11 June 2006

Designing meaningful coincidences

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Timely Speaker
Occasional Coincidences is the title of the Interaction-Ivrea graduation project of Nicholas Zambetti. It looks at how systems that recognize and present meaningful coincidences can be designed.

A few days ago, Régine Debatty summarised the project on we-make-money-not-art:

“In the past, scheduled TV and radio broadcasts carried with them an implicit occasion. Housewives would schedule their tea time to enjoy a soap opera. Upon hearing the introduction to their favorite detective show, children would rush to their room in search of their secret decoder ring. After the dinnertime variety show, fathers would sit by the radio or television for the nightly news. These now quaint examples of media occasion demonstrate how scheduled media broadcasts stimulated popular discussion and supported social behavior indicative of commonalities of interest.”

“Unlike the collective cultural rhythm fostered by scheduled media broadcasts, today’s on-demand media has encouraged media isolationism.. We’ve become immersed in ourselves, fiddling with personal media players loaded with enormous amounts of music and video in hopes of crafting the perfect soundtrack to our daily lives.”

“However, the personal nature of our media selections offers opportunities to build meaningful media-related social behaviors and relationships. Coincidences of media selection can be a meaningful indication of similarity between people and can act as a mechanism to reintroduce media-centered social occasions.”

“Zambetti designed two retro-looking objects and a software that recognize synchronous coincidences as they occur. For him, coincidence-awareness supports the personification of objects and software, deepening our relationship with them.”

Read full post by Régine

(This post is the eighth in a series of short features on the graduation projects by the final students of the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, now located in Milan. As of next week, the Institute will be entirely absorbed within the Domus Academy‘s ‘I-Design” programme.)

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