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Search results for '"nicolas nova"'
14 February 2014

anthropology + design: nicolas nova

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Rachel Carmen Ceasar (@rceasara) is a doctoral candidate in the Joint Medical Anthropology Program at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco (California, USA). She writes about the subjective and scientific stakes in exhuming mass graves from the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship in Spain today.

She is now running a short series on Savage Minds that features interviews with design researchers, ethnographic hackers, and field work makers with their take on anthropology and design.

For the first interview, she talks with design researcher and ethnographer Nicolas Nova.

Nicolas Nova is a design researcher, ethnographer and co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory. His work is about identifying weak signals as well as exploring people’s needs, motivations and contexts to map new design opportunities and chart potential futures. Nicolas has given talks and exhibited his work on the intersections of design, technology and the near-future possibilities for new social-technical interaction rituals in venues such SXSW, AAAS, O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and the design week in Milano, the Institute for the Future, the the MIT Medialab. He holds a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne and has been a visiting researcher at the Art Center School of Design (Pasadena). He is also Professor at the Geneva University of Arts and Design (HEAD–Genève) and curator for Lift Conference, a series of international events about digital culture and innovation.

Upcoming interviews are with Kat Jungnickel (Lecturer at Goldsmiths), Daniela K. Rosner (PhD student at UC Berkeley’s School of Information), and Silvia Lindtner (a post-doctoral fellow at the ISTC-Social at UC Irvine and at Fudan University Shanghai).

Kat Jungnickel is a sociologist interested in maker culture, DiY / DiT (do-it-together) technology practices, gender and mobilities and inventive methods. Her current work investigates the impact of (digital) technologies and material practices in knowledge transmission and the potential different stories hold for understanding social worlds.

Daniela K. Rosner is currently finishing her doctorate at UC Berkeley’s School of Information and holds a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in Graphic Design and a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago. Through fieldwork and design, she reveal and create surprising connections between technology and handwork. She is also an assistant professor in UW’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE), and co-directs the TAT Lab with Beth Kolko.

Silvia Lindtner is a post-doctoral fellow at the ISTC-Social (the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing) at UC Irvine and at Fudan University Shanghai. She researches, writes and teaches about DIY (do-it-yourself) maker culture, with a particular focus on its intersections with manufacturing and industry development in China. Drawing on her background in interaction design and media studies, she merges ethnographic methods with approaches in design and making. This allows her to provide deep insights into emerging cultures of technology production and use, from a sociological and technological perspective.

3 April 2013

EthnographyMatters on combining qualitative and quantitative data (edition by Nicolas Nova)

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The April 2013 EthnographyMatters edition is edited by Nicolas Nova, consultant and researcher at the Near Future Laboratory, and is about combining qualitative and quantitative data.

In his introduction, Nova writes:

“While ethnography generally draws on qualitative data, it does not not mean that quantitative approaches shouldn’t be employed in the research process. Combining the two leads to a “mixed-method approach” that can take various forms: data collection and analysis can be either separated or addressed together, and each of them can be used in service of the other. Of course, this isn’t new in academic circles and corporate ethnography but there seems to be a renewed interest lately in this topic.

One of the driving forces of this renewed interest is the huge amount of information produced by people, things, space and their interactions — what some have called “Big Data“. The large data sets created by people’s activity on digital devices has indeed led to a surge of “traces” from smartphone apps, computer programs and environmental sensors. Such information is currently expected to transform how we study human behavior and culture, with, as usual, utopian hopes, dystopian fears and *critical sighs* from pundits.

Although most of the work of Big Data has focused on quantitative analysis, it is interesting to observe how ethnographers relate to it. Some offer a critical perspective, but others see it as an opportunity to create innovative methodologies to benefit from this situation.

Aside from Rebekah Rousi’s post (featured here yesterday), EthnographyMatters will feature various case studies and perspectives on the implications of mixed-methods approaches, including Fabien Girardin (on how he used sensor data to yield field observations in a study for Le Louvre in Paris), Alex Leavitt (discussing his research on Tumbler using a computational ethnography perspective), Tricia Wang (sharing her thoughts about the opposite of Big Data, in what she calls “thick data”) and David Ayman Shamma from Yahoo! Research (describing his personal perspective on the topic).

13 November 2012

Nicolas Nova interviewed on Ethnography Matters

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The people from Ethnography Matters, an ethnography group blog that is celebrating its first year anniversary today, interviewed their new regular contributor Nicolas Nova. He joins the all-woman team of Tricia Wang, Heather Ford, Rachelle Annechino, and Jenna Burrell.

Nicolas teaches at the Geneva University of Arts and Design, works closely with design and corporate firms throughout Europe, co-founded Lift, a conference that has often been described as the cozier & smaller version of TED, and has been blogging about his research since 2003 on Pasta & Vinegar.

The interview is a very nice read. Congratulations, Nicolas. Looking forward to reading your posts. And congratulations, Ethnography Matters team, with one year of inspiring contributions.

14 February 2010

Nicolas Nova: from observing failures to provoking them

Nicolas Nova at Interaction10
The annotated slides from the talk “Design and Designed Failures: From Observing Failurs To Provoking Them” by Nicolas Nova (Lift Lab) at the Interaction10 conference are now available on Slideshare.

“Failures are often overlooked in design research. The talk addressed this issue by describing two approaches: observing design flops and identify symptoms of failures OR provoking failures to document user behavior.”

I thank Nicolas for the very kind words in his blog post on the inspiration he got from me.

1 March 2009

Nicolas Nova and David Rose on change at LIFT09

LIFT 2009
The entire morning of the first day of the LIFT conference was devoted to change. I selected a few presentations here that I found personally most stimulating.

Note: this post contains embedded video which might now not show up in your rss feed.

Nicolas Nova

Nicolas Nova (blog) is a user experience researcher who studied at EPFL and now works for LIFTlab as a researcher, blogger and consultant, and the editorial manager of the conference.

In his talk entitled “The Recurring Failure of Holy Grails“, Nicolas focuses on the failed product of the future to better understand possible design futures. Examples he highlights were the videophone (launched in 1969), the intelligent fridge (1996), location-based services (1983), – products that never broke through when they were launched.

All these examples share overoptimisim, a recurring reinvention of the wheel with little knowledge of similar attempts, a sincere conviction that this the product is a holy grail solution, and lots of press attention.

But why do they then not break through? Often these products are stuck in a particular frame of thinking that limits the vision of what is possible. They are not really disruptive and tend to extrapolate the short term to the long term. The designers tend to focus on the ‘average human’ and have no real understanding of human needs and differences, and tend to have a slanted view of what constitutes ‘natural interaction’.

These failed products are weak signals of possible futures (as they often contain good ideas) and can provide inspiration for design.

David Rose

David Rose (personal page) is a product designer, technology visionary, and social entrepreneur. Currently David is Chief Executive at Vitality, a company that is reinventing medication packaging with wireless technology. Rose founded and was CEO of Ambient Devices where he pioneered glanceable technology: embedding Internet information in everyday objects like light bulbs, mirrors, refrigerators, umbrellas to make the physical environment an interface to digital information.

In his talk entitled “Enchanted Objects – how fiction foreshadows innovation”, David elaborates on the themes earlier introduced by Nicolas Nova and tries to understand what magical objects can teach us about the ‘web of things’. (Note that he doesn’t use the term ‘Internet of Things’). His hypothesis is that there are at least a dozen or so persistent needs, wishes or fantasies that seem to carry through millennia of time, and keep reinventing themselves in different ways.

He shows how for instance the fantasy is the object for clairvoyance was the inspiration for Ambient Devices’ single pixel browser, which makes you aware in a pre-attentive manner.

Pre-attentive processing can also be triggered by angular displacement, and this was used in a dashboard system developed by Ambient Devices.

Another promise of glanceable information became a display for weather information and sold hundreds of thousands. It has no buttons and is not navigable. You can only read it. It was even imbedded once in a refrigerator.

If the fantasy is to know, there are different type of representations that take different time to know. Often more glanceable information are more valuable, because you read them faster.

David also collaborated with Orange in the design of a display with a proximity sensor that tailors the resolution of the information to people’s distance. It gives more granular information when you are close to it, but just a very big general number when you are looking at it from far away.

Another fantasy deals with socialisation and communication. The big opportunity according to David lies in presence applications, without requiring any intentional input and requiring any cognitive overload.

Then there is the fantasy of healing, exemplified by magic potions or fountains of youth. This was the inspiration for health feedback devices, e.g. a glowing pill bottle caps that alert patients to when they need to take their medication, or a mirror that gives you feedback about your health.

Finally David highlights the fantasy of protection, e.g. magical sword, which of course was the inspiration for the ambient umbrella that knows when rain is coming. It highlights an approach that embeds the intelligence in the objects or environments that are relevant for you at that particular moment.

20 July 2007

Nicolas Nova talk now on Google Video

Nicolas Nova video
The video of last week’s talk by Nicolas Nova in Turin is now available on Google Video. The slides are available here (pdf, 1.36mb, 90 slides).

Nicolas Nova is a researcher at the Media and Design Lab at the Swiss Institute of Technology, Lausanne and one of the organisers of the LIFT conference.

His talk “Designing a new ecology of mixed digital and physical environments” was a critical overview of ubiquitous computing based on current research in the field (showing what people like Paul Dourish or Genevieve Bell are discussing but also geographers such as Stephen Graham), art/start-up/research projects and alternative visions such as what Nicolas is doing with Julian Bleecker.

The talk was organised by Experientia and the Order of Architects of the Province of Turin.

(Thanks to Experientia collaborator Haraldur Már Unnarsson for making this possible).

14 July 2007

Slides available of talk by Nicolas Nova in Turin

Nicolas Nova
A few days ago Nicolas Nova, a researcher at the Media and Design Lab at the Swiss Institute of Technology, Lausanne and one of the organisers of the LIFT conference, came to visit us in Turin, so Experientia organised a talk for him at the local Order of Architects.

Nicolas Nova reports:

“Currently in Torino, where I gave a talk yesterday organized by Experientia and the Order of Architects of the Province of Turin. My talk “Designing a new ecology of mixed digital and physical environments” was a critical overview of ubiquitous computing based on current research in the field (showing what people like Paul Dourish or Genevieve Bell are discussing but also geographers such as Stephen Graham), art/start-up/research projects and alternative visions such as what I am doing with Julian Bleecker. As I said in the talk, lots of the aspects presented here as design challenges are messy to reflect the complexity of ubicomp design.”

Download pdf (pdf, 1.36 mb, 50 slides)

(We will soon also post a video registration).

2 July 2007

Nicolas Nova in Turin

 
Nicolas Nova, Swiss Federal Research Institute (CH)
Designing a new ecology of mixed digital and physical environments

12 July 2007 – 7pm
Order of Architects of the Province of Turin
via G. Giolitti 1 – Torino – 3rd floor

Nicolas Nova will give a critical overview of the evolution towards “hybridised environments”, i.e. mixed physical and digital ecologies, sometimes also identified as media spaces, mixed realities, ubiquitous computing, and lifelogging realities. He will describe the systems as well the underlying technologies needed to support them, with a strong focus on how to best address people’s needs and enhance their lives. Examples such as lab projects, start-up products and art pieces will help outline the main trends and applications to expect in the near future. Nova will discuss the implications of this evolution for designers, architects and engineers on issues such as the user experience, the practice changes and the challenges to be solved.

Nicolas Nova is a researcher at the Media and Design Lab of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne where he completed a Ph.D in human-computer interaction. His research focuses on spatial and location-awareness, location-based, virtual and tangible gaming experiences, and the hybridisation of digital and physical environments. He is a co-producer of the highly acclaimed, and internationally prestigious LIFT conference in Geneva, which this year was attended by over 500 participants. He blogs at Pasta and Vinegar about emerging technologies usage and foresight.

The lecture, which will be in English, is jointly organised by Experientia and the Order of Architects of the Province of Turinthe organisation which by the way is also responsible for next year’s UIA World Congress of Architecture. Additional communication support is provided by the design community TURN.

RSVP: architettitorino at awn dot it

1 July 2007

Nicolas Nova lectures in Turin, Italy – 12 July

Nicolas Nova
Nicolas Nova, Swiss Federal Research Institute (CH)
Designing a new ecology of mixed digital and physical environments

12 July 2007 – 7pm
Order of Architects of the Province of Turin
via G. Giolitti 1 – Torino – 3rd floor

Nicolas Nova will give a critical overview of the evolution towards “hybridised environments”, i.e. mixed physical and digital ecologies, sometimes also identified as media spaces, mixed realities, ubiquitous computing, and lifelogging realities. He will describe the systems as well the underlying technologies needed to support them, with a strong focus on how to best address people’s needs and enhance their lives. Examples such as lab projects, start-up products and art pieces will help outline the main trends and applications to expect in the near future. Nova will discuss the implications of this evolution for designers, architects and engineers on issues such as the user experience, the practice changes and the challenges to be solved.

Nicolas Nova is a researcher at the Media and Design Lab of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne where he completed a Ph.D in human-computer interaction. His research focuses on spatial and location-awareness, location-based, virtual and tangible gaming experiences, and the hybridisation of digital and physical environments. He is a co-producer of the highly acclaimed, and internationally prestigious LIFT conference in Geneva, which this year was attended by over 500 participants. He blogs at Pasta and Vinegar about emerging technologies usage and foresight.

The lecture, which will be in English, is jointly organised by Experientia and the Order of Architects of the Province of Turinthe organisation which by the way is also responsible for next year’s UIA World Congress of Architecture. Additional communication support is provided by the design community TURN.

RSVP: architettitorino at awn dot it

5 March 2014

Reflecting on anthropology and design

savageminds

A few weeks back I wrote that Rachel Carmen Ceasar (@rceasara) is running a short series on Savage Minds that features interviews with design researchers, ethnographic hackers, and field work makers with their take on anthropology and design.

Besides her interview with Nicolas Nova, she has now published a couple more interviews:

Anne Galloway – designer, ethnographer, archaeologist
For Anne, the most interesting connection between anthropology and design can be found in how each practice enhances the other. Anthropology provides a kind of thick description that contextualises design processes and products, and design offers anthropology creative means of exploring and representing what it means to be human. She also enjoys the explicit combination of thinking, doing, and making—of blurring boundaries between analytical and creative practice, between rational and emotional experience.

Note Anne’s use of apps:
I record all my interviews with an app called Highlight, which I like because I can flag interesting points during the conversation and return to them later, without interrupting the flow. I do a lot of note-taking, using a regular paper notebook or an app called iA Writer (because that’s where I do most of my writing these days, including right now).”

Silvia Lindtner – DIY maker, hacker, and ethnographic design researcher
Can making and designing for a living also be critical? In which ways? How does critical design in production differ from the kind of critical design we know today?

24 November 2013

Bruce Sterling on the value of design fiction (and some example videos)

 

Bruce Sterling’s Wired UK article on the value of design fiction is very much worth a read, as it defines the field so well:

“A formal definition exists: “Design fiction is the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.”

There’s heavy freight in that sentence, but most can be disposed of promptly. “Deliberate use” means that design fiction is something that people do with a purpose.

“Diegetic” is from film and theatre studies. A movie has a story, but it also has all the commentary, scene-setting, props, sets and gizmos to support that story. Design fiction doesn’t tell stories — instead, it designs prototypes that imply a changed world.

“Suspending disbelief” means that design fiction has an ethics. Design fictions are fakes of a theatrical sort, but they’re not wicked frauds or hoaxes intended to rob or fool people. A design fiction is a creative act that puts the viewer into a different conceptual space — for a while. Then it lets him go. Design fiction has an audience, not victims.

Finally, there’s the part about “change”. Awareness of change is what distinguishes design fictions from jokes about technology, such as over-complex Heath Robinson machines or Japanese chindogu (“weird tool”) objects. Design fiction attacks the status quo and suggests clear ways in which life might become different.”

So what is their value?

“The objects offered to us in a capitalist marketplace have three basic qualities: they are buildable, profitable and desirable. They have to be physically feasible, something that functions and works. They need some business model that allows economic transactions. And they have to provoke someone’s consumer desire.

Outside of these strict requirements is a much larger space of potential objects. And those three basic limits all change with time. Through new technology, new things become buildable. Business models collapse or emerge from disruption. People are very fickle. That’s how it works out — and the supposed distinction between “real” and “not-real” is pretty small.”

On his blog Bruce provides a huge, personally annotated catalogue of examples of design fiction.

They range from sketches to personas, from imaginary future scientific experiments to theatrical events, from apps to start-ups, from exhibitions
to exhibitions, and from physical objects to books, to inspiring videos.

Here are some examples of design fiction videos:


The future that Mirrobe (pronounced MEER-Obe), a design fiction by Samuel Kobe, is imagined to be from isn’t all the different from one we enjoy today. The technology will not be anything majorly advanced, but instead versions of existing technology both refined and more completely integrated into the household. Kobe expects it to be the year 2020 to 2025 when his design fiction would be in production and fully integrated into the households of the modern world.
[Video version without interface]
 


nuna by Guri Venstad is a system of patches that integrate with your skin and provide new sensory experiences.
In a time where visual displays are frequently asking for our attention, nuna offers a more subtle and unobtrusive approach using ambient touch. The system consists of three patches that use patterns in vibration, temperature and contraction to form a new haptic language.
 


Introductory video to Elvira Grob‘s speculative design project “Vitiosae Vigilis“.
 


A Digital Tomorrow” is a design fiction video produced for Curious Rituals, a research project conducted in July-August 2012 by Nicolas Nova (The Near Future Laboratory / HEAD-Genève), Katherine Miyake, Nancy Kwon and Walton Chiu from the media design program.
 


Corner Convenience is a thought experiment, newspaper, and series of three short films that explore the trivial and mundane objects coming soon to a store near you. Created by Julian Bleecker of the Near Future Laboratory with Nick Foster and students at a workshop at Arizona State University’s Emerge event.
> Article in The Atlantic

19 September 2013

EthnographyMatters on the relationships between ethnography, fiction and design

ethno-to-web21

This month’s theme of EthnographyMatters, edited by Nicolas Nova, is about the relationships between ethnography, speculative fiction and design.

“In design circles, the current interest in “design fiction” is geared towards exploring how prototyping and storytelling can benefit from each other. Design fiction use standard objects and media conventions as a way to express ideas about the future: a fake product catalogue, a map of a fictional area, a journal, a short video showing a day in the life of a person, etc. One can see design fiction as similar to science fiction in that the stories bring into focus certain matters-of-concern, such as how life is lived, questioning how technology is used and its implications, as well as speculating about the course of events… which is obviously close to what a certain kind of ethnography is interested in. This ability to flesh out the details of alternative futures can be seen as an intriguing form of speculative ethnography with a specific focus on original format.”

This month’s contributors are:

  • Anne Galloway, an ethnographer interested in material, visual and discursive aspects of technology, will give her perspective on design ethnography and speculative fiction.
  • Laura Forlano, from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, will address what ethnographers can learn from science fiction and speculative design. Based on examples from design and popular culture, she will explore the generative and analytic potential of “design fiction”.
  • Jan-Hendrik Passoth and Nicholas Rowland, both sociologists at TU Berlin, will address post-ironic ethnography, reportage style and David Foster Wallace.
6 May 2013

Tweeting Minarets: joining quantitative and qualitative research methodologies

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In the last post of the EthnographyMatters Ethnomining edition (edited by Nicolas Nova), David Ayman Shamma @ayman gives a personal perspective on mixed methods. Based on the example of data produced by people of Egypt who stood up against then Egyptian president and his party in 2011, he advocates for a comprehensive approach for data analysis beyond the “Big Data vs the World” situation we seem to have reached. In doing so, his perspective complements the previous posts by showing the richness of ethnographic data in order to deepen quantitative findings.

“Discovering how communities organize, grow, and communicate under times of distress is difficult even when technology hasn’t been cut. While many things surfaced on Twitter during the revolution, like the Hardees in Tahrir being used as a safe house, many questions were left unexplained or assumed to be the work of online social networking.

This is where ethnography matters–by surfacing what to look for in the big data and highlighting what might be salient trends and features despite not being dominant. And mostly, by identifying people’s motivations and giving a deeper understanding of why things happen. From there we can start to unravel the complex communication structures at play and define new metrics informed by human action. The effort is ongoing, as we surface what has been done and what we now know through, it still says we don’t know.

It’s not a race, it’s a partnership, a marriage. The goal isn’t to get to the end as quickly as possible but rather to work together over time and build a richer world. We should strive to find these links between the quantitative and qualitative, and leave the silos which have us fragmented as a research community.”

David Ayman Shamma is a research scientist in the Internet Experiences group at Yahoo! Research for which he designs and evaluates systems for multimedia-mediated communication.

23 April 2013

Plant Wars player patterns: visualization as scaffolding for ethnographic insight

roger-shant-visualization

The latest contribution to Ethnomining, the April 2013 Ethnographymatters edition on combining qualitative and quantitative data, edited by Nicolas Nova, is by Rachel Shadoan and Alicia Dudek who present an interesting case study, based on visualizations, involving an on-line role-playing game.

“We embarked on a study to understand both how the Plant Wars players played and why they played. Visualizing the data generated by the player’s in-game actions provided the map, answering the how and what questions. Interviewing the participants and participating in the game ourselves provided the key to that map, answering the why questions.”

Rachel Shadoan likes to find answers to interesting questions, and build interesting things using those answers. Currently she is answering interesting questions in the Intel Labs using a combination of data visualization, data mining, and ethnographic techniques.

Alicia Dudek is a design ethnographer and user experience consultant. Her passion is finding unusual solutions to the usual problems. Currently, she is finding unusual solutions for Deloitte Digital, where she specializes in engaging stakeholders in research insights through participatory design workshops.

12 April 2013

Insights from network data analysis that yield field observations

museum

As part of Ethnomining, the April 2013 Ethnographymatters edition on combining qualitative and quantitative data, edited by Nicolas Nova, Fabien Girardin describes his work with networked/sensor data at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Based on this inspiring case study, he discusses the overall process, how mixed-methods are relevant in his work, and what kind lessons he learnt doing this.

Fabien Girardin @fabiengirardin is Partner at the Near Future Laboratory, a research agency. He is active in the domains of user experience, data science and urban informatics.

13 February 2013

From GoPros to vanity camera drones

gopro

Nicolas Nova went skiing and saw a lot of GoPro cameras on people’s heads. He got intrigued, and wrote an Ethnography Matters column where he questions informal urban bricolage, weird cameras, curious gestures and wonders about their cultural implications.

“Head-mounted cameras, necklace cams, vanity drones… all these artefacts highlight how digital photography evolved and how their design encapsulates assumptions about their use. One can see a trend towards the automation of data collection, which correspond to common practices on the Web and social media. To put it differently, these devices reveal the intricate relationships between their design and our information ecosystem.”

3 September 2012

Curious Rituals – Gestural interaction in the digital everyday

Screen Shot 2012-09-03 at 15.22.56

Curious Rituals is a research project conducted at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena) in July-August 2012 by Nicolas Nova (The Near Future Laboratory / HEAD-Genève), and Katherine Miyake, Nancy Kwon and Walton Chiu from the media design program.

This research project is about gestures, postures and digital rituals that typically emerged with the use of digital technologies (computers, mobile phones, sensors, robots, etc.): gestures such as recalibrating your smartphone doing an horizontal 8 sign with your hand, the swiping of wallet with RFID cards in public transports, etc. These practices can be seen as the results of a co-construction between technical/physical constraints, contextual variables, designers intents and people’s understanding. We can see them as an intriguing focus of interest to envision the future of material culture.

The aim of the project is to envision the future of gestures and rituals based on a documentation of current digital gestures, and the making of design fiction films that speculate about their evolution.

The Curious Rituals booklet (3.1 MB / 145 pages) describes the gestures and postures the team observed, introduced by an insightful essay by Dan Hill and followed by a design fiction by Julian Bleecker and the script of A Digital Tomorrow, the design fiction film the team produced.

1 August 2012

The ethnographer’s reading list

 

Ethnography Matters has embarked on a new series called “The Ethnographer’s Reading List” with UX professionals discussing their summer reading. Here are the latest three instalments:

Nicolas Nova
Nicolas Nova, who holds a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL, Switzerland), is a consultant and researcher at the Near Future Laboratory, and and editorial consultant for the Lift Conference. He also teaches user research in interaction design at HEAD-Geneva and ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris. This summer he is spending the months of July and August in California for a visiting researcher’s residence at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, working on a project about rituals and gestures of the digital everyday. Because of that topic, the books he has bought for the summer are quite influenced by this project. They’re not about methodologies, but more about case studies concerning design, material culture, ethnography and architecture.

Christina Dennaoui
Christina Dennaoui, who did graduate studies in anthropology, media, and religion at the University of Chicago, is now working as a digital planner and strategist for a digital marketing agency in Chicago. Christina, who can be described as a social theorist working in industry, also runs the Modern and Im/Material Things blog. Her shelves are full of work that relate to her professional work in digital strategy and planning. Although there is no grand theme uniting all of the books on her list, there are a few sub-themes worth calling out: archiving and identity, personal branding, quantifying individual interests, and the meaning of “strategy.”

Elisa Oreglia
Elisa is a PhD candidate at the UC Berkeley School of Information. She studies the circulation and use of mobile phones and computers in China, especially in the countryside. Her summer reading deviates from the usual goal-driven reading of the rest of the year.

1 May 2012

A retrospective of talks given by ethnographers at Lift Conference since 2006

eh_s90_037211

Of all the conferences that are dedicated to discussions on technology and society, there’s one that has continued to consistently curate an amazing line of up speakers while maintaining an intimate environment for meaningful exchanges without any elitist barriers to participation – Lift, writes Tricia Wang.

After her talk at Lift 2012, Wang had a chance to chat with one of the people she has been “virtually brain-lusting” for years, Nicolas Nova, ethnographer, co-founder of Lift, and Lift program curator.

Nicolas found time to sit down with her to give a retrospective of past ethnographers who have given talks at Lift.

Read article

12 October 2011

The many meanings of ethnography

 
Ethnography, Ethnography or Ethnography? What Happens When the Same Word Means Different Things to Different People? is the title of a new paper on ethnography by Sasanka Prabhala, Daria Loi and Subhashini Ganapathy of Intel.

This paper discusses how the notion and practice of ethnography differs for practitioners with different disciplinary backgrounds, especially in a context where ethnography exits academia to enter industry contexts. The paper is divided into four sections. The first provides background to specific experiences and briefly over-views existing literature. In the second part we compare our experiences through an industry case study. The third section proposes a taxonomy, suggesting a number of implications, and providing recommendations on how to integrate cross-disciplinary approaches to expand the scope of conducting user research. The final section wraps up our propositions and provides a number of recommendations.

(via Nicolas Nova)