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Posts in category 'Art'

8 November 2006

Experientia shows gesture-based interface at international art fair

Artissima
At Artissima, the international fair of contemporary art in Torino, visitors are able to use simple hand and arm gestures to browse a visual catalogue of recent art work exhibited at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, an important museum in the city.

The technology is based on sophisticated gesture recognition, while the end-result for the visitor is a radically simple content navigation system in which the images are projected on a large screen, and interaction is performed via nothing but a flat luminous surface.

The project was developed by Jan-Christoph Zoels, Yaniv Steiner and Ofer Luft of Experientia, the Turin-based international experience design consultancy.

A prototype of the gesture-based interface was previously used to navigate Google Earth and to guide club dancing during a music rave. The various interfaces are all based on the smartRetina™ technology, which provides the designer with a programmable “eye”, allowing him to easily design new experiences and interactions which do not require a tangible interface.

YouTube video

6 November 2006

The People will be heard: Interactive technology in public spaces

AllOfUs kiosk
“In their efforts to compete with other and more dynamic providers of information and entertainment, many museums are listening to their visitors more closely than ever before,” writes Jennifer Kabat in a long story on the website of the Adobe Design Center.

“In some cases museums—famously top-down institutions—are even incorporating the views, critical choices and contributed content of visitors into their programs. They are also re-examining the ways in which visitors interact with objects and spaces, as well as each other. For help with both of these approaches they are turning to a growing sector of the interactive design world; one that specializes in interactive museum displays.”

“Thus, the best interactive exhibits are open-ended. They encourage visitors to be active participants in the experience rather than passive consumers of information. They take their visitors’ views seriously and break down the hierarchy of institutions.”

Acknowledging the debate (“The idea of the audience taking control sends shivers down many a curator’s spine”), Kabat provides some very good examples of thoughtful integration of user-generated content in museum and exhibition contexts.

Read full story

2 November 2006

User-centred design at the Young Tate

Young Tate
The Tate went out of its way to get young people involved in the web design process for a new site aimed at 13-25-year-olds, according to a case study on ProjectsETC.

“The Young Tate website is aimed at young people aged 13 to 25. It features different ways of learning and becoming involved with the world of art including the activities and events developed by the Young People’s Programmes curators at all four Tate galleries. Tate has run an in-gallery programme for young people outside the formal education sector since 1988. The key features of this programme are consultation with young people and peer-leadership. Tate has pioneered an approach in which young people are provided with the tools to shape their own learning experience.”

“The Young Tate website was launched in August 2006 and was designed to reflect the ethos of the in-gallery programme. It was essential that the website was driven ‘by young people and for young people.’ With this in mind, young people were involved in every stage of the website’s design and will continue to contribute to the site.”

ProjectsETC is a new resource site for people creating interactive projects in education, technology and culture, launched by Culture Online, part of the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Read case study

3 September 2006

Ars Electronica on simplicity

Simplicity - The art of complexity
Ars Electronica, the Austrian festival for art, technology and society currently taking place in Linz, is this year devoted to simplicity.

Under the guidance of John Maeda (of the MIT Media Lab), the festival symposium considers what simplicity (and complexity) means in politics, life, art, and technology, pondering questions like: How are we to cope with the increasing degree of complexity in the reality we inhabit? How can we tap and utilize the potential of global communication and realtime-access to information and ideas, to people and markets in an efficient as well as responsible way? How can we develop flexible, adaptable systems, devices and programs that are responsive to our strengths and intuitive capabilities, to support our activities in complex contexts? Which options and features could we possibly do without? And which would we be only too glad to dispense with?

In an introductory interview on the subject, Maeda says “Simplicity begins, of course, with usability. The wish for user-friendly devices and programs is fervent and widespread.We will realize how justified it is when we inspect the plethora of shabbily designed user interfaces that hit the retail shelves in ever-shorter marketing cycles. So even as the writers of advertising-copy are busy ballyhooing the latest results of their company’s purported fixation on user experience and user-centered design, the reality that we, the ones who have actually purchased these applications, are familiar with is, sadly, a different one. How very often we wish that industrial designers would pay more frequent courtesy calls on media artists and soak up a bit of the ambient inspiration during their visits!”

18 August 2006

Two new thematic Experientia blogs

Experientia
Experientia, the international experience design consultancy, launches today two new thematic blogs:

E-Democracy is aimed at public authorities. It gathers information on citizen participation and the use of web 2.0 technologies in the websites of public authorities, public administrations and local governments. Although it has some overlap with Putting People First, it has a lot of original material and I will maintain it regularly.

Playful & Tangible is about playful learning with new interfaces, particulary in museums and entertainment environments. It documents many inspirations and examples of playful and tangible interactions and interfaces, and has a strong interaction design focus. Initially developed as an internal working blog to document some interesting museum and entertainment interfaces, we decided to make the blog public. As an internal blog, it quotes richly from other sources and we are very grateful to our main inspirations: Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art, Chris O’Shea of Pixelsumo and Ruairi Glynn of Interactive Architecture. We have added the original source links throughout the blog. The blog is currently maintained by Mark Vanderbeeken of the Italy-based experience design company Experientia, though most of the content was selected by Héctor Ouilhet and Alexander Wiethoff, who worked as Experientia interns during the summer of 2006.

Each blog has about 50 posts at the moment.

16 August 2006

Arts Management newsletter on creative industries

Arts Management newsletter
The latest issue of the Arts Management newsletter is devoted to the creative industries, with a specific global angle (America, Asia, Australia and Europe).

Table of contents:

  1. Interview with Richard Florida
  2. Economic contributions of Singapore’s creative industries
    (download report – pdf, 164 kb, 25 pages)
  3. The emerging creative industries in Southeastern Europe
    (download e-book – pdf, 688 kb, 198 pages)
  4. Digitalisation, copyright, and the music industries
    (download paper – pdf, 188 kb, 21 pages)
  5. The 2005 creative industries reports in USA
    (download reports – scroll down)
  6. Play it right – Asian creative industries in London
    (download report – pdf, 552 kb, 58 pages)
  7. Creative policies in Barcelona
    (download paper – pdf, 28 kb, 3 pages)
  8. Books about creative and cultural industries
  9. Education: creative industries faculty in Brisbane (Australia)
  10. Preview: a critique of creative industries
  11. Preview: creative industries in focus at Germany’s music fair POPKOMM
  12. Web guide for creative industries

Download newsletter (pdf, 244 kb, 11 pages)

27 July 2006

Experientia talk: “Innovation in Museum Design” by Arch. Stephen Rustow

Stephen Rustow
Last week Experientia organised a talk on the current trends in museum design by the architect Stephen Rustow.

From 1983 to 1995, Rustow was lead planner, programmer and senior designer on the expansion and reorganisation of the Louvre Museum in Paris with I. M. Pei & Partners. From 1999 he led the work on the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in association with Taniguchi Associates in Tokyo. He is now the founding principal of SRA, a specialised multidisciplinary consulting practice working with museums, private collections and architects to plan, programme and design the presentation of cultural collections.

Stephen Rustow used the MoMA and Louvre examples as illustrations of the main models in contemporary museum design:

“The one model is the idea of ‘bringing the merchants into the temple’, so bringing the retail, the restaurants, the sales, the parties to the museum in order to sustain the art activity. The other version is to take the art out of the temple and to make the temple void and to create a kind of ‘Kunsthalle’, where the museum does not exist as a repository of a collection, but as a space where shows are made and things are constantly renewed.”

“This has brought us in a contradiction. On the one hand you have examples such as the Louvre and the MoMA which are subsidising their art and art collecting activity by bringing in other cultural and non-cultural activities to the museum, and on the other hand buildings which were historically built as museum, but have essentially been emptied of their collections in order to renew themselves each time.”

At the end of Stephen Rustow’s 25 minute talk, Jan-Christoph Zoels and Yaniv Steiner of Experientia briefly presented some examples of playful and tangible interfaces and learning environments in museum and exhibition contexts.

The selected group of invitees were all people involved with museum design, museum management and cultural policy in Torino, who are now facing the challenge of maintaining the cultural and urban momentum the city gained during the recent Winter Olympics also in the years to come, especially in view of its selection as the 2008 World Capital of Design and the planned celebrations for the 150th birthday of the unification of Italy in 2011.

Watch Stephen Rustow presentation: part 1part 2part 3

10 July 2006

The dance of people in public spaces [The New York Times]

Grand Central notes
Last year architect and set designer David Rockwell was hired to design the “interior experience” (arrival, departure, retail space) of the new JetBlue terminal being built at JFK Airport, writes Jesse Green in the New York Times (as reported by Christopher Fahey in Signal vs. Noise).

Looking for a new angle on movement vs. environment, Rockwell took a strange turn: He hired choreographer Jerry Mitchell to help him.

The duo started out by looking at what they considered well choreographed spaces in New York, like the Grand Foyer at Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Station, and Union Square.

The New York Times article “Passengers May Pirouette to Gate 3” (permanent link) examines the collaboration and takes a look at the dance of people in public spaces. There’s also an accompanying audio slide show that looks at the process and its results.

4 July 2006

Studying the museum visitors’ experience at Museolab

Museolab at Confluences
Nicolas Nova writes in his blog Pasta and Vinegar about the research structure Museolab [website in French], within Lyon’s future museum “Musée des Confluences” (architecture by Coop Himmelblau), that “aims at inventing, experimenting and validating technologies and services that would improve museum visitors’ experience (better interacting and understanding an exhibit). Museolab will test the technologies that will then be validated at the Museum.”

“What they are working on is pretty close to nowadays trends: personalisation according to a certain visitor’s profile, learning devices based on the visitors’ paths and actions, use of RFID tags…”

“One of the intriguing project they have is called “La Malle à Objets“: using smaller versions of object exhibited in the museum, people can drop it close to a device that would give them information about it. I am definitely not an expert of museum technologies but it’s interesting to see how tangible interfaces also pervades in this kind of settings.”

25 June 2006

Experiencing digitally resurrected cultural heritage sites

EPOCH's digital reconstruction of part of the ancient city of Sagalassos
Most of us find it rather hard to picture ancient times when viewing old bones and stone fragments in dusty museum display cabinets. Now archaeological artefacts can come alive with the help of EPOCH, a European research project that uses augmented reality, computer game and 3D-image technology to resurrect cultural heritage sites, according to IST Results, the online magazine of the European Commission’s Information Society Technologies (IST) research initiative.

“From an archaeological point of view, it now becomes possible to reconstruct large sites at low cost. Previously, 3D modelling has all too often focused on a limited number of landmark buildings, without the context of sites surrounding them. Producing entire city models was just too expensive, so we got a Parthenon without Athens, and a Colosseum without Rome. Thanks to EPOCH this no longer needs to be the case,” explains the University of Leuven’s Prof Luc Van Gool.

Computer-generated humans – avatars, will act as multilingual guides in this computer-generated world, explaining about the visited site. With the help of interactive storytelling, visitors will be able to personalise the story according to their interests and the time available for the visit, explains Franco Niccolucci, EPOCH Director for Training and Dissemination at Florence University.

To further enhance the user experience the project has developed a cost-efficient prototype that uses widespread techniques known as ‘rapid prototyping’ and 3D scanning.

Read full story

8 June 2006

Arts and crafts for the digital age [The New York Times]

Pico-Cricket Kit
At first blush, the PicoCricket Kit resembles a plastic box of arts and crafts supplies, crammed with colored felt, pipe cleaners, cotton and Styrofoam balls.

But this is a craft kit for the digital age. It includes electronic sensors, motors, sound boxes, connecting cables and a palm-size, battery-powered, programmable computer.

By combining the traditional materials with high-tech ones, children as young as 9 can invent interactive jewelry, fanciful creatures that dance, musical sculptures and more, said Mitchel Resnick, an assistant professor of learning research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

Mr. Resnick, whose work with children and learning at the Media Lab helped the Lego Group create its highly successful Mindstorms robotic construction kits in 1998, said he wanted to produce something in which the emphasis was not on the building of mechanical objects.

Instead, he said he was more interested in encouraging the creation of something artistic, and delivering a technology and programming language that would let young people take more control of how their creations would behave.

Read full story

17 December 2005

Folksonomy in museums

Steve_museum
A group of museums are exploring how tagging can enable use of museum collections — and foster links between people and institutions.

Popular Internet applications that take advantage of social tagging – think flickr and del.icio.us – have captured our collective imagination over the past year. Museums could learn from these developments, and use folksonomic classification both to improve access to on-line collections and to provide the foundation for community-based services that reinforce the role of the museum.

A group of art museums pushed towards integrating folksonomies into the museum web, developing a working prototype and directions for future development and research that could benefit the entire museum community.

Visit website

9 November 2005

Gel and euroGel 2006 announcement

Gelman
A few months ago I wrote about the Gel and euroGel conferences in 2006. Mark Hurst just posted a partial line-up of speakers.

The euroGel 2006 conference which will take place on 1 September 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark, features: Han Bennink, drummer and multi-instrumentalist, the Netherlands; Vuk Cosic, ASCII artist, Slovenia; Max Gadney, head of design & audience insight, BBC News Interactive, UK; David McQuillen, vice president customer experience, Credit Suisse, Switzerland; Christoph Steinbrener and Rainer Dempf, artists, Germany; and Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia and director, Wikimedia Foundation, USA and Africa.

The Gel 2006 conference, scheduled for May 4-5, 2006 in New York features: Katy Börner, associate professor of information science, Indiana University, and curator of Places & Spaces; Geoffrey Canada, president, Harlem Children’s Zone; Seth Godin, bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change; Mark Hurst (the Gel host); Jane McGonigal, game designer and editor of Avant Game; Erin McKean, editor-in-chief, The New Oxford American Dictionary, and editor, Verbatim magazine; Craig Newmark, founder, Craigslist.org; Douglas Rushkoff, bestselling author and thinker on new media and popular culture; and Cathy Salit, president and CEO, Performance of a Lifetime.

5 November 2005

Researchers look to create a synthesis of art and science for the 21st century [The New York Times]

Calit_atkinson2583
The six-story Calit2 laboratory, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, is designed for 900 faculty and student researchers. Two separate wings extend from the main building. On one side is an ultrasterile set of nanotechnology clean rooms designed for making devices like sensors for detecting pollutants, biological warfare agents and cancer cells. On the other side is a new digital media arts center composed of auditoriums and computer visualization laboratories, where the Calit2 scientists, engineers and artists can display their projects.

For Mr. Smarr – who as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in the 1990’s oversaw the development of Mosaic, the first World Wide Web browser – this synthesis of art and science is vital in light of the role he expects artists to play in designing the future.

Read full story
Download Calit2 brochure (pdf, 3.4 mb)

5 October 2005

Creativity as people’s tool to transform society

Fondlogo
This spring I have been working with Cittadellarte, the foundation of the (world-) famous arte povera artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, on bringing more clarity to its identity and mission, allowing them to inspire a more people-centred and responsible impact on society.

Wired News has now published a long story discussing these ideas in detail, based on the foundation’s presentation at the Venice Biennial and on interviews with Pistoletto, Paolo Naldini, the foundation’s administrator, and Francesco Bernabei, its economics expert.

In the words of Michelangelo Pistoletto: “Creativity can outline the parameters, the ways in which we can think about the relationship between people and the planet.”. To which Naldini adds: “The creative mind is the mind that wants to take responsibility for what’s happening.”

4 October 2005

Dubrovnik forum on leadership and responsibility

Dubrovnik_window
Today I am leaving for a short trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where I will be attending the Dubrovnik Leadership Forum, organised by two top central European business schools, IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia) and ESMT-European School for Management and Technology (Germany). I will also be blogging about it on a special Dubrovnik 2005 blog.

The forum is a yearly gathering where leaders from the worlds of arts, science, politics, management education and business come together to focus on the challenges of the broader world and to find sources of mutual inspiration, not only to better manage their own organisations, but also to improve the education of future leaders and to benefit society at large.

Some interesting speakers this year include the deans of the two schools, Danica Purg and Derek Abell, the social thinker Charles Handy and the leadership specialist Jonathan Gosling.

1 October 2005

Red Herring interviews Régine Debatty

Reginerh_1
International woman of blogs Régine Debatty does a balancing act between art and technology.

Over the past 18 months, 34-year-old Ms. Debatty has written about robots, digital information security, nanotechnology, technology for women, and about many such intersections of society, art, and technology on her blog we-make-money-not-art.

Ms. Debatty’s writing reaches millions, if you add up the numbers visiting all the sites she writes for.

Read full story

23 September 2005

Ars Electronica posts audio of over forty presentations

Hybrid_index_03
Ars Electronica has posted over forty mp3 audio files (or “podcasts”) of presentations that took place at its recent festival, 1-6 September 2005.

The most famous speakers are of course Derrick de Kerckhove, Neil Gershenfeld (MIT Media Lab), Marko Ahtisaari (Nokia) and Marco Susani (Motorola), but there are many others less well-known but no less interesting.

The audio overview page just lists people’s names, so if you want to know who they are, download the programme (pdf, 2.7 mb).

15 September 2005

Exploring good experiences at the Gel 2006 and euroGel 2006 conferences

Gelman
Mark Hurst of Good Experience contacted me today about the Gel 2006 conference.

Gel is a conference and community, exploring good experience in all its forms — in business, art, society, technology, and life. The goal of the conference [which is well regarded and highly orginal in concept] is to create an environment that allows our multi-disciplinary community to explore the idea of “good experience” in a variety of contexts.

The Gel 2006 conference will take place on 4-5 May 2006 in The Equitable Theater in New York.

A few months later Gel is going international: euroGel 2006 will be a Europe-wide conversation about good experience, featuring speakers from across the continent, and will take place on 1 September 2006 in the main library in Copenhagen, Denmark.

18 July 2005

As China raises its arts profile, officials try to catch up [The New York Times]

China_artee
As China races toward a more market-driven economy, it is building new theatres, concert halls and museums nearly as fast as it is erecting Western-style shopping malls, hotels and business complexes. But the government is also decentralising control of the arts industry, cutting the full subsidies long provided to companies and performers.

Now scrambling to staff and operate a slew of increasingly independent arts organisations, the government has turned for help and advice to the Kennedy Center, which just concluded a two-week arts management seminar for Chinese arts executives and officials.

Read full story