetic Apparatus, Deanne Cheuk, Steven Harrington, Maya Hayuk, Cody Hudson, Jeremyville, Andy Mueller, Rinzen, and Andy Smith, among many others. Pulled is for the creative person who wants to leave his mark on cotton, or anything else
So far, explaining children how babies were made involved storks, cabbages, bees and other fantasies. Science, however, has added new modes of reproductions to the discourse. From in vitro fertilization in the 1970s to today’s research into artificial gametes from stem cells or somatic cells that would allow sperm and eggs to be created from anyone’s cells, regardless of age, gender or sexuality. New Scientist called it male eggs and female sperm at the time.
How will the stories about human reproductions evolve as our methods of reproduction become increasingly more diversified?
The Muybridge installation is a study set out to capture temporal change in 3D. A three-step sequence of a bird spreading its wings is reconstructed and sculpted into T-Shirts. As the change in the wings’ position is a function of time, each wing’s plumage is reduced to polygonal form, modeled and rigged into successive arrangements to portray the spreading motion
For ‘Cook Me – Black Bile’, designer Tuur Van Balen used leeches and his own blood too cook a recipe for controlling the feeling of melancholy. Synthetic biology and the new interactions it can trigger within our body are proposed as a new form of cooking, guided by one’s personal metabolism
Interview with Arne Hendriks about The Incredible Shrinking Man, a speculative design research about the consequences of downsizing the human species to 50 centimeters. It has been a long established trend for people to grow taller. As a direct result we need more energy, more food and more space. But what if we decided to turn this trend around? What if we use our knowledge to shrink mankind?
”Love Ducking” looks at how technology can help reduce the gap between species. In an attempt to try and seduce a female Mallard duck, I try to export myself via technology into the ducks world. My aim is to virtually live like a male Mallard duck in order to find friendship and who knows, maybe love
Everything Ends in Chaos attempts to design, then reverse engineer a single, spectacular Black Swan event. Black Swan events are unpredicted but of such magnitude that they have an important impact on history. According to Nassim Nicholas Taleb who developed the theory, the rise of the Internet, World War I, and the September 11 attacks as examples of Black Swan Events
A couple of weeks ago, Rui Guerra answered one of my facebook rants (which usually target museum press people who refuse to give me access to press images because i’m a blogger therefore ‘images are not safe” with me!) with a comment so smart and informative that i wanted to know more about his opinion about online strategies for cultural spaces
With BACK, HERE BELOW, FORMIDABLE [ the rebirth of prehistoric creatures ], Marguerite Humeau, attempts to ressuscitate the sound of extinct animals by reconstructing their voicebox (lungs, trachea, larynx + vocal folds, mouth and nose). Made of soft tissue, the vocal tract does not fossilize. The only elements which have been preserved through time are their bones. By comparing them with the larynx CT scans of their closest modern relatives, Humeau hopes to bring back the vocal organs of the extinct animals. With the help of a specialist of each animal, the designer plans to remodel the soft tissues of the modern animals on the basis of the bone structure of the extinct one. The structure of the soft tissues will then be printed in 3D.
Steffen Fielder and Jonas Loh for example questions our relationship to randomness. The designers explored the importance of randomness in our daily life but also investigated whether randomness actually exists or if it is just a lack of knowledge which makes things appear random to us
The latest project by Demitrios Kargotis and Dash Macdonald is inspired by the exercises performed by members of Casualties Union, a charity organisation funded during the Second World War as a course where acting, made-up casualties were recreated to provide added ‘realism’ to civil defense and rescue training exercises. For over 60 years, their methodologies and exercises have been showing actors how to simulate ‘authentically’ both the emotional shock of disaster and physical trauma
Designer Maurizio Montalti is teaming up with the Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation in The Netherlands to work on an alternative to fossil fuels. He aims to build a transparent bioreactor in which one fungus breaks down plastic and the other fungus makes bio-ethanol out of it
Jean-Baptiste Labrune’s presentation at The Council meeting gave a provocative (and much welcome) twist to the discussion about ‘the internet of things.’ Labrune’s talk revolved around the idea of developing organic circuits and, more broadly, about an internet of thing which might one day be made of material that grow, evolve, decay and die just like us
4 design proposals were shown at the biennale: Foragers is a reflection on the future of food in an overpopulated planet; Stop and Scan and EM Listeners responds to the UK’s unique tolerance for extreme state intrusion which allows the police to use a lack of privacy laws to create a living laboratory; finally, Afterlife is a domestic product for a time when euthanasia is far more common than it is today
What new needs will arise as the climate of the Earth changes? This project examines a household of the future and ways these needs might be met through symbiotic relationships with modified insects
Prédiction was the biggest exhibition of the International Design Biennial in Saint Étienne. Its ambition was to reposition the boundaries of contemporary design, exploring in over 100 artefacts and 2000 m2 the new types, methods, and practices of the discipline
Having finally found some time to go through hundreds of pictures, notes and a decidedly chubby catalogue, i’m ready to start a series of reports from last month’s visit to International Design Biennial in Saint Étienne, France. The theme of this 6th edition was Teleportation. The biennale, the website says, intends to explore paths of discoveries that will tend in their extreme expression to lead to a possible teleportation as the dematerialization of movement which appears to be an incredibly revealing notion of our era